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About Belen news. (Belen, N.M.) 1912-1947
Belen, N.M. (1912-1947)
- Belen news. : (Belen, N.M.) 1912-1947
- Alternative Titles:
- Belen news and the Valencia standard Aug. 29, 1918-Mar. 27, 1919
- Place of publication:
- Belen, N.M.
- Geographic coverage:
- News Print. Co.
- Dates of publication:
- Began with Dec. 20, 1912; ceased with Mar. 27, 1947.
- Belen (N.M.)--Newspapers.
- Valencia County (N.M.)--Newspapers.
- Description based on: Vol. 1, no. 3 (Jan. 2, 1913).
- Issues for Aug. 23, 1918-19<47> include a separately numbered companion paper in Spanish called El Hispano-americano.
- Numerous errors in numbering.
- sn 92070450
- Succeeding Titles:
- View complete holdings information
- First Issue Last Issue
The formal settlement of the town of Belen, New Mexico, dates to 1740, when Diego de Torres and Antonio de Salazar successfully petitioned Don Gaspar Domingues de Mendoza, Governor and Captain General of New Mexico, for a land grant to be known at Nuestro Señora de Belén, "Our Lady of Bethlehem." At that time, two competing settlements occupied the land, one Hispanic and the other occupied by genízaros, Hispanicized Indians who were former slaves. In 1746 the genízaros, prior occupants of the land, protested the grant. Although the Spanish authorities never responded to their lawsuit, the genízaros continued to farm the area. Originally, the land grant encompassed eight separate plazas; these were eventually absorbed into the expanding community. Much later, in 1907, Belen became a railroad center for the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroad and earned the nickname of "hub city." Following the railway workers and farmers came enterprising merchants to serve the new population. The arrival of I-25 in the 1960s further reinforced Belen's importance as a commercial and population center.
Not all portions of territorial New Mexico were heavily influenced by Anglo-American immigration. In Belen, the population remained predominantly Spanish-American. Although the town clearly benefited from railway construction, railway shops, and an irrigation project, the absence of a large number of persons literate in English discouraged the launching of newspapers. One of the few exceptions was the Belen News, which was published weekly by the News Print Co. This English-language newspaper debuted in December 1912 and remained in operation until March 1947. It was followed by the News-bulletin which continued until 1976. The masthead for the Belen News read: "Boosts for Belen. Believe in Belen," on the left, and "Learn about Belen. Come to Belen," on the right. P.A. Speckman was the editor and manager. An annual subscription which had to be paid in advance cost $2.00. To accommodate the town's Spanish-speaking population, the Belen News included the companion paper, El Hispano-Americano.
The News reported on local, state, national and international developments. The January 9, 1913 issue commented that although New Mexico had only been a state for a little over a year, it was being developed at a speed that "made a snail look like the Empire State Express.” Once known for Indian arrows and revolver bullets, the New Mexico was now attracting settlers because of its pleasant and healthy climate. Noting the advance of civilization, the paper went on to say that the railroad had taken the place of the old Santa Fe Trail, a 1,100-mile long wagon road, ornamented with skulls. Political commentary appeared as well. The same issue of the Belen News observed that the Governor of neighboring Arizona had wanted to abolish New Mexico's senate; the paper went on to say that were the governor to live in New Mexico, he would want to abolish the whole legislature. Finally, on January 7, 1915, the Belen News reported on a confrontation between American soldiers and the Mexican rebel leader Pancho Villa. Mexico was then in the midst of a civil war, and the United States authorities, eager to keep the fighting from spilling over the border into New Mexico, tried to make peace between the different factions.
Provided by: University of New Mexico