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Monthly horse-drawn trolley rides along Mesquite Street just east of downtown Las Cruces will begin Friday, Nov. 4.
Trails End Gallery owner Gary Biel is putting the ride together, with Pete Paulson driving the two-horse team and trolley that have been a fixture in Las Cruces and Mesilla – especially during the holidays – and at the county fairgrounds for many years.
In fact, it was seeing the trolley in Mesilla that made Biel think, “This would be just wonderful for Mesquite Street,” he said.
The trolley will travel back and forth between Trails End Gallery, 1732 N. Mesquite St., at one end, and Nopalito Restaurant, 310 S. Mesquite St., at the other, traveling up and back four times, beginning at 4 p.m. and continuing until 8 p.m., Biel said.
The route is about 1.4 miles long, Paulson said, and traveling about two miles an hour, takes about an hour to complete with multiple stops along the way.
Biel has been contacting other galleries and restaurants along Mesquite Street and inviting them to join him in putting luminarias in front of their businesses and becoming stops the trolley will make as the horses take it north and south.
There is no charge to ride the trolley, and riders can get off and get back on as many times as want, Biel said.
In addition to Trails End Gallery and Nopalito Restaurant, others participating in the trolley rides are Gallery 925, 925 N. Mesquite St., and Mandrake Fine Art and Botanica, 501 E. Hadley Ave.
By starting the trolley rides, which will continue on the first Friday evening of each month for the next 14 months at least, and possibly permanently, Biel said he is “trying to help the businesses of Mesquite Street by taking something that is charming and having it link us all together.”
The entire street, he said, follows the route of the historic El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro (The Royal Road of the Interior Land”), a nearly 1,600-mile-long trade route that linked Mexico City with Albuquerque, Santa Fe and San Juan Pueblo 1598-until the arrival of the railroad in 1882.
Biel is the great-great-great grandson of Pablo Melendrez, the alcalde of the Village of Doña Ana who ordered the laying out of what would become Las Cruces in 1848. Biel opened Trails End Gallery in 2019 and owns other properties on Mesquite Street.
He remembers helping his grandmother, Josephina Gamboa Biel (Josephina’s Old Gate in Mesilla), put up luminarias when he was a child, Biel said, and knows how much they will add to the trolley-ride experience, he said.
“This street is so unique,” Biel said.
His goal is to make it a destination for residents and visitors alike and spur investment, brining more galleries and restaurants, coffee shops, antique stores and microbreweries to Mesquite Street, Biel said.
“Just come ride the trolley,” he said.
For more information, contact Biel at 575-649-2951 and firstname.lastname@example.org.