Sunday, August 23, 2015
Where the Story Leads....
Last April when I was in New Mexico I took the long drive south on Interstate 25 from Santa Fe to the new Spaceport America that I posted about here. At some point along the way, I got off the four-lane highway and took a state highway that ran somewhat parallel to the main road. I thought it might be a more scenic route and I might find things to photograph. One of the first places I found was this old, abandoned rail station for the town of San Antonio New Mexico. I never actually saw the town but this rail station was situated near the road so I stopped to take a photo or two.
A few days ago, I decided to do some investigation into this little station to see if there was anything interesting to learn and oh, what a journey that research took me on.
You see, San Antonio New Mexico was the birth place of one Conrad Hilton, hotel magnate extraordinaire. One of the first things I found out about this old building is how as a very young man, Conrad Hilton would meet arriving train passengers at this station and carry their bags for them to the local hotel which was operated by his father along with the A H Hilton Mercantile store. At the age of 21, he took over his father's general store and at the age of 32 he bought his first hotel in the city of Cisco Texas and he would build a vast hotel empire from there.
I found an old photo of the original A H Hilton Mercantile store as part of the University of New Mexico's collection. You can see it here. Very humble beginnings for such wealthy man.
I had no idea when I took this photo that the little station would have such historical significance.