Saturday, October 31, 2015

Fort Selden at Radium Springs, New Mexico


This photo shows and old abandoned gas station and general store. At present, the only store in the town of Radium Springs is a Family Dollar.

Fort Selden was established in 1865 to protect the trade route to Sante Fe and the surrounding valley from the Indians. Unfortunately, the residents of the fort and the residents of the town did not get along very well and there were reports of some of the troopers being "murdered" there, possibly by townspeople or troopers themselves, under the influence of "poisonous liquors" sold to them by townspeople.

Soldiers at this fort were called troopers, and included units of black men known as "Buffalo Soldiers". The troopers built the fort from adobe bricks with cottonwood logs covered by brush and mud for roofs. Life was rough during this era, and some recipies concocted by the cooks at the fort were posted in the museum.

The "Artillery Pie" was made from 8 pounds of bread, 4 dozen apples, 1 pound of suet and 2 pounds of sugar. The bread would be dipped into the melted fat and then layered with the apples and sugar in a pan, then baked.

Another delicious meal called "Cannon Balls" consisted of 6 pounds of flour 1.5 pounds of suet, 3 pints of molasses and 1 pint of water. This would be all mixed up, after chopping the suet. After mixing, it would be formed into soft balls which were tied separately in pieces of cloth and boiled. These could be kept for up to a year. 

Sometimes fresh vegetables would be available, along with some pork or bacon, beans, rice or hominy. Not much variety and I can imagine the above two recipies would not have been favorites!

The prison at the Fort was constructed differently from the barracks and other buildings. The remaining sections of walls show that they were constructed with thick walls of rocks.

There was a shiny cannon in the museum, I'm not sure if it's a replica, but it sure looks in great condition.

The fort was abandoned in the early 1890s and has been deteriorating since then. Efforts have been made to support the portions of walls still standing, as you can see in the photo below.

As in another area I explored this year, they have trained the rattlers to stay off the trails for us. These signs seem to work, since I have not seen rattlers in any of the places where these signs are posted.  Of course, I have yet to see a rattler out here that has not been in captivity!  That's surprising with all the hiking I've been doing.


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