“Get Cut-off Contracts”
The Santa Fe New Mexican was perhaps the most important newspaper in New Mexico from the late nineteenth century into the twentieth century. Prominent Republican Max Frost, owner of the New Mexican from 1897 to 1909, was typical of many newspaper publishers of the time, acting as a spokesperson for business and development. Many articles celebrated the climate of New Mexico: dry, disease-free air with land fertile for farming and industry. In the late 1800s and early 1900s, many areas experienced a mania for railroads as communities competed with one another to ensure their location on the rail lines. Here, in 1905, the New Mexican discusses how work is about to re-start on construction of the Belen Cutoff.
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The “Interior of Railroad Workers’ Bunkhouse,” Unknown (Photographer) Santa Fe New Mexican, May 25, 1905
GET CUT-OFF CONTRACTS
Orman & Crook, of Pueblo, and the Lantry & Sons’ Company, of Strong City, Kansas to Do the Work.
Denver dispatches say that Orman & Crook, the well known railroad contractors of Pueblo, have been awarded part of the construction work on the grade of the Eastern Railway of New Mexico from Texico on the New Mexico-Texas line to Belen on the Rio Grande division of the Santa Fe Railway. Topeka, Kansas dispatches also bring the news that a large part of the work on the “cut-off,” as the Eastern Railway of New Mexico is called, has been given to the Lantry & Sons Contracting firm, of Strong City, Kansas. It is estimated that it will take 240 miles of track to complete the division of the road from Texico to Belen. Work is to be pushed rapidly and it is to be completed by July 1, 1906. A good deal of the heavy work in the Manzano mountains over the Abo Pass was done by the Lantry & Sons Contracting firm two years and a year ago, but there is still much heavy and difficult rock work ahead. The great steel bridge at Belen is finished and the construction trains from Belen east to the Abo Pass are running over it. Both the Lantry & Sons Contracting “Blasting the Tunnel Cut,” Unknown (Photographer) Company and Orman & Crook are gathering material and men and are shipping these to the surveyed lines of the “cut-off” as rapidly as possible. Within a month many hundreds of men and teams will be employed actively and energetically in grading, blasting, bridge building, etc. Ex-governor James B. Orman, of Colorado, who is the senior member of Orman & Crook, is very well known here as he is the contractor who built the Texas & Santa Fe Northern Railway from Española to this city in 1885, which was afterwards purchased by the Denver & Rio Grande Railroad Company and is now a part of the New Mexico Division of that line.