Family Dollar over Abiquiú

Family Dollar and the ghosts of

Georgia O’Keeffe & Ansel Adams

ABIQUIU, N.M. – Plans for a Family Dollar store in Abiquiú are moving forward despite the objections of newer residents in the town of about 600 residents in northern New Mexico.

KRQE reports that the Rio Arriba County Planning and Zoning Committee voted unanimously to recommend approval for the 8,320-square-foot store.

Located an hour from Taos and Santa Fe, Abiquiú was made famous by the residency of the artist Georgia O’Keeffe. She lived nearby at the Ghost Ranch from 1949 until shortly before her death in 1986.

“Steeped in culture and tradition, Abiquiú is a centuries-old community where it’s not unusual to see a tractor on the highway, cows grazing or relatives chit-chatting at the post office,” reported the Santa Fe New Mexican’s Daniel J. Chacón in a recent story. “There are no street lights, and most of the roads are dirt.”

A Family Dollar sign rises over Silver Cliff, in Colorado's Wet Mountain Valley, with the Sangre de Cristo Range in the background. Photo/Allen Best

A Family Dollar sign rises over Silver Cliff, in Colorado’s Wet Mountain Valley, with the Sangre de Cristo Range in the background.
Photo/Allen Best

Chacón further explains that Family Dollar’s plans have exposed existing racial and economic tensions between the locals, who are primarily Hispanic, and newer residents, who are usually Anglo.

“I think most of the Hispanic people what have lived here for generations seem to want it, and they’re saying that only the Anglo outsiders and newcomers don’t want it,” said Jeffrey Beeman, an opponent who arrived from California a decade ago and operates a bed and breakfast.

“They’re saying that they want an affordable place to shop. We’re saying, ‘Well, why can’t you just go down the road to Hernández, where there’s another Family Dollar and a Dollar General?’”

He added: “Once we start getting these types of stores here, it’s going to disrupt the landscape.”

Hernández, of course, has a famous landscape of its own. The photographer Ansel Adams in 1941 just happened to be passing by when he noticed the setting sun illuminating the headstones of the cemetery as a full moon arose over the Sangre de Cristo Range to the east. The masterpiece is called “Moonrise, Hernández, New Mexico.”

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About Allen Best

Allen Best is a Colorado-based journalist. He publishes a subscription-based e-zine called Mountain Town News, portions of which are published on the website of the same name, and also writes for a variety of newspapers and magazines.
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