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The Mountainair independent. : (Mountainair, N.M.) 1916-1941
Place of publication:
Mountainair, N.M.
Geographic coverage:
  • Mountainair, Torrance, New Mexico  |  View more titles from this: City County, State
Mountainair Print. Co.
Dates of publication:
  • Ceased in 1941.
  • Vol. 1, no. 1 (Sept. 28, 1916)-
  • English
  • Mountainair (N.M.)--Newspapers.
  • New Mexico--Mountainair.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01303204
  • New Mexico--Torrance County.--fast--(OCoLC)fst01221451
  • Torrance County (N.M.)--Newspapers.
  • Also on microfilm: El Paso, Tex. : Southwest Micropublishing, Inc.
  • Archived issues are available in digital format from the Library of Congress Chronicling America online collection.
sn 93061704
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The Mountainair independent. September 28, 1916 , Image 1


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The Mountainair Independent

The town of Mountainair, New Mexico, was established in 1903. Several years earlier, the Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway had considered constructing a route through Belen, New Mexico, and John W. Corbett, a newspaper man from Winfield, Kansas, learned of this plan and proposed an alternate course through Abo Pass. In 1901, Corbett and a friend, Col. Edwin Cassander Manning, built a town site at the highest point of the summit on the railway's southern transcontinental route. Noting the delightful summer breezes from the nearby northern Manzano Mountains, they named their new community Mountainair. The Mountainair Independent, which was launched on September 28, 1916, described the town as "nestled among the cedars at the foot of the Manzanos surrounded by a fertile farming country, capable of supporting thousands of inhabitants."

Under the direction of the Mountainair Publishing Co. and with P.A. Speckmann as editor, the Independent was published in English every Thursday. It remained in operation until January 16, 1941. From January 19, 1918, until August 8, 1925, it included a bilingual English-Spanish companion paper, El Independiente. From the beginning, the newspaper proclaimed its political independence: "Politically, we shall do all in our power to secure competent officials to handle the people's business, without regard to party." The cost of an annual subscription was $2.

In its first issue, the Independent pronounced Mountainair the very heart of the state's bean growing country. An article on October 5, 1916, reported that 25,000 pounds of beans had been shipped from the region. By November 1919, Mountainair lead the nation in the production of pinto beans. On September 20, 1917, the paper pointed out that a Mountainair resident, one Federico Chavez, had quit politics to enter the bean growing business, an indication that he believed there was more money in beans.

The Independent also supported the temperance movement. In the October 5, 1916 issue, it offered its readers the following advice: "Use your ballot as a weapon to defend your home, just as the liquor men use their ballot to defend the saloon" and "To favor the saloon is to say to your son that he may legally become a drunkard." On November 6, 1917, prohibition carried in New Mexico by 15,585 votes.

The Independent reported in depth on the country's involvement in the First World War. Articles covering the useful work of the Red Cross frequently appeared, and the paper urged citizens to contribute generously to the organization: "Every cent of every dollar received for the Red Cross War fund goes for war relief!"

Provided by: University of New Mexico