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Send Steve Where?: Mills of Mora Valley an important part of NM history

Steve Soliz
November 22, 2017 10:30 PM

Send Steve where? This is the latest in a series to let KOB anchor Steve Soliz learn New Mexico, and to give New Mexico a chance to get to know Steve. Send your suggestions on where Steve should visit at sendsteve@kob.com

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MORA VALLEY, N.M. – Drivers on the rural roads of Mora County will see several unique buildings. The old mills played an important role in New Mexico's history.

People who lived in the Mora Valley grew their own crops and relied on access to the mills.

An important mill in this region sits along Highway 518 next to a mercantile store. The La Cueva Mill was built in the 1870s. Now a stop for tourists, the mill was once a lifeline for the Mora Valley.

Downstream from La Cueva is the Cleveland Roller Mill, once used to make flour.

“This mill was built in 1900 by Joseph Foose. It was acquired by my people, my family in 1913,” Dan Cassidy said.

Cassidy transformed the mill into a museum in 1989. He's proud of the legacy that he has preserved along the Mora River.

"Agriculture has always been a big part of this part of the world. It always will be," he said. "Maybe it hasn't been milling and wheat farming but cattle raising and some vegetable stuff and all that."

Another old mill sits shuttered along highway 434. Built in 1864, the St. Vrain Mill is literally a shell of what it once was.

"St. Vrain family owned it until about 1915, and then it was bought by the Tramblay family and they operated it as a mill until the early 1930s," Merl Witt said.

Long abandoned, there is new hope for this historic site. Witt is on a mission to restore the St. Vrain mill. 

"The building itself is a treasure. It's over 150 years old," he said. "It represents a very important part of Mora's history, northern New Mexico history. It's a unique building so as a reminder of our history, I think it's important to make sure that it doesn't disappear or fall down."

The goal is for the old mill to become a place for people to gather just as in the past when mills were a center of each community.

Credits

Steve Soliz

Copyright 2017 KOB-TV LLC, a Hubbard Broadcasting Company. All rights reserved

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