Santa Rosa, New
Santa Rosa, the
county seat of Guadalupe County, New Mexico is located on the old Pecos River;
old US 84 & 54 and 66 (new I 40), and a railroad Division Point with shop
facilities in 1901. It was first settled in 1865 and named Santa
Rosa about 1890 for a chapel built by Don Celso Baca in honor of his mother. Santa
Rosa has had a post office since 1873.
The first settlement in the area where Santa Rosa
is now (1997) was called Agua Negra
Chiquita (little black water)a small stream near Santa
Rosa. Don Celso Baca came
from Mexico and
became lord of the region under the old custom of range domain. Post office 1868 to 1869.
Don Celso Baca, the founder of the town of Santa
Rosa. and his family were the
earliest settlers located at the Santa Rosa
location. When the railroad built through Santa Rosa
many of the railroad workers lived in tents or wooden houses with no paint.
Olive Smith Wiley reports that Don Celso Baca's house
was made of adobe bricks with a flat roof covered with tin. The walls were 16
inches thick and plastered white on the outside. A water system consisted of
troughs to catch rain from the roof and then pipe the rain into a cistern. Just
outside the corner of the house was an oven which was used for baking bread.
Don Celso Baca was a gracious host and his
comfortable beds were welcomed by many travelers. Some other early settlers
were Don Lorenzo Labadie, Don Benjamin Baca, Don Crescenciano
Baca, and Don Placido Baca.
The Rock Island track had been
completed as far as Santa Rosa. The
bridge crossing the Pecos River
was nearing completion. The first train from Chicago
had arrived on December 25, 1901. In March of 1902, shortly after the Rock
Island had completed the work on their bridge and
right of way, the trains began coming up from El Paso.
Before long regular freight, passenger and mail service was established between
Chicago and Los
Santa Rosa had the usual number of bars, and other
entertainment for the railroad workers. It was a western railroad construction
town. After completion of the railroad and the first trains came into Santa
Rosa the people that followed the construction crews loaded up and moved on to
another railroad construction project.
There was no plumbing in town. Each establishment had an
out-house usually out back. Santa Rosa
had springs and lakes and water everywhere; however it was gypsum and was not
fit for human consumption. Also it was not good for washing clothes as soap
curdled up in it. It was necessary to get good water
from other sources. There were two wells and one spring about six miles east of
town. A water man would haul water into town and put it in water barrels for
fifty cents a barrel.
Mr. Cooper was the publisher and owner of a new weekly newspaper in
English. Don Celso Baca's son, Don Placido Baca, published a spanish weekly called "La Voz
Publica". The Santa Rosa
townsite agent was a C. H. Sterns. Mrs. Stearns
offered to teach a private school in her own home until a regular school could
A SANTA ROSA STORY, by Olive Smith Wiley, 1973.
A MARK OF TIME, A History of New Mexico,
compiled and written by Mary Grooms Clark1983.
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