Mountainair, New Mexico. Is it real or is it Hollywood?
Located around the southern end of the Manzano Mountain Range, Mountainair, New Mexico is not exactly a bustling metropolis. To the contrary, population and the number of open businesses seem to have declined since my previous visit which was about ten years ago. Because of this, there are plenty of abandoned buildings to photograph but are they really what they appear to be?
I was told by a Mountainair resident that the first two photos in this blog post were never what they appear to be. The Grey Hound Trading Post (complete with the grey hound bus company logo) and the Tomahawk Service Station were never these things but the buildings were made to look this way because they were movie sets. So, at least something interesting happens in Mountainair from time to time.
Shaffer Hotel in Mountainair, New Mexico
What’s up with this place?
I have never seen the Shaffer Hotel open for business but the hotel and dining room currently appear to be under renovation so maybe its on the comeback trail. There are many truly odd things about this property including, but not limited to, the swastika motif and the most peculiar stone work wall.
Now, before you get all indignant about the swastikas, understand that this hotel was built in 1923 – before the swastika became the most universally recognized symbol of racism and hate. Prior to World War Two, the swastika had an entirely different meaning. Several Native American cultures, including the Hopi and the Navajo used the swastika as a symbol of peace and goodwill. The swastikas on the Shaffer Hotel were intended to welcome visitors to a friendly place. It just goes to show that you can’t make assumptions in the absence of context.
I found a really great newspaper article Valencia County News-Bulletin about the Shaffer Hotel and the history of the Shaffer family in general. I highly recommend giving it a read by CLICKING HERE.
Stone wall and outbuildings at the Shaffer Hotel
Clem “Pop” Shaffer didn’t just build the hotel and dining room, he also made this super weird/cool/creepy stone work fence.
And then there’s these other buildings… I don’t know if they were part of the hotel and used for something else but there are several beautiful stone buildings on the property. Currently they are all abandoned and boarded up but there are gaps in the boards so I was still able to get a couple interior shots through the windows. Don’t worry, no buildings were trespassed in the making of this blog post.
Punta de Agua, New Mexico
Punta de Agua is a very small town between Mountainair and the Quarai Mission Ruins. There’s not much to see here but there is this ancient church and cemetery. The Church is called San Vicente de Paul, established in 1878.
Manzano Mountain Range near Mountainair, New Mexico
The drive from Los Lunas to Mountainair includes stunning views of the entire Manzano Mountain Range. I live at the north end of these mountains so it’s not too often that I get to see the south end.
These photos were originally taken in July of 2019.