AlamogordoTownNews.com Railroad History Park Evolving on White Sands and 10th Street

The Tularosa Basin Museum in partnership with the merchants and partnership of Alamogordo MainStreet and the City of Alamogordo have come together to create a new park at the corner of 10th Street and White Sands. Just across from the Tularosa Basin Museum and Walgreen’s within eyeshot of the New York Avenue Cultural Arts and History District is the corner lot owned by the City of Alamogordo. 

Thanks to the leadership of Joe Lewandoski of the Tularosa Basin Historic Society in the leadership role of this project, working in collaboration with Brian Cesar, the City Manager for the City of Alamogordo, a dream of a City of Alamogordo Railroad Park is coming to life. A $20,000 grant facilitated by Alamogordo MainStreet granted by the Union Pacific Foundation was a kickstart for the new city park.

The park design at the Southeast corner of Alameda Park is in the near location of the water tower, view of the tracks but a safe distance and has the advantage of parking within the zoo parking so no need to cross street or railroad tracks. This portion of the park is historical, going all the way back to the founding of Alamogordo by the Eddy brothers.  This property is adjacent to the zoo which is the oldest continuing operating zoo in the southwest.

As people enter the park on the newly created concrete walkways, they will first view a semaphore (track switch/signal.) The signal to be on display was located at Alamogordo’s second railway depot. The unit was donated to the Tularosa Basin Museum from a donor from Belen who had acquired it. The unit is complete with all parts for installation. 

A park visitor to their right will eventually observe an excursion car similar to what was used on the rails going to Cloudcroft. The plan is to acquire one from the salvage yard of Cumbres and Toltec Scenic Railroad. It is an 80% replica of what once ran on this line but not an exact. The plan is to modify it replicate the photo below…

Continuing on the newly created pathways of the park will be historical pillars with photographs and story boards telling the history of the railroad and photographs of the buildings and support history of the railroad areas of Alamogordo as seen in the early 1900s. Each pillar along the pathway will take the park goer back in time with a photo and history lesson of the past specific to the railroad.

During the years of the early railroad another historic structure that no longer exists is a water fountain that was an attraction for passengers in the early 1900’s that had a layover. The fountain of the early 1900’s represented an oasis in the desert and passengers in the early 1900’s saw Alamogordo as a modern and bustling oasis in the middle of the city. A replica of that fountain will be part of the new park.

Another feature of the park is a beautiful piece of metal work created by Larry Berry, a local business owner (Basin Pipe and Metal.) In the work are components and events from the Tularosa Basin, the railroad, the Mexican Trestle, the Avis Building etc. It is 16 feet long and 9 feet high and will serve as a beautiful display of public art on the site.

Landscaping and benches will enhance the park. The park is under construction under the leadership and project management of Joe Lewandowski with great assistance from Debra Lewandowski and a host of community partners.

Alamogordo is fortunate to have the talents of these individuals that can bring together a variety of community interest in the name of community to tell the history of Alamogordo and to further enhance the quest of developing the New York Avenue 10th Street corridor into the New York Avenue Cultural Arts and History District. 

Stay turned for a story later in the week on the Tularosa Basin Museum, an update on the Dudley restoration project also under the leadership of the Lewandowski’s and to learn more about these two passionate individuals that are driving the preservation of Alamogordo’s history forward with concrete action. 

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AlamogordoTownNews.com Alamogordo’s New York Avenue saw Record Crowds at Atomicon

Alamogordo just completed its largest New York Avenue event in the post Covid-19 world with the success of Atomicon 2022.

Street acts from transformers to superhero’s and fire Artist transformed New York Avenue into a center of artistic expression and performance art Saturday night.

“The night was a huge success and lots of fun for everyone, it was great to see so many kids and families on New York Avenue” said Alamogordo MainStreet Executive Director Nolan Ojeda.

The event went off without incident, there were lots of smiles and great fun. We have few learnings about sidewalk spacing and accessibility which will be addressed at future events due to a few vendors placement,” said Roadrunner Emporium merchant co-owners, Rene Sepulveda & Chris Edwards.

The day began under the leadership of business owner of Elite Memories Boutique Claudia Loyla rallying the troops and cleaning the streets with her volunteers beginning the day at 8 am with a commitment to create a safe, fun environment to entertain on New York Avenue for Atomicon.

Around noon vendors began arriving and the street setup began…

Flickinger Center prepared Hobbit Town for the kids…

then the crowds came and the festival was a success 

100s showed up to celebrate Atomicon in front of Roadrunner EmporiumFine Art Antiques and More, 928 New York Avenye the crossroads of art, culture and commerce in Alamogordo's Cultural Arts District

To the 100s that visited Alamogordo Main Street New York Avenue Alamogordo’s Cultural Arts District thank you for joining for a wonderful night celebrating the performance arts, culture and a community of positivity. 

