BELEN — In an effort to learn about and celebrate local history, artifacts of years past were displayed and evaluated at the first Valencia County Historical Road Show on Sunday.
The event was hosted by the Valencia County Historical Society and the Belen Harvey House Museum, where people were invited to bring personal antique and historic items for evaluation.
Former Belen mayor Ronnie Torres, who is a past president of the Valencia County Historical Society, has been collecting Valencia County memorabilia for years.
“I have pictures of everything — businesses, churches, schools, people, postcards, houses,” Torres said. “A lot of my customers (at Hair Innovations) gave me these. It’s hard to find people who have things like these anymore.”
Clara Garcia | News-Bulletin photos
Ronnie Torres has been collecting Valencia County memorabilia for years. The photo he’s holding is of employees drinking in the basement of the old Becker-Dalies store in Belen during prohibition.
The former mayor and local business owner also took a stainless steel bread knife from the Sanitary Bakery that once operated on Becker Avenue. Torres said he can’t remember where or from whom he got the knife.
Torres also took a metal spittoon from the old two-story courthouse in Los Lunas that the Peters family had given him.
Bruce Hartman, also of Belen, took in a framed photograph of baseball legends Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig. He was able to purchase the picture for $300 at an auction in Albuquerque about a year and a half ago.
Hartman has not yet had it appraised or authenticated, but he has been encouraged to do so. Hartman said the picture, which is kept in a very safe place, is a joy to have, even though he’s not a huge baseball fan.
He said the picture might be worth more because it’s been said that Ruth and Gehrig are known to have not liked each other.
Trinity Bowles is proud to display a painting of her father, Clayton J. Vance, when he was 1 year old.
Roberta Scott, of Los Lunas, displayed her Native American jewelry, some of which belonged to her mother.
Trinity Bowles, whose family has lived in Valencia County for generations, took a painting of her father, Clayton J. Vance, when he was a child.
“He was a year and a half old, when they wore dresses,” Bowles said of her father. “He worked for the Atchison Topeka Santa Fe Railroad for 36 1/2 years.”
The painting has been displayed in Bowles’ home for years, saying her father was very instrumental in her life.
“I just brought (the picture) to share with everyone,” said Bowles. “He was very active in the community. He farmed here, he worked with the Boy Scouts, all the Catholic societies … he was the first president of the fireman’s union.”
Bob Strein, of Albuquerque, was once a docent at the Belen Harvey House Museum, and is an avid collector of anything Santa Fe Railroad and the Fred Harvey Co.
Bob Strein brought his collection of brochures to the event, including one of the historic La Fonda Hotel in Santa Fe.
His items were judged as one of the most historic items at the event.
Strein took three historic brochures of the inagural run of the Santa Fe Super Chief, the opening of the La Fonda Hotel in Santa Fe, and the third restoration of the Montezuma Castle in Las Vegas, N.M.
“The Montezuma one I found at an antique store in Albuquerque,” Strein said of the brochure. “The other two, I got in contact with someone on Ebay.
“I’ve never had them appraised; all I know is how much I paid for them.”
Strein said he forgot how much he paid for each brochure, but said the Montezuma brochure is dated 1901.
“This is just a small part of my collection,” he said. “If I had known we could have brought anything, I would have brought more. I have mostly paper — brochures and timetables.”
Tom Gonzales, of Albuquerque, heard about the show and decided to bring his pharmaceutical scale, and 14-karat gold carved bracelet.
“I got the scale at a yard sale in Española. It was reasonable,” Gonzales said of the $100 price tag. “I was told it was from the 1930s. It was used to weigh drugs at a drug store.”
Local historians John Taylor and Maggie McDonald judged items at the Valencia County Historic Road Show held at the Belen Harvey House Museum.
Local historian, John Taylor, right, talks with Barbara Costello, left, of Rio Communities, about her late husband’s model railroad cars at the Valencia County Historic Road Show.
Barbara Costello, of Rio Communities, brought several pieces of her late husband, Raymond’s model railroad collections. She said he collected them for years.
“I still have quite a bit of his collection at home,” Costello said. “He would put them out on shelves in a room. He liked the cabooses most.”
Roberta Scott, of Los Lunas, displayed her Native American jewelry, including a squash blossom her father gave her years ago.
“It was my mother’s,” Scott said of the orange-colored squash blossom. “My stepfather used to trade Indian jewelry. He was a horse trader, and he would carry Indian jewelry around with him.
“He gave this one to my mother, and after she passed away, I got it.”
Valencia County Historical Road Show winners
- People’s Choice Award: Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig photo, Bruce Hartman; and the brochures from the Santa Fe Railway, the La Fonda Hotel and the Montezuma Castle, Robert Strein
- Valencia County Most Historical Awards: Bread knife from the Belen Sanitary Bakery, Ronnie Torres; and a notary stamp that was used to notarize official Belen correspondence at the turn of the century, David Ortiz, of Albuquerque
- Most Unique Awards: A surveyor’s cane with a telescope, David Jaramillo; and the Babe Ruth Lou Gehrig picture, Bruce Hartman
- Most Historic Award: Brochures from Santa Fe Railroad — inaugural run of the Santa Fe Super Chief, the opening of the La Fonda Hotel in Santa Fe, and the third restoration of the Montezuma Castle in Las Vegas, N.M., Robert Strein; Pharmacy scale, Tom Gonzalez
Historians John Taylor and Maggie McDonald judged the items.
Bruce Hartman, of Belen, won the People’s Choice Award and one of the Most Historic Awards at the event for his framed photograph of baseball legends Babe Ruth and Lou Gehrig.
Another unique piece of jewelry is a silver bracelet with a center that rotates to display a different colored piece of turquoise.
Scott said she will wear the jewelry on special occasions.
Clara Garcia is the editor and publisher of the Valencia County News-Bulletin.
She is a native of the city of Belen, beginning her journalism career at the News-Bulletin in 1998 as the crime and courts reporter. During her time at the paper, Clara has won numerous awards for her writing, photography and typography and design both from the National Newspaper Association and the New Mexico Press Association.