Thanks to the untiring efforts of our 1st VP, Jason Adams, the FASF now has its own local NM State Historical Marker firmly planted near our historic 1916 Airfield, which, as Columbus Mayor Bruce D’Salas’official business card proudly states: is “The Cradle of American Air Power.”
Let’s take a photographic look at the sequence of actual physical events that took place before the two-year long process of obtaining state approval for the Historic Marker was successfully completed.
The entire lengthy process took place under the jurisdiction of the New Mexico Department of Culltural Affairs. The Department’s web pages describe the process involved: “The markers happen through a strong partnership among the Historic Preservation Division, the Cultural Properties Review Committee, New Mexico Department of Transportation – and the public.”
All of these agencies and groups must have been queried and counselled in order for such a Historical Marker to be approved, and then finally contructed for the site it represents. As you might imagine, Jasonhad a big task in hand to get this objective reallized, and it took no small amount of patience to weather the long process involved in the achievement. But, today, we now have this marker in place, with its own highway tourist/visitor pull-off parking area so that passing motorists can conveniently pull off state Highway 9, right in the town of Columbus itself, to safely read both sides of the sign’s historical inscription.
Remember: Just click on any photo below to see it in full-size and hi-resolution!
L to R: Miguel Garcia,of Deming, NM, and Baltazar Granados, who actually hails from Columbus, are with the New Mexico Department of Transportation (DOT), and did the original site survey work for the new FASF Historical Marker.
Migueland Baltazarpose by their truck before commencing the survey work. The FASF billboard marking the 1916 airfield is behind them to the left.
Here is Baltazar measuring the dimensions for locating the new Marker Sign. Highway 9, in the forefront, has a steep drop-off shoulder closer to the Airfield, so these men had to find the nearest place where the shoulder was relatively flat, so that passing motorists might easily park their vehicles when they go over to read the Marker Sign. These men began this stie work almost exactly one (1) year ago!
Here we see the men from the P&M Sign Company Team working to erect the new sign, which was made by their firm under contract to the state of New Mexico. P&M makes most of these historical marker signs for New Mexico. They are located in picturesque Mountaiinair, NM. This work was completed by them this past September
Here are the actual text portions of the two-sided Marker, which clearly point out the historical information regarding the location’s importance. This sign is heavy-duty and completely weather proof.
The P&Mteam halfway through to completion. L to R: Larry Archuletaof Las Vegas, NM, Marcos Tavera ,Charles Padilla, and Andrew Lopez, all three from Mountainair, NM
Here is the front side of the sign, with page one of the story facing to the West.
And here, above, is the back side of the Marker, facing East towards El Paso, Texas. You can see by the construction of the Maker that this ediface is both sturdily made – and situated.
L to R: FASF celebrants of the new Sign’s Official Dedication: Columbus Mayor Bruce D’Salas,Airfield Director, Bob Wright; Long-time FASF member and just-retired Manager of the nearby Pancho Villa State Park, John Read; FASF Treasurer, Alma Villezcas; Bill Madden, Airfield Site Chairman; Fritz Wagoner, Airfield Survey & Artifact Team; and Historical Marker Committee Chairman, 1st VP of the FASF, Jason Adams, and his daughter, Chloe. All four of the FASF members on the right side of the sign are from Las Cruces, NM. At the left in photo, TheMayorand Bob Wrightare from Columbus, and John Read and Alma Villezcasare both from Deming, NM.
Accordingly, the state directed its Department of Transportation (DOT) to immediately survey the most appropriate location for a new Historical Marker Sign, designed to mark the Airfield and describe its unique place in New Mexico and National history.
Today marked the first time the DOT Engineers visited the Airfield and the area on which the new Historical Sign could most advantageously be erected, once it is designed and fabricated for installation. Below are the two DOT Engineers who completed the site location task and marked the site for the new sign. Click on any photo to see it full-size and resolution.
When the sign is completed and the installation occurs, we will announce the event in advance, so anyone interested might join the ceremony and the following luncheon celebration at the acclaimed Pink Store, a long time business supporter and member of the FASF, in nearby Palomas,Mexico.
Congratulations to FASF 1st Vice President, Jason Adams, who has spent the past two years shepherding the Historic Recognition Project through the state agencies and commissions to a successful completion.
Above are the DOT Engineers at the FAS Airfield. L to R are Miguel Garcia and Baltazar “Bronco” Granados
Above, L to R, again, at the NW corner of the historic Airfield are Engineers Miguel Garcia and “Bronco” Granados.
With the site selected on which to erect the new historical marker sign, engineer Granadosmarks the location with white paint in readiness for the installation crew. In the background, to the left above, you can see the old CAA Power Shed building that was once on the Airfield to power its Radio Navigation Antenna Tower and also its Flashing Light Airways marker beacon. The CAA used the 1916 Airfield as one of the “intermediate” emergency airfields for the first Transcontinental Postal Airways System. The first airplanes used to carry the U.S. mail were none other than the indomitable Curtiss Jennies, the same planes developed, tested and proven right on the nearby 1916 FAS Airfield.