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Author Topic: Volunteering at Ft. Stanton NM  (Read 3685 times)

halfwright

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Volunteering at Ft. Stanton NM
« on: March 23, 2013, 10:49:56 AM »
WHOO HOOO!!!!! HOT DOG!!!!!  DOING A HAPPY DANCE!!!!!
Darlene and I drove around Ft. Stanton NM on the 19th  while we were staying at Valley of Fires. Since I am such a history buff and Ft. Stanton is such a unique place, on a whim, I sent an e-mail offering to volunteer for a month (3/25 to 4/25).
Guess what????  I got an e-mail back saying that they had a place for our 5th wheel and would be very happy have me as a volunteer. I am so looking forward to it. We will be there until we need to go north to our volunteer gig at Steamboat Lake State Park starting  on 5/19.  I told them I had a maintenance background, so I hope that is what I will be doing. Can you imagine working and leaving your personal touch on a place like this??  It will be something special for me, I know.
But, I also know that some of you may  be wondering what is wrong with me. Why get so happy and excited just to give away time and work? I guess I am just stupid that way.  I don't care if all I do is rake leaves. I will be raking leaves at a special and wonderful place. It will also give me an opportunity to photograph and explore the area. A lot of the early New Mexico history took palce there--Lincoln County Cattle wars--Prehistoric petroglyphs--White Oaks and the history of the fort. The links below give an overview of the fort.

.http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fort_Stanton
 
http://fortstanton.org/
Jim And Darlene Wright
Full-timing with
Ryder, the Ethiopian monkeybeaver dog
and a long-haired vacuum cleaner terrior
All in a
2007 Montana Mountaineer
2002 F250 Super duty 7.3 liter

Kim (skyking4ar2) Bertram

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Re: Volunteering at Ft. Stanton NM
« Reply #1 on: March 23, 2013, 12:52:00 PM »
One day we hope to get a similar opportunity at places we find significant. Kind of a "pay it forward" sort of deal.

The chance to find something you are passionate about and share with others should not be considered "work" anyway...

Our route out to Moab this year would normally not be that far south, but if wander off course, we'll be sure to stop by and catch the big smile on your face. Thanks for giving something of yourself for the rest of us to enjoy.
Kim & Christi Bertram
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kaylin640

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Re: Volunteering at Ft. Stanton NM
« Reply #2 on: March 23, 2013, 01:00:53 PM »
thats awsome look forward to the pics you share.
May your stay be full of wonderful things...
Always, Amy:)
Planning to purchase a 5th wheel

Wigpro

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    • Capt Jim Lucas
Re: Volunteering at Ft. Stanton NM
« Reply #3 on: March 23, 2013, 01:59:16 PM »
Great News Jim - sounds like the perfect month of work and relaxation. Sometimes things just happen for the good!!

Glad it is working out....

Jim

Full time traveler, fishing guide and photographer!

Travel Blog: http://captjimtravelblog.blogspot.com

Website: www.captainjimlucas.com

Photo Site: http://captjim.smugmug.com/

Wendy

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Re: Volunteering at Ft. Stanton NM
« Reply #4 on: March 23, 2013, 08:45:52 PM »
Sounds like fun. New Mexico is a wonderful state. And you're in an area that we haven't explored.
 
Enjoy
Wendy
Wendy, Mike, and Gordon
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halfwright

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Re: Volunteering at Ft. Stanton NM
« Reply #5 on: March 27, 2013, 08:04:51 AM »
Thanks to all for sharing my happiness. I spent the 25th setting up the trailer (got here 1:00 pm) and started yesterday voluteering yesterday. Cleaned up the shop and office and patched the roof on the old post office. I am going to start a log of my days here and will post it weekly.
skyking4ar2:
It's a long way to Moab, but there is so much here you should make the trip.
kaylin640
I am sure of wondser ful things now.
Jim:
You ready to go north yet? I do envy you that trip.
Wendy:
If you have not been in southeastern NM, you are missing out on a lot.  Carlsbad Caverns=White Sands-Valley of Fires--lots of petroglyphs and history. I love the area.
Jim And Darlene Wright
Full-timing with
Ryder, the Ethiopian monkeybeaver dog
and a long-haired vacuum cleaner terrior
All in a
2007 Montana Mountaineer
2002 F250 Super duty 7.3 liter

