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Historical Society 2020 awards fete historians, authors, committee and clubhouse


The Doña Ana County Historical Society (DACHS) board of directors has announced DACHS’ 2020 award winners. Awards will be presented at DACHS’ annual meeting at 1 p.m. Saturday, Jan. 25, at New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum.

The 2020 award recipients are as follows:

  • Hall of Fame award: Jean Fulton, “for her tireless years working for Las Cruces, Mesilla and New Mexico” DACHS said in its January 2020 newsletter. An architectural historian, Fulton owns TimeSprings, Inc., dedicated to conserving cultural resources. Before returning to private consulting, she served as preservation-programs coordinator and senior-projects manager for Cornerstones Community Partnerships in Santa Fe and as the first executive director for the nonprofit national historic El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro Trail Association. Fulton has won numerous awards for her work, and she has successfully nominated a number of properties for inclusion on the National Register of Historic Places. She and Jonathan Craig were selected by the Historic Preservation Division (HPD) of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs to write the historic structure report on the Amador Hotel, the oldest city-owned building in Las Cruces. She and Craig won HPD awards in 2017 for their work on the J. Paul Taylor home in Mesilla and in 2019 for their work on the Amador Hotel. Fulton won a $50,000 HPD grant last December to prepare the state’s historic context regarding African American segregation in New Mexico.

Other examples of Fulton’s work include documenting more than 100 World War II and Cold War-era buildings at Holloman Air Force Base to devising the preservation plans for the historic Fountain Theatre, the Folsom General Store in Folsom, New Mexico, the Fort Selden bakery in Radium Springs, Phillips Chapel in Las Cruces and the Socorro Mission in Socorro, Texas, according to the DACHS newsletter. “She has served as the principal investigator on more than 20 projects for the National Park Service in places like Guadalupe Mountains National Park, Mojave National Preserve, Grand Canyon National Park and Death Valley National Park,” DACHS said.

  • Las Cruces Ad Hoc Historic Preservation Committee: special recognition for its work in preparing the City of Las Cruces’ new historic-preservation ordinance, which the city council passed in December. The ordinance establishes the city’s first ever Historic Preservation Commission. The committee was created by the city council in 2015, as proposed by then City Councilor Greg Smith, who now leads the Doña Ana Arts Council.
  • Property Worthy of Preservation: The old Las Cruces Country Club clubhouse on north Main Street, designed by Trost and Trost and built in 1929. The country club closed in 2011. “We should take pains to preserve any Trost structure still standing,” DACHS said in its awards program. “Henry Trost is to our area what Frank Lloyd Wright is to Chicago.”
  • Pasajero del Camino Real Award: David G. Thomas for his 2019 book, “Killing Pat Garrett, The Wild West’s Most Famous Lawman – Murder or Self-Defense?” The one-time sheriff of both Lincoln County and of Doña Ana County (1896-1900), Garrett shot and killed Billy the Kid July 14, 1881, in Fort Sumner, New Mexico. Garrett was killed by Wayne Brazel just north of Las Cruces on Feb. 29, 1908. Thomas won the same award in 2015 and 2017 for other books he has written. His first three books were about La Posta restaurant, Giovanni Maria de Agostini and movie theaters in Las Cruces. Thomas is the author of las-crucesblog.com, founder of WindowDOS Associates, cofounder of Friends of Pat Garrett, and he is a filmmaker, screenwriter, author, historian and travel writer.
  • Gemoets Prize for Southern New Mexico Historical Review 2020: Jim Eckles for “Catch A Falling Star in Las Cruces - 1950: Meteor Photography Stations In Ruins.” The article “is the solution to a long-standing mystery,” according to DACHS. Decades ago, Eckles rode by the photography station ruins in the Doña Ana Mountains on his bike, “wondered what they were but couldn’t find an explanation. He finally discovered a fascinating history of basic astronomical research done by Harvard University. There were also ties to local astronomer Clyde Tombaugh and to experiments at White Sands Proving Ground. It turns out, Las Cruces, in 1950, was the epicenter for some world-class research featuring some the biggest names in science,” DACHS said. Eckles worked in public affairs for 30 years and is in the White Sands Missile Range Hall of Fame. He is the DACHS board secretary and oversees the society’s newsletter and website. Eckles is on the board of directors for the White Sands Missile Range Historical Foundation and has been the editor of its quarterly newsletter for the past 15 years.

Dennis Daily, department head of New Mexico State University’s Archives and Special Collections, is president of the DACHS board of directors; City of Las Cruces Quality of Life Department Operations Manager Garland Courts is vice president.

DACHS “was founded in 1963 to encourage and foster a better understanding of the county’s far reaching history for future generations,” according to DACHS. “Emphasizing research, education and preservation, the society encourages a greater appreciation of New Mexico history, especially that of Doña Ana County.”

For more information, contact Susan Krueger at 575-525-0654 or skrueger575@msn.com. Visit www.donaanacountyhistsoc.org.


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