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AlamogordoTownNews.com Debra Scott Alamogordo’s First Black Girls Coach & First Girls State Title Winner

AlamogordoTownNews.com Celebrates Black History Months with its series, “The Spirts of Delaware Street, Alamogordo, New Mexico”. This article is the story of Alamogordo High Schools first black female coach and its very first state title in Girls Interscholastic Sports…

Many residents of Alamogordo, who have been in the community since the late 60’s, recognize the Scott name, for their visible community leadership within the Black community of the 60s, 70s and 80s. All the family was involved in various aspects of community and the educational community at large.

Ms. Scott’s father, a former military officer, was a pioneer at Alamogordo high school as a strict but compassionate guidance counselor. Her sister was respected and recognized for her many achievements including exceptionalism with the National Forensic League Speech and Debate Oratory events.

Debra Scott came up in the educational system during a period when women’s athletics were not funded by the schools and the only outlet for competition for girls was via the GAA (Girls Athletics Association.) In those days most girls’ athletics was not funded as part of the traditional school funding, The girls and their coaches had to do fundraising to fund the sports activities they participated in. Events held were limited in the sports offerings for girls.

As an example, Coach Bob Sepulveda re-created the White Sands Relays which in the 1950’s Coach Rolla Buck founded.

The first revamped White Sands Relay Race was in 1970 and was only for men. The second White Sands Relay was hosted in 1972. The second annual meet was opened to girls in 3 events, thanks to the encouragement of Coach Marilyn Sepulveda, to open it up to the girls. The second meet was opened to girls for 3 events and expanded drastically in subsequent years post GAA under Title 9.

GAA or meets under the Girls Athletic Association did not have the same prestige of interscholastic of the modern times of today but the competitors that did compete were fierce and created record times that would stand against any today.

Debbie Scott as a student athlete at Alamogordo High was one of those record holders and girls with significant promise in her athletic, and academic abilities under the mentorship of Coach Marilyn Sepulveda and others.

Coach Scott told the Alamogordo News in a May 15th, 1974, article that; “she began running in the 4th Grade and has not stopped since. She claimed when Grayland Walsh tried to kiss her on the playground she learned to run and one year later was beating the boys in the 100-yard dash.”

Note: she was such a great runner that Coach’s Bob Sepulveda who coached the boys track team and Coach Marilyn Sepulveda who coached the girls’ teams agreed to allow her to train with the boys when running.

When researching the book; Coach Bob Sepulveda, The Early Days published by 2nd Life Media the author tells of many of the “boys of that time praised Debbie Scott.” Several boys said, “she used to embarrass them by how fast she was compared to them.” They said they’d get back to the locker room and they would get a ribbing about Debbie “whooping them, not only in speed but also in form.”

She often came in 1st in Elementary School relays and for the many years to follow in high school and college. She was a natural winner and had the discipline and passion for excellence.

She earned her 1st of 4 Presidential Physical fitness patches in the 6th grade and continued a tradition of winning thereafter.

Her parents enrolled her in dance lessons for 13 years and in piano lessons for 9 years. She continued learning dance for years after and teaching dancercise classes in the high school later in her career. Those students in reflecting, remembered this many years later, the Jane Fonda style dancercise classes conducted by Ms. Scott were unique, innovative and “great fun under Coach Debbie’s leadership.” Coach Bob Sepulveda said that “Debbie’s dancercise classes and his weight classes were the most popular offerings ever offered by the PE department” at least that is during his 30 plus year tenure at Alamogordo High School.

It takes a lot of time to be good at something and you have to be willing to sacrifice your social life for something you feel you’ll get just as much satisfaction out of”, she was quoted as saying to the Alamogordo News. Coach Scott believed the good outweighs the bad in athletics.

It allowed her to travel the country, meet many great people and gain accolades and confidence that she was able to pass to her students years later based upon her performance of excellence.

In 1973 in college, she went to the AAU nationals and was selected to the women’s All American Track Team. She held the state record for college level women in the 220-yard dash at 24.5 for several years and was rated 4th best in the nation in long jump in 1974.

An All-America team is a hypothetical American sports team composed of outstanding student players. These players are broadly considered by media and other relevant commentators as the best positional players in a particular sport, for a specific season.

Debbie Scott was the first female athlete to graduate from Alamogordo High School to gain that status as an “All American Track and Field Athlete.”

The designation of “All American” is administered by the U.S. Track & Field and Cross-Country Coaches Association. The selection rules are that the top eight finishers in each individual event, as well as American competitors who finish outside the top eight in their event but are among the top eight of the American finishers in an event, earn All-America designation. She qualified for her excellence in two events: the long jump and the 220-yard dash.

Her advice to other female athletes was, “If you have got talent or are just interested in sports, you should take advantage of the opportunities for women everywhere you can.”