Wigpro

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    • Capt Jim Lucas
Re: Volunteering at Ft. Stanton NM
« Reply #6 on: March 27, 2013, 04:10:46 PM »
Thanks to all for sharing my happiness. I spent the 25th setting up the trailer (got here 1:00 pm) and started yesterday voluteering yesterday. Cleaned up the shop and office and patched the roof on the old post office. I am going to start a log of my days here and will post it weekly.

Jim:
You ready to go north yet? I do envy you that trip.

 I am not quite ready but starting to do some "get ready" maintenance on the truck and 5er, the rest I will go over in Kalispell at my personal mechanics shop! Jimbo is always so happy to see me and my Ford since he is a dyed in the Wool GM guy, but will spend about a week in Kalispell and plan on leaving there around the 19th or so. I am leaving Arizona on the 8th of April and will take a leisurely trip up to Montana, not 100% sure of my route North to Kalispell yet, but it will include a stop at the Bison Range for sure and Dillon MT to see some friends.

I am very excited about the long drive to Alaska and plan on keeping a god diary and log - probably take one or two pictures along the way and will try and keep the travel blog up to date, but it will depend on internet access. If not once I get to Alaska and my Verizon hot spot works again I will rest a day or two and update the blog.

We will stay in touch and I am planning on finding you next fall when I return....have a great summer! And so glad you found a month of happiness!

Jim
Full time traveler, fishing guide and photographer!

Travel Blog: http://captjimtravelblog.blogspot.com

Website: www.captainjimlucas.com

Photo Site: http://captjim.smugmug.com/

halfwright

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Re: Volunteering at Ft. Stanton NM
« Reply #7 on: March 30, 2013, 10:26:53 PM »
We got to Ft. Stanton about 1:00 PM 3/25. I met Nick, the maintenance supervisor. Acutally, he is the whole maintenance department. There were two, but his helper retired about 3 months ago and the state of New Mexico has not even advertised for his job opening.  That seems to be the biggest problem with Ft. Stanton--lack of money. Nick often complains about having to jury rig things or patch things instead of fixing them right. He is 64 and will be retiring in April. He appears to be a worn out disgusted state employee just putting in his last bit of time. He has bought a house in Ruidoso and is moving from the house that Ft. Stanton has supplied him for 13 years. I was surprised to learn that 3 Ruidoso policemen, 2 Lincoln county deputies and a state policeman all live on the monument grounds. All rent free, but they do pay utilities.
 
 
But, back to what I did and saw.  I went in at 8:00 AM. Nick took me around while he drained pipes that runfrom the pump house to the storage tank.  He drains them to protectt hem from freezing and only runs they pump to fill the tank.. We saw 10 deer in the small Rio Bonito valley where one of the valves is.  He pointed out the old gym that the German prisoners built. There were no actual POW's held here. The Germans were merchant seaman from the cruise liners Columbus that the captain scuttled. After the ship sunk, all German men of military age were held at Ft Stanton.
 
"The SS Columbus, third largest vessel, and queen of the North German Lloyd merchant fleet, leaving Mexico for Europe, is only one of several German merchant or pleasure cruise ships scuttle by its crews after being "hijacked" by with co-operation from U.S. naval ships, supposedly on a "neutrality patrol," compelling by force the German ships towards British warships and control areas. The ship was so popular among Germans that the German authorities suppressed announcement of its loss, particularly with the recent loss of the Graf Spee in the South Atlantic."
 
http://mk.christogenea.org/book/export/html/1846
 
 
There were some Japanese detainees also held here, but no true prisoners of war.

