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In 1740, a group of Hispanic families, seeking new cultivatable land, received a grant of more than 200,000 acres from the governor of Spanish New Mexico. In 1793, a church was built in the Belen Old Town Plaza under the direction of Franciscan priests. An agricultural community was formed around several plazas, and residents prospered through barter and subsistence farming. In the 1850s and 1860s, German immigrants joined Hispanic merchants to form a vibrant business community. The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad arrived in Belen in the 1880s, and the nearby "Belen Cutoff" in 1908 linked both north-south and east-west rail lines to give Belen the nickname of the "Hub City." Today, more than 100 trains travel through the Belen rail yard daily.
ISBN: 9781467130530
Format: Paperback
Publisher: Arcadia Publishing
State: New Mexico
Series: Images of America
Images: 196
Pages: 128
Dimensions: 6.5 (w) x 9.25 (h)
Baldwin G. Burr is president of the Valencia County Historical Society and of the Central New Mexico Corral of Westerners International and is secretary of the Historical Society of New Mexico. Burr has compiled more than 180 photographs from collections of the Valencia County Historical Society, the Belen Harvey House, the Los Lunas Museum of Heritage and Arts, and many private collections to tell the story of Belen and the surrounding area.