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An Atlas of Historic New Mexico Maps, 15501941

New Deal Sites in New Mexico : 1933

This map identifies the vast accomplishments of the various New Deal programs and projects that took place in New Mexico between 1933-43. This was considered the Great Depression or Dust Bowl Era in our nation and its accomplishments are too frequently unknown or taken for granted. The map focuses on those accomplishments -- public buildings (post offices, courthouses, libraries, schools, etc.; public art in those buildings (murals, paintings, sculptures); parks and monuments (state, national and even local) and we also included most of the 120 CCC camps as a means of alerting you to the fact that much conservation of lands and forests, creation of roads, trails and dams would be found near those camps. Most of the camps are now gone or where some structures still exist, they are being used for another purpose. The same may be true about the hundreds of schools that served rural areas and in small towns. Many are still serving their original purpose while others may now be senior or community seniors or even homes.

What was the New Deal? Some may not know while our elders remember well how the different federally funded programs rose out of the efforts of President Franklin Roosevelt's administration to solve the economic and social destitution this country was facing. It was made up of a variety of work programs with different names that could employ laborers (both skilled and unskilled), professionally trained folks and talented artists, musicians and writers.

By 1935 over half of the state's population of approximately 425,000 had a job with either the WPA, Civil Works Administration, Public Works Administration, Civilian Conservation Corps (CCC), National Youth Administration and the Rural Electric Administration had been created to bring electricity to our rural areas. The Farm Security Administration hired photographers to record what we looked like at the time and what was getting done. Not shown on the map are all the new Social Security Administration program offices that were set up to start providing monthly financial aid to disabled and elderly and all the banks that have your funds protected thanks to the New Deal's Federal Deposit Insurance Commission (FDIC).

In the northeastern and east central areas of the state there was 72.8% of the populace involved with these work opportunities. This was the heavy Dust Bowl area of our state where the soil like in other states was not fit to farm and families had to be moved out to new Resettlement Areas across the state and nation. The federal government worked with state, county and local entities to match workers with the needs of the governmental bodies responsible for serving the public. Our then Governor Clyde Tingley worked closely with FDR to get as much as possible for his state. Consequently this partnership gave everyone HOPE.

In 2008 our nation and state celebrated the 75th anniversary of Roosevelt's New Deal. Hopefully this map will give you a guide to go and see for yourself how the New Deal is still a Good Deal today and that there is still a Great Deal of it across this Land of Enchantment.

We hope you enjoy seeing some New Mexico treasures that you may have missed before.

Funding for this project was provided by the New Mexico Humanities Council and New Mexico Chapter of the National New Deal Preservation Association.

Map Credits: New Mexico Humanities Council



President Polk declares war with Mexico; US forces led by General Stephen Kearny seize New Mexico, which surrenders without a shot being fired. Colonel Doniphan writes code for governing the Territory of New Mexico. New Mexico designated Ninth Military Department.


Philip St. George Cooke blazed the first wagon road from New Mexico to the West Coast.

New Mexico formally annexed; slavery issues had prevented formal annexation until this point.


Mexico signs the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which cedes lands in California, Nevada, Utah, Colorado, Arizona, and New Mexico to the United States (Statute 922 App I). The international boundary designated as the intersection of 32º N and the Rio Grande to intersection of Choctaw Creek with Red River.


Simpson made a map previously shows town of Rito- Rito is a ruin by the time Whipple arrives because the upstream people took all the water. He traveled through Albuquerque to Pueblo de la Laguna and passed Covero (Cubero), Mount Taylor (named by Simpson in 1849 for Zachary Taylor), and Agua Fria, the last spring before the Continental Divide. Whipple used Sitgreaves' 1851 map as a reference also Walker's 1851 map.


New territories admitted, including New Mexico (including modern Arizona), purchase of additional lands from Texas, boundaries adjusted. El Paso becomes part of Texas.


Sitgreaves' official report, Report of an Expedition Down the Zuni and Colorado Rivers in 1851, was published in 1853. The report explored possibility of using this route for military transport.

1852 Survey

1st international boundary commission established in accordance with the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo. Emory is the designated astronomer. The survey run into difficulties, which are resolved with the purchase of more land from Mexico.

Initial point on the Rio Grande (determined by Commissioners Condé and Bartlett according to the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo) proves to be in the wrong place. Surveyor AB Gray says 32º 22' is wrong, 31º 52' is right. Commissioners Emory and Salazar (astronomers from the first Boundary Commission) later determine the starting point of the line at 32º47'.


