Send Steve Where?: Couple helping to revitalize small New Mexico village
November 02, 2017 10:39 PM
Send Steve where? This is the latest in a series to let new 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 email@example.com
ENCINO, N.M. -- The drive through the village of Encino features memories of what was. The small town is now littered with abandoned buildings, each one with a different story.
Victor Gallegos is Encino's fire chief. He grew up in the sleepy village. The town used to have two grocery stores. That's not the case anymore.
Encino used to be home to three gas stations. Now the nearest gas station is 15 miles away.
Motorists may have seen a sign along Highway 285 that belongs to a hotel. It now sits abandoned. Gallegos said most of the restrooms remain complete, and one room even has part of a bed in it.
The village began to fade away after its railroad depot shut down in 1965. Each empty building is a remnant of what was. Gallegos and his wife Tracie weren't going to let another building become lost and forgotten. They recently revived one storied structure.
"About 1937, former Gov. R.C. Dillon, who was from Encino, commissioned to have this building constructed for a training facility for the highway department," she said.
Years later, it became the fire station for the volunteer fire department.
"About six years ago, they had a new fire station built and they were just using this for storage but I always loved the building," Tracie Gallegos said.
And so the couple transformed the old firehouse into a restaurant and general store. It is the new place to see and be seen.
"That's one of the things I love about that is that we have that small town America thing going that we can have some of our local people come in here, just sit around and talk and visit," she said.
The Encino Fire House Mercantile and Deli is rewriting a page of the village's history. Tracie and Victor Gallegos believe in their small village. They respect what was and hold out hope for what is to come.
"When you come to town, you see a lot of vacant, abandoned buildings, and it's sad to know that once upon a time it was thriving," she said. "And so that's our goal is protect the history that we can and try to build Encino back up."
Updated: November 02, 2017 10:39 PM
Created: November 02, 2017 09:19 PM
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