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This Week in History

The 1927 Aztec High School Tigers basketball team. (Photo Henry Jackson Collection)

The following is a recap of local events for this time period throughout history.

41 years ago (1982)

On Dec. 8 every student in the Aztec schools will have the opportunity to pick whatever book most appeals to him and take it home to read at his leisure. Dec. 8 is the first of the three scheduled Reading is FUNdamental (RIF) distribution dates for the 1982-83 academic year. Says Curriculum Director Bettie Taylor, who coordinates the RIF program: “Every child in the school will have a chance to select the books they would like to be their own and take it home.” Unless, that is, the children are interested in taking home and reading books that one school administrator has termed “filthy.” Among the books deemed unacceptable for the eyes and minds of Aztec school children are three by Judy Blume and two by Norma Klein -- both popular and award-winning authors – and Nathaniel Hawthorne’s The Scarlet Letter.

Aztec Independent Review

50 years ago (1973)

The nation’s energy crisis is reflected in San Juan County in numerous ways, but so far there have been no reports of serious inconvenience. Service stations at both Aztec and Bloomfield observed the Sunday closing suggestion from President Nixon, and there were no reports of empty tank suffering. Clint Hill, athletic director of Aztec High School, said that the athletic trips are still scheduled. “We’ve talked it over between schools and agreed to cut down where we can,” he said. Cheerleaders may find themselves traveling with the team more, when there is room, and probably no one involved will object greatly, with the possible exception of the coaches.

Aztec Independent Review

75 years ago (1948)

Value per acre of New Mexico farm real estate increased eight percent from March 1947 to March 1948, according to the Bureau of Agricultural Economics. Average increase in the United States for the same period was seven percent. The increase in land values in New Mexico as of March 1948 was 123 percent of the 1935-39 average. The average increase for the United States was only 105 percent for the same period. “The largest increases in value for farm real estate were in those areas where wheat and range livestock are grown,” explains J.Z. Rowe, state extension economist in marketing. “Prices for their products have been unusually good during the war years. In New Mexico, new irrigation developments, industrial and military expansion, have also played a part in pushing the state’s land values higher relative to the national average increase. It would seem, omitting the possibility of another war, land values in New Mexico have reached their peak.”

Aztec Independent Review

100 years ago (1923)

“Ranger District Number Five,” the new book written by Hunter S. Moles and published by the Spencerian Press, Boston, is off the press this week and copies are expected in next week. This book is compiled from true incidences narrated by Arthur J. Wells of Aztec to Hunter S. Moles, former county agent of Aztec. The narratives are cleverly woven into a story, the interest of which grows with every page you turn. … A novel with fictious incidences could not be more thrilling or interesting. But the scenes and tales in this book are facts or based on facts and really happened not far from Aztec. This makes the book doubly interesting to New Mexicans, who as a rule, know little of the history of our great state.

San Juan Review

110 years ago (1913)

This summer Rev Bundy, JL Overhoiser, LJ Gower, and EA Chandler installed at the Hood Station on the ranch of Rev Bundy a canning factory which has a capacity of two thousand cans per day. They canned this year about 3500 cans of fruit in order to make the trial in a small way and prepare for a large run next year. This week Rev. Bundy brought to the Democrat office a sample of their canned pears with a can of high class California pears, the home canned being much superior. He also showed samples of canned peaches and grapes, and pasteurized grape juice and apple cider, all of which are high class products.

Farmington Times Hustler

120 years ago (1903)

The Women’s Improvement Association met at Mrs. Pitrat’s Tuesday afternoon. A good attendance was present. The possibility of reseating our school rooms with single seats was the most important subject discussed. Catalogues and prices have been sent for.

Farmington Times Hustler

This Week in Local History is compiled by Debi Tracy Olsen, local journalist and member of the Aztec Museum Board of Directors. The stories are pulled from newspaper archives and are reprinted as they appeared, errors and all.