• Gretel Enck

Another Arrow: Columbus, New Mexico

Because I don’t have enough else going on, I went out yesterday west of El Paso to find another airmail navigation arrow. This one is on the outskirts of Columbus, New Mexico. It was pretty easy to find and I ignored the private property sign that I passed that seemingly was trying to encompass a giant open piece of scrubland. Ignoring the sign was as easy as finding the arrow. But I didn’t tarry.

I also paid a short visit to the Columbus Historical Society museum in a historic train depot. The exhibits looked extensive, but the docent on duty was a bit strange and I didn’t stay long. Instead I looked at a couple of structures outside, which he couldn’t give me much information about, and then went up the street for lunch.

Columbus, New Mexico, is known for being the border community raided by Pancho Villa and his bandits in 1916 during the Mexican Revolution. Townspeople were killed. The Army presence in Columbus boomed, and my docent told me that the Army Air Corps was born in Columbus in response to the raid. A print of a painting of a yellow Jenny graced the museum wall. But he didn’t know about the arrow and couldn’t tell me if it was related to the early Air Corps.

On his recommendation I went to Irma’s for lunch and enjoyed a nice plate of red chile with pork with beans, rice, and tortillas. Irma and the docent both told me I should go a few miles south and walk across the border to Paloma, a legal border crossing to a town a bit bigger than Columbus. Although I had my passport, I was concerned about getting back in a timely manner. Part II of my day was picking up friends at the El Paso airport.

So I stayed on the American side and headed back east. I do wish I’d had more time. Who knew there would be things to do in Columbus, New Mexico. Next time. 


The arrow was great. This makes eight arrows that I have found and documented -- as well as two additional unsuccessful attempts. 



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