THE HISTORY OF CLOUDCROFT
The El Paso & Northeastern railroad, organized by the Ed Brothers, Charles Bishop & John Arthur, assisted by their attorney, William Ashton Hawkins – arrived in Alamogordo with plans to go northward to the mining town of White Oaks and beyond. In the fall of 1898, a feasibility representative suggested that such a line was not possible, but the beauty of the region could attract many visitors. The name Cloudcroft, a pasture for the clouds, was suggested. The report was accepted & work on the line soon began.
At the end of 1898 construction was started on a “Pavilion” at the summit to accommodate the tourists once the line was completed. In June 1899, the Pavilion was opened & tourists rode the train as far as Toboggan & finished the trip by state coach. They were royally entertained upon their arrival & glowing reports of the new resort of Cloudcroft appeared in area newspapers. Tourists began to flood to the mountains.
The railroad line finally arrived in Cloudcroft in 1900 & a depot was built about 250 ft. west of the Pavilion. “Meeting the Train” became a daily festivity in the Village. Some trains hauled logs down the mountain & others carried mail & passengers. Cloudcroft hasn’t changed much over the years. The permanent population has not grown substantially & the Village maintains the small town atmosphere that is so appealing.
Cloudcroft, NM, a small mountain village is located in the heart of the Lincoln National Forest & is a year round mountain play land for hiking, mountain biking, horseback riding, hunting, skiing, snowmobiling, shopping, restaurants, astronomy, golf, camping, festivals, scenic byways, wildlife & nature photography, bird watching, log cabins, breathtaking scenery & the list goes on. Cloudcroft is 45 minutes from Ruidoso & Ski Apache, 2 hours from El Paso, 20 minutes from Alamogordo, 1 ½ hours from Las Cruces. Summer highs range in the 70’s.
A unique part of Cloudcroft's history was the Baby Sanatorium, which operated during the summer months from 1911-1934. More than 500 babies were treated for dehydration from nearby desert communities of El Paso, Alamogordo, & Las Cruces. After the original Lodge burned down in June 1909, several meetings were called to convince the El Paso & Southwestern Railroads to rebuild. Dr. Stevenson, whose young son died of dehydration while enroute to a cooler climate in CA, attended the meetings & asked for the rebuilding of the Lodge, as well as a Baby Sanatorium. The Railroad Board of Directors agreed to rebuilding the Lodge & also donated land near the Lodge for the construction of a Baby Sanatorium. The Baby San opened on June 14, 1911. Donations totaling $10,428 enabled charity cases to be set up & sick babies born to rich & poor alike were treated.
An original crib is on display at the Sacramento Mountains Historical Museum in Cloudcroft.
Visit the Museum for interesting facts & much, much more history related to Cloudcroft.