 

 Nick mentioned that 3 weeks ago, they had augered the toilet line in the shop because of tree roots. I went to the bathroom and found mud and dirt still on the floor from that. So, I cleaned it up. Nick said he had to go to Ruidoso to mail some state forms and would be back after lunch. So, I kept cleaning. The shop and office floor had looked like it had been at least a year since it had been cleaned.  I cleaned up as best I could, but I know I used to get upset when people changed my shop around. So, I did not throw anything away, not even the Ruidoso phone book from 2005, even though they had multiple copies of every phone book for Ruidoso since then.  I came back to the trailer for lunch about 11:30.
Saw and got the Antelope picture then.

In the afternoon, we patched the roof on the post office. It is part of the monument even though it is technically a federal building.  It is open two hours a day and run by an eighty year old woman.  The whole roof needs replaced badly. Part of it is shingles and part rolled roofing. We patched some of the rolled roofing by cutting another piece and putting it in where some had blown of. They do not make the green rolled roofing anymore, so we used tan. Now it is a roof that is part dark red shingles, part green rolled roofing and part tan rolled roofing.  Mickey Mouse would be proud.

This morning (27th) nothing.

afternoonof the 27th worked on TB tent.

The monument is building a 10X12 ft framework to hold up a canvas top. It is a replica of tents used in the 1890's for TB patients. The only cure at that time was fresh air and sunshine.

 

 "In 1899, however, the US Public Health Service acquired the Fort as a tuberculosis hospital for the Merchant Marine. Selected for its healthful climate, it served some 5,000 sailor patients between 1899 and 1953, 1,500 of whom are buried in the Maritime Cemetery on a hillside overlooking the Fort. The patients lived in specially constructed tents, for fresh air and sunshine were the only known cures for tuberculosis.
During this time, many new buildings were constructed including a hospital, stables, new living quarters, and literally hundreds of tent-houses for the patients. The hospital was fairly self-sufficient, establishing a large farm on the nearby grounds with patients serving in the fields, as well as recreational activities like a golf course for the doctors, baseball fields and a theatre for the resident workers. The nearby cemetery grew to include veterans of other services as well as Merchant Marines, making it a place for current visitors to the site to engage in contemplative visitation."

 

The 28th, I worked in the cemetery all day. The morning I weeded and raked and covered gopher holes and did a little rock work around the obelisk. In the afternoon, we pulled one headstone and replaced it with another and put in one new one.

Here are some pictures of the cemetery. Fort Stanton The white crosses are TB patients that died here (1500 of them). None of the crosses have names. Instead. there are small rocks with numbers or letters and number etched in them. To find a certain grave, you have to look at the map and then find that number.The military cemeteries I have seen have been all in perfect alinement . This one, there maybe three all in a row, but you will have to look to find them. There are 4 German graves, all at the far north end away from the main group. Three of them died from some type of contagious illness  (Typhus???), all in Feb. 1942. One was killed by another detainee.  There is a fifth grave. It belongs to a merchant marine of germen decent that asked to be buried there. He had a family member there.

 

Today, (Good Friday), we only worked 1/2 a day. I cut rafters for the TB tent, 14 of them with 3 cuts per rafter. I enjoyed it because it is something that will remain here, kind of like a part of me and that is what I wanted. 

 

I have not been taking pictures of the buildings yet. What I want to do is go to the museum and take pictures of the pictures they have there, as it was. Then, I am going to go take pictures as it is now.  The museum is only open on weekends during the winter.  I will start on that project next week, after I go to the museum. I tried  to post pictures, but got an error message saying my file was too large. I will work on it and try later.

 

Please let me know if this is boring to you. I am enjoying this place so much, I am prone to overdo my letters, and it will probably get worse.

 

I hope that all of you are doing well and having as much fun as I am. (Darlene isn't having any fun.)
 

