What gives a town a sense of place?
This was a question that occupied Elizabeth Barlow Rogers after writing her book, “Learning Las Vegas: Portrait of a Northern New Mexican Place.”
As an Anglo from New York, she was definitely an outsider in Meadow City, as it’s sometimes called, but she considers that an asset – no political irons in the fire, no old family feuds, and untainted objectivity.
The local sense of hospitality, especially to an older woman, made her a frequent guest in living rooms where generations looked on from family portraits hung on the walls.
Rogers had conversations, not interviews, she said during a talk before the Historical Society of New Mexico last weekend.
A sense of place, she concludes, derives from history, public spaces, the built environment, and public art. It’s an interesting exercise to think of your own town in those terms.
Las Vegas is steeped in history, and with 900 buildings on the National Register of Historic Places, it has a look and an inventory of interesting properties that draw movie companies.