Celebrating Our Rich Belen History

Jerah R. Cordova

Belen has among the richest of New Mexico traditions. This weekend as we celebrate the Our Lady of Belen Fiestas, as we have for well over 200 years, keep in mind that Belen is made special because of its 275 years of sometimes wild and always very western past. We’re a community of culture and history.

The fiestas are just one part of the compelling Belen history we get to live.

We have stories of poker games waged over property disputes, where the winner took home a prime piece of land that later became Buckland Bros. Pharmacy. We have a downtown railroad district punctuated by the Harvey House Museum. We have the historic Anna Becker Park. And we have plenty to tell about the people who were born here — actress Gloria Castillo, musician Bobby Keys, boxer Art Aragon and others, including those we cherish as our neighbors — and even the actors who have come here of the years, including that time Arnold Schwarzenegger jumped off the roof of the historic Central Hotel, falling through the awning of the old Eva’s Grocery. (Thankfully for him, it was just a Hollywood stunt for The Last Stand.)

When I think of Belen a lot of great stories come to mind. These stories are gifted to us by our strong culture, and we’re fortunate to live in a such a cultural place, a place that can’t be called Anytown, USA. We’re unique and we’re proud of it.