Rio Felix Bridge Historic Marker
EVEN BETTER NEWS
At 1:00pm on Tuesday, February 14, 2012, the New Mexico Department of Transportation has installed the historic marker on the north side of the bridge. Please pay it a visit if you get a chance. Photos to follow.
Thanks to the help of Robert Kurtz from the NM Department of Transportation Roswell office, Candy Spence Ezzell and Bob Wooley, State Representatives from our area, the historic marker project is a reality! The sign has been ordered and will be installed in time for Old Timers' Day. Please take a moment to send them a"Thank You!" for their dedication to Hagerman.
In 1926, the Rio Felix bridge was built to connect Roswell with Artesia and beyond. At the time, US 285 was not built yet. The state and federal government helped fund a project to prevent motorists from being stranded in times of river flooding.
Most bridges are placed at a right angle to the river they are crossing, however, NM 2 was built along section lines and crossed the Rio Felix at an angle. The engineer decided to place the footings at an angle to the road and skew the platform of the bridge to help strengthen it against the water flow.
The bridge was used until 1987 when a new platform bridge was built next to the Pratt. In 1997 the bridge was honored by being listed on the National Register of Historic Places and in 1978 was placed on the State Register of Historic Places (page 22). A narrative of the bridge and its history can be found in this registration form for its listing on the National Register.
Now with the reconstruction of NM 2 and the existing bridge deck, it is time to recognize the landmark with a Scenic Historical Marker. An application has been submitted to the New Mexico Historic Preservation Division of the Department of Cultural Affairs. But, funding the marker may be the death of the project.
If you are interested in memorializing this state treasure, please consider contacting us at firstname.lastname@example.org. Our goal is to have the marker dedicated on April 21, 2012, Hagerman's Old Timers' Day, and help celebrate the New Mexico Statehood Centennial.