Reserve, NM

An adobe post office, another first for me, in Reserve, New Mexico. This photo, from the collection of the Library of Congress, was taken by Russell Lee in 1940.

Reserve is justly famous as the site of Elfego Baca’s 1882 standoff with 80 Texas cowboys who wanted to kill him for arresting one of their own. Baca took refuge in an adobe house, and the cowboys opened fire. Baca managed to kill four of the attackers and wound eight others. After 33 hours, the cowboys left, having run out of bullets, and Baca emerged unharmed. When he was later tried for murdering one of the cowboys, his attorney presented the home’s front door as evidence. It had 400 bullet holes. Baca was acquitted.

In 1958 and 1959, Walt Disney aired a TV miniseries called The Nine Lives of Elfego Baca, one of the highlights of my boyhood.

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