While a student at Alamogordo High she competed in the last year GAA existed. She won multiple awards and medals placing often in the 100-yard dash, long jump, and other events. She ran often as an independent woman with the Duke City Dashers Running Club and set records in the Mile Relay and the 220.

Debbie Scott ran on a relay team with Alamogordo alumni Carolyn Patterson and Julia Fultz ranking 2nd at a Northern Colorado Invitational while attending New Mexico State University. New Mexico State University had 4 alumni of Alamogordo Girls Track & Field Team that competed: Debbie Scott, Carolyn Patterson, Julie Fultz, and Vicki Murray.

Upon graduation from college Debbie Scott was hired by the Alamogordo school system to teach and to coach. She would ultimately lead Alamogordo girls’ teams in Volleyball and in assisting Coach Marilyn Sepulveda in Track & Field to great success.

The early 70s was a transitional year for Alamogordo Girls Sports and for Debbie Scott who as an Alumni and then re-joined Alamogordo High School, but now as a teacher and a coach.

The passage of Title IX, the 1972 Education Amendments to the Civil Rights Act, expanded high school athletic opportunities to include girls, revolutionizing mass sports participation in the United States. Organized sports have long been an integral part of the American high school experience for boys. However, the same has not been historically true for girls. Indeed, girls only began playing sports in large numbers after the passage of legislation mandating gender equity in schools.

The first regulation stipulating the procedures for the implementation of Title IX were not released until June 1975. Some schools began interpreting and implementing Title IX prior to June of 1975.

Alamogordo High was one such school system that progressively moved forward with implementation prior to the full Federal rules rollout. From the 1950’s through the late 1970’s Alamogordo High School was considered “a progressive front runner in leading social change and a model for school systems across the country.”

Teacher and Coach Debbie Scott was named Head Volleyball Coach the 2nd year after girls’ interscholastic volleyball was introduced at Alamogordo High School.

She was the first African American Woman to lead a sports program in Alamogordo High School since organized sports began in 1912.

But that would not be her only first.

Under Coach Debbie Scott the Alamogordo Girls Volleyball team that she coached was the first of any girls’ sports team to achieve the status of winning a state title. Under her leadership the first state title in girls’ athletics for Alamogordo High School was achieved….

Marylin Sepulveda as track and field coach was the first to bring state trophies home placing 2nd place several times prior but it was Debbie Scott that broke the glass ceiling and brought home the 1st Red Trophy or 1st Place State Title in Girls Sports to Alamogordo…

Alamogordo Girls Volleyball team wins the State 1979/80 School Year

Alamogordo Girls Volleyball team wins the state competition in Santa Fe” read the local sports headlines.

Girls Volleyball Coach Debbie Scott was incredibly pleased that her girls who placed 2nd in the district meet then showed what they had, and came through, to win the state competition with a 1st Place showing a week later in the class AAAA girl’s tournament.

The tournament was deep, in steep competition, as their first round they drew state champion Santa Fe and were expected to lose. The Santa Fe Coach had said in a television interview the day prior that, “we will sail easily through the opening round against Alamogordo.”

With Debbie Scott coaching and rallying the girls forward,” the Alamogordo Tiger Girls roared and knocked Santa Fe right out of the action.

The final round they competed against Albuquerque Eldorado for the championship. The Tiger girls took the first game by a narrow margin of 15 to 11.

The 2nd game was even closer 16 to 14 but they won it and walked away with the state title.

Coach Debbie Scott was thrilled to receive the NM State Title Trophy at a hastily called assembly of the school and her girls that Monday morning. Many of the volleyball girls went on to play girls basketball the same year.

The girls that competed that very special weekend under the direction of Coach Debbie Scott had no way of knowing then that they were shattering glass ceilings, breaking the barriers of race and gender that once existed with the simple act of a volley across a net in Santa Fe.

A record of firsts places Debbie Scott into the books of Alamogordo History.

Coach and Educator Debbie Scott would continue at Alamogordo for several more years in leading the Volleyball team to victories and assisting with Marilyn Sepulveda as the assistant track and field coach for the Tiger girls and eventually also lead them with Mrs. Sepulveda to State title history.

Debbie Scott was and remains a pioneer of black history but more importantly a leader, an example and a pioneer in gender equality and the overall history of Alamogordo.

Ms. Scott now an educator, in another state, remains a recognized leader, an accomplished athlete and a name embedded into the annual’s fabric of Alamogordo history for eternity.

Black history is our history and the history that includes all of us!

This is one of the many tales of Alamogordo Sports History and Alamogordo Black History from our AlamogordoTownNews.com Series – “The Spirts of Delaware Street, Alamogordo, New Mexico”.

Author Chris Edwards – SourcesCoach Bob Sepulveda: The Early Days, Publisher 2nd Life Media, New Mexico Athletic Association, Diaries of Marilyn Sepulveda, Alamogordo Town News, New Mexico Coaches Association Archives

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