Traveling around the state of New Mexico, we’ve always been surprised by what we find along the way.
Driving through Eastern New Mexico on the way to Albuquerque, along the old back highways while admiring the scenery and the lack of traffic, one can find what looks like it might be an abandoned store, or maybe a gas station. Welcome to Ragland, a tiny New Mexico ghost town.
The (very) brief story of Ragland
People have been moving through New Mexico before recorded history was a thing, and the story of Ragland is no different.
Located off New Mexico Route 209 near the intersection with NM 156, Ragland today is a few abandoned buildings, nestled in the desert landscape.
Back in 1906, an enterprising man named Tom Ragland filed a claim on some land in the broader geographical area known as, “The Caprock.” Caprock refers to the, “Caprock Escarpment,” which is the technical term for the West Texas/Eastern New Mexico High Plains Country. The Raglands were industrious and named their nascent town Ragland, although calling it a “town,” is a bit generous.
Tom opened a small store. Then a post office was opened, and Maude Ragland, Tom’s wife, became the first postmistress for the new settlement.
Ragland’s story wasn’t that of a wild west town that saw notorious gunfights or high drama. It was a small, quiet place, and stayed that way. Eventually the store closed, and the post office closed too. While there are still a few occupied homes and buildings away from the main Ragland property, most of what dwells here are memories.
The magic of ghost towns
Standing in the afternoon sun, silent, looking at the Ragland main building it’s as if you can hear sounds of the past, if you stand still enough.
Looking at the blocked facade of the store, trees have grown to block the view, as if they did it in an act of defiance. “You all aren’t using this space, we trees will take it back, thanks.”