Jim and Darlene  Wright
« Last Edit: March 30, 2013, 10:40:00 PM by halfwright »
Jim And Darlene Wright
Full-timing with
Ryder, the Ethiopian monkeybeaver dog
and a long-haired vacuum cleaner terrior
All in a
2007 Montana Mountaineer
2002 F250 Super duty 7.3 liter

Betty Brewer

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Re: Volunteering at Ft. Stanton NM
« Reply #8 on: March 30, 2013, 11:58:59 PM »
Your entries are fascinating to me.  Not at all boring.  I have been there and to  "see" it from your perspective is wonderful.  sorry Darlene but I'm sure you can make lemonade somehow!
Betty Brewer

see where we are

halfwright

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Re: Volunteering at Ft. Stanton NM
« Reply #9 on: March 31, 2013, 08:33:47 AM »
Betty,
When were you at Ft. Stanton?  It is not exactly on a main tourist route.  I was born and raised in  Las Cruces and have only been here twice before. More years ago than I care to say. It was being used as a school for the developmentaly disabled the last time I was here.
Jim And Darlene Wright
Full-timing with
Ryder, the Ethiopian monkeybeaver dog
and a long-haired vacuum cleaner terrior
All in a
2007 Montana Mountaineer
2002 F250 Super duty 7.3 liter

NuDP

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Re: Volunteering at Ft. Stanton NM
« Reply #10 on: March 31, 2013, 09:46:05 AM »
We winter in Texas and "summer" in Alto, May through October.  Until recently, Ft Stanton has had very restricted access for the public.  I'm glad to see that the historical site is more open.  Close to Alto/Ruidoso is the Valley of Fires, Ft Stanton and historical town of Lincoln.  The cliff dwellings and natural hot springs in the Gila Wilderness are not too far.  Excellent access for boondocking in the Gila, even for the big rigs.  We hope to experience more of New Mexico this year.  So much to see and history to catch up on.
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halfwright

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Re: Volunteering at Ft. Stanton NM
« Reply #11 on: March 31, 2013, 11:49:11 AM »
There is also White Sands National Monument, Carlsdab Caverns, Three Rivers Petroglyphs and the ghost town of White Oaks. great area to explore.
Jim And Darlene Wright
Full-timing with
Ryder, the Ethiopian monkeybeaver dog
and a long-haired vacuum cleaner terrior
All in a
2007 Montana Mountaineer
2002 F250 Super duty 7.3 liter

captsteve

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Re: Volunteering at Ft. Stanton NM
« Reply #12 on: March 31, 2013, 02:40:51 PM »
Love your posts! keep it up. We were there last sept. glad to know you are helping to keep the place up  :D
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Bob Maxwell

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Re: Volunteering at Ft. Stanton NM
« Reply #13 on: March 31, 2013, 06:01:56 PM »
I used to come up Diablo canyon and enter Ft. Stanton from the south following morning worship at the little chapel at the mouth of the canyon and US 70. It was designed by the famous southwestern architect John Gaw Meem, and is open 24x7x365. That was my shortcut to avoid Ruidoso and get back up here east of Belen. A famous Western TV series was filmed around there, and the ranch near by is the Brewer Ranch -no relation to Terry & Betty but it looks like a place they'd love.

The pies are very good at the Smoky Bear Restaurant in Capitan. 
Adiós. . .

Bob †
and wife Betty Font 

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halfwright

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Re: Volunteering at Ft. Stanton NM
« Reply #14 on: March 31, 2013, 09:10:02 PM »
I think that Sam Donaldson, the newscaster, owns a ranch near where you are talking about (Diablo Canyon).
Jim And Darlene Wright
Full-timing with
Ryder, the Ethiopian monkeybeaver dog
and a long-haired vacuum cleaner terrior
All in a
2007 Montana Mountaineer
2002 F250 Super duty 7.3 liter

 

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