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Gateway of the moon


On a day that almost felt like fall, an obliging cloud approached the cross atop Nuestra Señora de Refugio church.

Now a virtual ghost town, the village of Puerto de Luna was once a thriving community. In fact, according to New Mexico’s Best Ghost Towns: A Practical Guide, in the 1890s, Puerto de Luna was the only town in the southeast quadrant of the state with a population greater than 500 people. But the railroad went through Santa Rosa, ten miles away, and later so did Route 66. Progress was not a friend to this place.

According to the same book, there’s some disagreement over the meaning of the town’s name. One faction believes it was named for the Luna family, and translates into English as Luna’s Gap. The other faction believes it translates into Gateway of the Moon, after a gap in the nearby mountains through which the moon sometimes rises. You know which translation I prefer.

Puerto de Luna, New Mexico
photographed 9.21.2013

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