By Mike Cook
Las Cruces Bulletin
Apodaca Park, 801 E. Madrid Ave., is a total of 25 acres and utterly distinct in the Las Cruces landscape because of its huge chief sculpture. It’s also home to the Las Cruces Vaqueros baseball team.
The eight-acre ball park that covers nearly onethird of total park space was acquired by the city in 1953, said city Parks and Recreation Director Mark Johnston. The 17acre park itself was dedicated in 1953 in honor of Las Cruces Mayor Mike Apodaca, who served from 1953 to 1955.
Johnston described Apodaca Park as “an active community park with multiple amenities.” In addition to the ball fields, those amenities include benches, shelters, tables, playground equipment, water fountains, grills, restrooms, a tennis court and even a swimming pool (closed now for the winter.) The sculpture, “Dineh,” is 20 feet high, with a diameter of five feet and is located on the southwest corner of the park, easily visible from Madrid Avenue. The base is approximately six feet high, with a diameter of eight feet. The pine sculpture’s inscription reads, “DINEH/(Human Beings in Navajo and Apache)/Trail of the Whispering Giants/ This 57th statue honors all the Native Americans of New Mexico/Sculpture by Peter Wolf Toth/Dedicated August 23, 1986.”
Johnston said the sculpture is actually the 54th in Toth’s series honoring Native Americans, not the 57th. Toth began sculpting the statute in June 1986.
The description of the statue is, “a bust of an older Native-American man. He has long hair and wears a scarf wrapped around his head and a medallion around his neck. His lips are slightly parted, revealing his teeth,” according to the Smithsonian Institution’s artist inventory website.
Visit www. waymarking. com/ waymarks/ WM11JB_Dineh for more information on the statue. Visit www.apodoca. com.