Government rescues and economic bailouts abound. But sometimes, which is the case in Monticello, things happen on their own, courtesy of individual initiative.
Haven’t heard of Monticello or its neighboring hamlet, Placita? Then you neither wander the very rural parts of New Mexico, nor read national publications such as the Wall Street Journal.
Monticello, once called Cañada Alamosa (Cottonwood Canyon) was settled in 1856 by ranchers and farmers. Even older is Placita, two miles away, established in the 1840s by the Sedillo family, whose descendents still live there. At the other end of the canyon, in 1874, was an Apache agency where Geronimo was once captured. The two communities flourished for a time – Monticello’s population was 573 in 1910 – before they went the way of many rural communities.
Today, about 50 people live in Monticello. But there is a reason to visit soon, though it is neither the setting nor the loveliness of the village. It is the same attraction that drew the big national paper to the village – organic balsamic vinegar.