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Life on California's beautiful Central Coast

Historic Las Vegas (N.M.)

When Gen. Stephen Kearny claimed New Mexico from Mexico for the U.S. government, he did so in the plaza of Las Vegas, New Mexico. Claiming that he and his men came “as friends, not as enemies; as protectors, not as conquerors,” and they were thereby absolved of their  allegiance to the Mexican government. The people, reportedly, were pleased but skeptical that the Americans could protect them from Indian raids.

The text of Kearny’s speech, which concludes with his meandering remarks about his personal religious beliefs, are bronzed on the plaza of Las Vegas, which is a very neat frontier style town, though commerce seems to be struggling.

Kearny's proclamation text in the plaza.

Kearny's proclamation text in the plaza.

 From that history making moment to a more recent one .. one of the vacant historic buildings on the plaza was the previous headquarters of the local Obama field office. Check out the “Yes We Can” left in the windows.


Lots of the historic storefronts were empty and many for sale. Las Vegas seems like a tourist destination whose golden moment has not yet been realized, or perhaps is long past.

I’d sum up the general feeling in town by the look on this pup’s face.


He was hanging out across the street from what we’ll call, just for fun, the Dropped R Merchantile.



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