New Mexico claims to fame

-A A +A
By The Staff

New Mexico claims to fame


Syndicated Columnist

SANTA FE -- There I was, just the other day, sniveling in a column about how New Mexico never gets any respect and then my cousin Margene Harris, from San Antonio, N.M. tells me that Food Network star Bobby Flay had a crew in town for three days in mid-May to film a show about Manny's Buckhorn Tavern.

The Buckhorn's owner Bobby Olguin. was challenged to a hamburger cook-off by the nationally known Flay. We won't know who won until the show airs and we won't know that date until Olguin gets a call later this month. He says he'll let us know.

So how did a national network get to know about the Buckhorn Tavern in a little town of 700 people? Well, Olguin already has made some top 10 lists of the best burgers in the nation.

In case it surprises you that there is a San Antonio in New Mexico, look about 15 miles south of Socorro, just off I-25. But I'll bet you have heard of San Antonio. It's the home of another famous hamburger joint, the Owl Bar, just across the street. Both cafes are absolutely worth giving a try. Locals I have talked with say they prefer the Buckhorn.

San Antonio was the boyhood home of Conrad Hilton. His parents ran a hotel there and Conrad helped carry people's luggage from the train stop. Hilton later became famous for his great granddaughter, Paris.

San Antonio also is the closest town to Trinity Site, location of the world's first atomic detonation. When workers tired of chow hall food, they would go into San Antonio for a burger and a beer. Both the Buckhorn and the Owl date back that far.

In other New Mexico news, the former Apache warrior Geronimo is still in the spotlight. Last February, on the 100th anniversary of Geronimo's death, his New Mexico descendants filed suit to bring his bones back to his birthplace in the Gila Wilderness.

Recently, the descendants who remained at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where they were incarcerated, filed motions to intervene in the case. It is likely Geronimo's bones will stay where they are.

The problem is that some of those bones may not still be at Fort Sill. The infamous Order of Skull and Bones at Yale University has long been said to have robbed them back in 1918 to display in their clubhouse, called "The Tomb."

It is known that some members of the Skull and Bones were stationed at Fort Sill following World War I. One of them evidently was Prescott Bush, father and grandfather to two U.S. presidents. All three were members of Skull and Bones.

That society has been named in the New Mexico descendants' suit, which relies on the Native American Graves and Repatriation Act that requires any institution receiving federal funds to acknowledge and repatriate skeletal remains and artifacts derived from Indian graves.

Skull and Bones doesn't receive any federal funds but its clubhouse is located on the Yale campus. Yale also has been sued.

Robbing Indian graves was stylish at the time and there is no doubt that the Skull and Bones club sought out Indian skulls.

A National Park Service retiree reports that Geronimo's grave was unmarked in 1918 so the society members couldn't be sure who they were digging up. If they have a skull and bones from the Fort Sill Indian Prisoner Cemetery, it is an anonymous Indian that they pretend to be Geronimo.

Regardless of whether it is Geronimo or not, it is time for the Order of Skull and Bones to stop the foolishness and disclose and repatriate all the skeletons it has collected over the years.

Geronimo was an interesting and controversial person, even among his own people. Historians still are trying to comb through all the myths and reveal the true Geronimo.

One historian known to be working on a Geronimo story right now is former New Mexican Robert Utley.