Friday, 4 March 2016

Old West Photo Friday: An Old General Store in the Territory of New Mexico

If you needed to go shopping in the little community of Farmington in the northwestern corner of the Territory of New Mexico back in the 1880s, this was the only choice. It was the A.F. Miller store, which also doubled as Miller's home and farm.

Farmington was a small town with little to show for itself except some sandy fields, but it was located at the junction of three rivers and thus saw a fair number of travelers pass through. When the town was incorporated in 1901, records show it only had 548 residents. It got a rail link to Colorado four years later, which helped the town grow. Farmington became briefly famous in 1950 when there was a wave of UFO sightings over three consecutive days. The local paper gave it extensive coverage, noting that about half the population saw up to 500 flying saucers dipping and weaving in the sky. I don't see any flying saucers in this photo, though.

The New Mexico Digital Collections claims this is New Mexico's first store and home, which is quite obviously untrue. Other sources say it was the first store in Farmington, a more believable claim although I haven't found any proof to back that up. As a researcher you have to be careful with your information even if you're getting it from a usually reliable source!


Alex J. Cavanaugh said...

Probably wasn't the first store in the state, but certainly the first in the town. I wonder if the aliens would've shopped there?

Sean McLachlan said...

Now there's a short story idea! "Grizzled old Archibald Miller was stocking drygoods next to the ammo shelf when two alien grays walked in wearing stetsons. . ."

Looking for more from Sean McLachlan? He also hangs out on the Civil War Horror blog, where he focuses on Civil War and Wild West history.

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