Cloudcroft, New Mexico

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Cloudcroft is a village in Otero County, New Mexico and is within the Lincoln National Forest. The population was 749 at the 2000 census. At 8,600 feet (2,600 m) above sea-level in an otherwise arid region, the mild summer makes it a popular tourist attraction in West Texas and New Mexico. It was named by Fodors in 2002 as the Number 3 "Most Overlooked and Underrated Destination Spot."[1] Tourism remains the primary economic driver of the village.

Two large ground terminals for the Tracking and Data Relay Satellite System are located near Cloudcroft, and are a source of high-technology employment.

Several communities linked with Cloudcroft: Weed, Lost Lodge, Sunspot, Mayhill, Piñon, and Timberon.

Contents

History

In the 1890s, the El Paso and Northeastern Railroad, organized by brothers Charles Bishop Eddy and John Arthur Eddy, arrived in the newly founded town of Alamogordo intending to continue the rail line north to the mining town of White Oaks and beyond. This required a steady supply of timber. In 1898 the Eddy brothers sent a survey crew into the Sacramento Mountains to determine the feasibility of extending a line up the summit to harvest the forests. The crew reported that not only was it possible, but the area could attract visitors. The name of Cloudcroft–a pasture for the clouds–was suggested and work on the line soon began.

By the end of the year, the rail line had been extended as far as Toboggan Canyon, and construction was started on a pavilion at the summit to provide accommodations for the anticipated tourists. It consisted of a dining room, kitchen, parlor, entertainment hall, and 40 tents set on wooden platforms. In June 1899, The Pavilion was formally opened by John Eddy. The first visitors rode the train as far as Toboggan and finished the journey by stagecoach. Favorable reports in newspapers quickly made Cloudcroft a popular destination. An additional resort, The Lodge, was built as a more upscale alternative to The Pavilion. The rail line arrived in Cloudcroft in early 1900, and in June 1900 the train depot was finished, located just west of The Pavilion. Meeting the trains became a daily activity in the village, with three arriving each day, bringing lumber, mail, and passengers.

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