Cloudcroft History

Over one hundred years ago, in June of 1899, a plat of the proposed “Place of Cloudcroft” was filed and things quickly began to happen. Actually, things began to happen in June the year before, when the El Paso and Northeastern Railroad – organized by the Eddy brothers, Charles Bishop and John Arthur arrived in the newly founded town of Alamogordo, with plans to continue northward to the mining town of White Oaks and beyond. They realized the need for timber and railroad ties and began eyeing the nearby Sacramento Mountains as a possible source. A survey crew was sent into the area to determine the feasibility of laying a railroad line up to the summit. In the fall of 1898, a report was given that such a line was not only possible, but the beauty of the region could attract visitors from a wide territory, and the name of “Cloudcroft” – a pasture for clouds – was suggested.

 

By the end of 1898, the line had been extended and construction was started on a “Pavilion” at the summit, which would provide accommodations for the anticipated tourists. In June of 1899, the Pavilion was formally opened and tourists, who rode the train as far asToboggan Canyon, finished the trip by stagecoach. Glowing reports of the new resort of Cloudcroft were in El Paso and other area newspapers and people began to flock to the mountains. The Pavilion burned twice in the 1920's but was rebuilt each time to conform to the original plans.

 

The railroad line finally arrived in Cloudcroft in early 1900 and construction of a depot was begun. The building was occupied in June of 1900 and “meeting the train” became a daily festivity in the Village. In the beginning, three trains a day arrived in Cloudcroft, some to haul logs down the mountain and others to carry mail and passengers. Because of competition from the increased use of automobiles the line began losing money. The last passenger train climbed the mountain in 1938 and the last freight train went down the hill in 1947.

 

A unique part of Cloudcroft's history is the Cloudcroft Baby Sanatorium or “Baby San”, as it was affectionately known. It operated during the summer months from 1911 through 1934, and treated more than 500 tiny patients for either dehydration or stomach aliments generally from the nearby communities of El PasoAlamogordo and Las Cruces. In 1935, the “Baby San” was converted solely to a summer recreation camp for children from 6 to 10 years old.

 

Cloudcroft hasn't changed much over the years and the Village still maintains a small-town atmosphere that is so appealing to the tourists who come from every state in the country and many foreign countries. They appreciate the attitude of the locals and the laid back feeling of the community as contrasted to the high-speed life in the big cities.

 

                                    By Pat Rand

Jim & Sharon Hamilton
Jim & Sharon Hamilton
New Mexico Real Estate Brokers
2204 Tumblewed Draw Alamogordo NM 88310