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New Year’s past when Roswell and Southeastern New Mexico were in their infancy

By Janice Dunnahoo

Special to the Daily Record

Have you ever wondered what New Year’s was like in Southeastern New Mexico 50 to 100 years ago?

Let’s take a look back to the early 1920s when Roswell and Southeastern New Mexico were still in their infancy, and reports were published with concerns about the past and the coming new year.

Following are a couple of Roswell Daily Record articles I found — one with predictions for local businesses in the coming new year; the second article has reports from various Rotary members on the previous year.

I also thought I would include a few advertisements of old, and a poem — all taken from the Roswell Daily Record — in the early 1920s. It’s always fun to take a look back.

“Roswell Daily Record, Tues., Jan. 2, 1923

“1923 Expected Be Big Year For Roswell

“Everything points to the fact that 1923 is going to be a better year in southeastern New Mexico. At the beginning of the new year conditions in Roswell and Chaves County are such that businessmen and others are looking forward into 1923 with supreme optimism.

“At the opening of this new year confidence penetrates into every line of business in southeastern New Mexico. Bankers, farmers, stockmen, and merchants are one in the prediction that 1923 is going to be one of the best years ever known to this section of the state.

“It is now certain that more than 10,000 acres of Durango long staple cotton will be planted in Chaves County this year. During 1922 over 1,700 bales of cotton were ginned in Chaves County and last year, the cotton industry was only in its infancy. It is believed that cotton is destined to become a close rival in Chaves County to apples, alfalfa, and stock raising, as a money maker.

“The demand for cotton growing lands has recently caused a big demand for rural real estate. Demands for farms are now greater, real estate men say, than anytime in the past 10 years.

“Land values have also been considerably increased.

“Orchardists in Chaves County this year are going about their business in a more systematic way than ever before. Practically every orchard in the county is now equipped with smudge pots and fruit growers are preparing to spray and otherwise to take care of their crops.

“Oil is expected to play a prominent part in the commercial life of eastern New Mexico during the year 1923. With the recent discovery of the Kansas, New Mexico, and Texas well 55 miles south of the city, and the prospects bright for the immediate drilling of a number of new wells, oil development work has been given a big impetus.

“Oil men declare that the Hawkins well is a producer and that it’s discovery clearly demonstrated that there is a shallow field in this part of the state. The Illinois Producers Company is now preparing to drill two wells across the Pecos east of Artesia and the Buffalo-Roswell people are still drilling east of this city with excellent prospects.

“With the completion of the good roads in this section of the state, a big revenue from tourists is expected during the year by the business men of this city. Roswell lies on the southern and direct route from east to west and because of the scenery of the White and Capitan mountains it is expected that more and more auto tourists will be attracted this way.

“The livestock interests are also looking forward to a good year. Weather conditions up to date have been ideal for the livestock men and now with sufficient moisture and prospects bright for wool, sheep and cattle, 1923 is expected to see the livestock man again come to his own.

“The $20,000 modern apartment house being erected by Mrs. Jo Jacobson is fast nearing completion and will be a needed asset to Roswell.

“The city of Roswell will soon have completed 11 miles of paving, which will make the city the best paved of its size in the entire Southwest. Roswell is doing everything possible to capitalize her resources.

“A bigger and better city in 1923 is certain to be the outcome.

“Roswell Daily Record, Thursday Dec. 31, 1925

“Rotary Program Today of New Year Nature

“The Rotary Club program today was a New Year’s program and consisted of various members being called upon by President Galloway to answer some questions pertaining to the way 1925 had treated them during the year. A resume of the answers:

“Pope-School attendance is about 100 more than at this time last year.

“Miller — There are 10 more grocery stores than at this time last year, with an increase in the city’s business.

“Ed Williams testified to a prosperous year in selling clothes to men.

“Markl — phones increased from 1,428 to 1,573.

“Lewis — Oil and cake business increased 100 percent.

“Dr. Horowitz — Many tonsils out and many that ought to be out.

“Carr — Considerable remodeling and prospects for next year 100 percent better.

“Daniel — Much cleaning and painting up. Employed six more men.

“Kellahin — Good insurance business in this district and building and loan showed 55 percent gain.

“Rose — Marked increase in railroad business over 1,924.

“M.L. Norton — Business more than doubled this year.

“Malone — Auto business better this year than ever before with more cars sold in Roswell district than ever.

“Einhart — Business conditions in Southwest reflected by interest of financiers in public utilities.

“Wilson — Pill business good but rouge and powder business best ever.

“The program on January 7th will be devoted to Business Methods with Ross Malone in charge.

“Rotary school will be held on the 14th.

“A message of New Year cheer was received from Cliff Cagle, detained at Carlsbad.”

Janice Dunnahoo is chief archivist at the Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico Archives. She can be reached at 575-622-1176 or at jdunna@hotmail.com.