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