The mystery of “Clarkdale” is solved!
For almost four decades I have been driving US Hwy 550 from Durango, CO to Farmington, NM. Just passed the state line, one mile into New Mexico is a building with “Clarkdale” painted on the facade.
Part of Denver & Rio Grande Western?
It is within a quarter of a mile of the right of way of the Farmington Branch of the abandoned Denver & Rio Grande railroad. I always assumed that it might have been linked someway with the railroad. I have Googled Clarkdale and everything I could think of to find out about this mysterious building.
The Mystery Solved
I finally found the answer in a new booklet “Place Names of San Juan County NM”, by Stephen Lane Wood. Lane’s book is available at the Aztec Museum or the San Juan County Historical Society. This unincorporated area is called Riverside, also called Hendricks or Hendrix, and was established as early as 1876 and actually had a Post Office from 1905 until 1938.
A Brief History
As for the building in question, it was owned by E E Clark. With the new highway and the booming railroad business brought on by the discovery of oil in the San Juan Basin, he saw what he thought was a great business opportunity. He opened a restaurant and envisioned the further development of the property. He named it “Clarkdale”.
One local resident remembered it, from the 1950s, as a “little store where you could get sodas, candy, and other goodies”. Another lifelong resident remembered it as a grocery store.
Many people have passed by in the ensuing years, wondering about Clarkdale. But E E Clark’s prosperity never came and his building still stands and a monument to his vision.
Thanks for visiting. I hope you can return often. If you like what you have seen, please click on the “follow” link at the top of the page.