New Mexico legislature passed a single act creating two new counties, redefining five of the original counties to extend across the limits of the territory, and eliminating all non-county area.


Gadsden Purchase from Mexico resolves boundary issues, and give the U.S. the land necessary to build a southern transcontinental railroad. (GP Statute 1031 App II).

1855 Survey

US Commissioner: William H. Emory

Mexican Commissioner: José Salazar y Larregui

Emory and Salazar survey the entire Mexican-American border, including the new area included by the Gadsden Purchase.

The Americans made nearly a dozen monuments along the border to mark the sites, but many were destroyed by surrounding tribes, so the Mexicans rebuilt many and added some. Later surveys added over two hundred more, and rebuilt them as more permanent monuments.

1855 railroad surveys

The U.S. Government commissioned a number of surveys, spaced along parallels, to determine the best route for a transcontinental railroad.

Emory & Parke: 32nd parallel

Whipple & Ives: 35th parallel

Beckwith & Gunnison: 38th-39 parallel

1857 and 1858

Ives' Report upon the Colorado River of the West


Marcy publishes The Prairie Traveler


Colorado territory established; New Mexico's northern boundary reduced.

Residents of the Mesilla Valley declared their allegiance with the Confederacy and separated from the Union. They hoped the Confederacy would recognize them as the state of Arizona, which they imagined would reach to the Colorado River.

Civil War starts. Confederate troops gather at Fort Bliss and take Fort Fillmore. The plan is to seize New Mexico, and then march on to take the gold fields of Colorado or California. Indian raids on settlements step up as U.S. Army soldiers turn their attention to other matters.


Homestead Act: free 160 acres offered after 5 years cultivation. Later modified to offer 320 acres, and the Desert Lands Act offered 640 acres.

Henry H. Sibley, commander of a brigade of mounted regiments from Texas, marched from Fort Bliss near El Paso up the Rio Grande: taking Fort Fillmore, defeating Union troops at Fort Craig, taking Albuquerque and Santa Fe, and finally meeting the Union troops in battle at Glorieta Pass near Pecos. The Confederates lost about 350, 73 wagons, as well as their provisions and supplies. Starving and without clothes or ammunition, the Confederate troops retreated back to Fort Bliss.


Railroad Land grants: the Federal government gives away 128 million acres of land to the railroad companies, as an incentive to build railway lines all over the country. The railroad companies sold many of these parcels to homesteaders.


Arizona Territory created by the United States from the western portion of New Mexico Territory and a part of present Nevada. Present New Mexico-Arizona boundary established.


"Long Walk"- Navajo and Mescalero Apache forcibly relocated to Bosque Redondo reservation. The Apache eventually escaped, and the Navajo signed a treaty of nonagression and returned to their homeland in 1868.


Indian Wars throughout the West. Destruction of the bison herds.


Hayden, King, Wheeler, Powell Surveys map the west comprehensively, while cataloguing flora, fauna, and geology.


Navajo chief Barboncito, along with numerous other leaders, sign a treaty with General William T. Sherman, agreeing to peace with the Americans in exchange for rights to return from Bosque Redondo to their new reservation: a small area within their traditional homeland.


Fort Bliss renamed Fort Bliss.

Cochise and Apache guerrillas active 1871- 1879.

The war to save the buffalo 1874-1880.


Fort Bliss permanently established in current location.


The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe (AT&SF) railroad crosses the Raton Pass into New Mexico, reaching Las Vegas, its first destination in New Mexico, in 1879.


USGS established.


The Southern transcontinental railroad traversed the region.

Geronimo & Chiricahua Apaches active in southern New Mexico and northern Mexico, 1880-1886.


New boundary treaty: the boundary, where marked by the Rio Grande, adheres to the center of original channel as surveyed in 1852 even if the course of the river changes. Boundaries on international bridges at center point.


Geronimo surrenders to General Crook in southern New Mexico. The remaining members of the Chiricahua and Mimbres bands are removed first to Florida, and finally to Fort Sill, Oklahoma.


US/Texas/ New Mexico/Mexico border resurveyed; discovered bancos or alluvial deposits changing land mass on either side of the border.


Forest Reserve Law, designating forest preserves; forerunner of current National Forests.


National Forest service created.


Antiquities Act. Allows a president to protect areas of public land by executive order.

New treaty with Mexico on water rights for irrigation


New Mexico becomes the forty-seventh state of the Union.


National Park Service created.


Gila Wilderness established.


U.S. Supreme Court decision in New Mexico v. Colorado dismisses New Mexico's claims and establishes current boundaries between the states.

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