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Explore! New Mexico searches the state for interesting stories to tell our listeners and readers - and now our blog followers! We are currently producing a series of multi-media podcasts for the Las Cruces Convention and Visitors Bureau about interesting events and places to visit. You can view them at our YouTube channel. Be sure to visit our website where you can get even more ideas about where to travel in the Land of Enchantment.

Monday, June 21, 2010

Thomas' Book Fascinating Look at Southwestern Indian Detours

If you’re as much history buff as I am, you’ll find The Southwestern Indian Detours, a book written by Diane Thomas and published in 1978, a historical treat. Ms. Thomas, a member of the Albuquerque Press Women with a long career writing books and magazine articles before she died in 2008, recounts the history of the Fred Harvey Company and the Santa Fe Railroad in providing road tours between Las Vegas, NM, and Albuquerque in the late 1920s. The idea was to entice people to leave the trains running to and from Chicago and California to tour the mountains, canyons, pueblos, and Indian ruins in the southern Sangre de Cristo mountains. Tours took patrons to Santa Fe, Taos, and other pueblos. There were also tours based out of Winslow, AZ, to the Grand Canyon and Painted Desert. The book details what life was like for the women tour guides, called Couriers, and the drivers. It looks at the luxurious accommodations and meal services as well as the various cars and buses used. Of course, the Great Depression has its impact, but what ended the Indian Detours, as they were called, was the rise of the family automobile and improvement of highways across the country. The Indian Detours continued after World War II but had faded from their exciting first decades. Ms. Thomas’ book is truly a fascinating read, showing how people in the early part of the last century discovered and thrilled at their Southwestern experiences.

Posted by Bud Russo

Explore! New Mexico


  1. I am interested in finding out if anyone knows where Diane Thomas's collections of Indian Detour and Fred Harvey materials is. I'm the author of the new biography of Fred, Appetite for America, and I'm trying to help the museums interested in collecting Harvey material build their collections. If you know anything about the whereabouts of her files, please contact me at stephenfried@comcast.net

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  3. I'll check with colleagues in Albuquerque Press Women and see what I can find out for you.

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