Prior to becoming part of a cattle operation there is evidence the land was farmed. Old fence lines and the foundation of a house are still visible on the southern end of the property. Evidence for farming as opposed to ranching is in the form of 2 pieces of farm equipment still on the property. A baler sits at the entrance to the resort expansion on the east side of Painted Pony Rd and a hay rake was discovered in the riverbed. In addition to an old wind mill a 23' hand dug well still exists just north of the homestead, see below. This homestead is shown on the 1917 topographic map of the area and the discovery of an electric range burner in the foundation of the home site is consistent with the house existing after rural electrification which reached Rodeo and the San Simon valley in 1953 (Jr. Gomez, personal communication). Based on these observations, a farm existed for at least 35 years in this location. Farming in the boot heel of New Mexico with its arid climate was the result of a series of homestead acts which allowed citizens to claim land for personal use to encourage the settlement of public lands and beginning in the 1870's small farms began to appear on the landscape in southern New Mexico. Unfortunately the allotment size was not adequate to support farming in an arid climate and many small farm holdings in the desert southwest eventually failed with the land returning to cattle ranching (1).
|316 acre Painted Pony Resort and Ranch|
|Topographic overlay on satellite imagery showing building locations|
|The location of old fence lines and structures|
|old well next to the San Simon riverbed|
|interior of the 23' dug well|
(1) Hadley, Diane. 2005. Landholding Systems and Resource Management in the Sky Island Borderlands. USDA Forest Service Proceedings RMRS-P-36. http://www.fs.fed.us/rm/pubs/rmrs_p036/rmrs_p036_015_025.pdf