Tour of the New Mexico State Fairgrounds* last week with Albuquerque's Historical Society. I wasn't leading the tour officially, of course, but who could shut me up? I should have my name on that tack room!
That wouldn't be out of place. I'm ordering a plaque. They'll never notice. The fairgrounds may have the greatest concentration of memorial bronze plaques in the world - or the State at least.
The early choice WPA buildings, like the Bolack Building, don't stand out in the quirky hodgepodge of paint colors, building signage and additions. And that building has multiple names. The place is a demonstration museum for overuse of commemorative architecture. Every governor, every fair commissioner and every legislator that has any little thing to do with any little thing that gets built, remodeled or renamed gets their name slapped on it.
The fairgrounds were a magical place - transformed for horse shows into a horse world. The choice stalls assigned by the steward were those old adobe barns - now mostly gone. They were built in about 1938 with the original construction of the fair. A remnant is called the Palomino Barn. There were barns named for other breeds - blocks of white stuccoed adobe box stalls with vigas and portals, trimmed in turquoise and arranged in artful courtyards protected from wind.
As we walked the Avenue of the Governors toward the horse barns, my running commentary intensified and the group dwindled. I've spent more time at the fairgrounds than any Governor. Maybe all of them combined! They promised to be there for my plaque dedication.
* Yes I know it is now New Mexico Expo but I hate that name and am hopeful the next governor changes it back.