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Bloomfield History


Sources and Links
Compiled Personal Histories
Lesson Plans
Life Story of Bertie McDaniel
Town Biographies
Area Geography

Timeline and List of First Postmasters

Timeline of Bloomfield and New Mexico Events

Compiled from various sources.  If you find an inaccuracy, please email me.



1088  -- people of the highly-organized Chaco Culture built the town at the Salmon Ruins.  It lies midway between Chaco Canyon and Mesa Verde.


1128-38  -- the Chacoans left the town.


1220s  -- people of the Mesa Verde Culture occupy the town at Salmon Ruins


ca. 1290  -- the Mesa Verdeans abandon the town.


ca. 1500  -- Navajo clans located in Largo Canyon


1669  -- First Pueblo Revolt of Pueblo tribes suppressed by the Spaniards


1776  -- Father Escalante passed through the Four Corners area, naming Mesa Verde after climbing up the face of the mesa.


1850  -- New Mexico (which included present-day Arizona, southern Colorado, southern Utah, and southern Nevada) is designated a territory but denied statehood.


1860-61  -- The Rio Arriba County is formed, originally including the area that is now San Juan County.


1863-68  -- Known as the "Long Walk," Navajos and Apaches are relocated to Bosque Redondo. After thousands die of disease and starvation, they are finally allowed to return to their homelands.


1874  -- the widowed Mrs. Juanita Valdez Lobato and her son David E. Lobato settled in the Turley area, where Largo Canyon meets the San Juan


1876  -- The San Juan County region is made public domain and opened for settlement


1877  -- In February, Peter Milton Salmon and his family settle near the present-day Salmon Ruins.

            -- In June, Orange Phelps settles in the Bloomfield area.


1878  -- Solome Jacques and his wife Ana Maria Lujan settled in Turley area, which was then called “Alcatraz.” 


1879 -- William Haines serves as the first postmaster of Bloomfield


1880  -- William Haines started a general store in Bloomfield

            -- Stockton war started


1881  -- Bloomfield-Porter Ditch constructed

            -- name of the town is changed from Porter to Bloomfield

-- Billy the Kid shot by Sheriff Pat Garrett in Fort Sumner N.M.


1882  -- name of the town is changed back to Bloomfield. William Haines is still postmaster


1886  -- Geronimo surrenders; Indian hostilities cease in the Southwest.


1887  -- San Juan becomes an independent county when Rio Arriba County was split

            -- the Territorial Government named Aztec as the seat of San Juan County

            -- Daniel Sullivan was appointed as the first county sheriff


ca. 1888  -- First settlers arrive in Hammond


1892  -- Alcatraz post office established. Pablo Candelaria serves as first postmaster. Town is later absorbed by Turley.


1901  -- Blanco is granted a post office. Flora Dougherty serves as first postmistress

            -- George Salmon (Peter Salmon’s son) laid out Broadway (running north & south) and Main St. (running east & west).  He offered two lots to anyone who would build a house and settle in the town.


1905  -- railroad from Durango to Farmington is begun

            -- The San Juan, Animas and La Plata Rivers flood


1906  -- Urna B. Turley serves as first postmistress of Turley


1907  -- The Citizens Ditch and Irrigation Company was formed with incorporators Charles E. Spath, Walker G. McClure, Wallace A. Epperson. Fred W. Townsend, Thomas F. Dalton, Fill Green, and George Salmon

            -- Bloomfield Irrigation District Ditch constructed


1909  -- flood


1910  -- Citizen’s Ditch dug from Blanco to Crawford Mesa


1911  -- major flood on the San Juan River, washing out 25 miles of railroad; destroying the Methodist Mission; washing out all but 2 bridges in the county; destroying the farms of 50 families and drowning Frank B. Tice, a farmer for the Methodist Mission.

-- The settlement of Hammond is abandoned. 

            -- The Bloomfield Irrigation District absorbs the other irrigation companies, rights and properties.

            -- An oil rig on the Saiz property discovers oil, but little is done with it.


1912 -- New Mexico admitted to the Union as the 47th state.

            -- The rock schoolhouse was built in present-day Farmers Market parking lot


1921  -- New Mexico’s first oil well began producing


1923-24 -- Oil is discovered on the Navajo Reservation.


1926  -- flood washes away the Blanco bridge

            -- Electricity comes to Bloomfield


1927  -- another flood came within 4 feet of the 1911 flood


1942-45  -- New Mexico soldiers serving in the 200th Coast Artillery during World War II are captured by the Japanese and endure the Bataan Death March. Navajo Codetalkers are influential in helping end the war. Secret atomic laboratories established at Los Alamos.


1945 -- World's first atomic bomb detonated at Trinity Site in southern New Mexico after its development at Los Alamos.


1947 -- Tommy Bolack drilled the first natural gas test well south of Bloomfield


1948  -- Native Americans win the right to vote in state elections.


1955  -- Bloomfield is incorporated as a village. Chuck Otto serves as the first mayor.


1955  -- Bloomfield High School opened.


1960  -- first class graduates from Bloomfield High School


1962  -- Navajo Dam on the San Juan River is dedicated


1966  -- Bloomfield is incorporated as a city.


1968  -- the D&RGW “Red Flyer” makes its last trip between Farmington and Durango


1980  -- Naabi Ani Elementary opens


1981  -- oil and gas hits a peak gain of $4.7 billion in New Mexico


1991  -- The San Juan Basin produced more coalbed methane than any other area in the world




Alcatraz -- Pablo Candelaria,  April 7, 1892 / March 27, 1894

Aztec -- Thomas B. Hart,  April 30, 1879

Blanco -- Flora Dougherty,  March 6, 1901

Bloomfield -- Wm. B. Haines,  May 1, 1879,  Changed to Porter December 7, 1881

Porter -- Wm. B. Haines,  December 7, 1881,  Changed to Bloomfield May 17, 1882

Bloomfield -- Wm. B. Haines,  May 17, 1882

Cedar Hill -- Roliondo H. Wright,  June 13, 1892 / April 8, 1966

Crozier -- Robert B. Wright,  June 6, 1903

Crystal -- Marion A. Moore,  November 25, 1903

Fairpoint -- Maida E. Deichsel,  May 9, 1894 / October 1, 1898. Mail was taken to Largo

Farmington -- Allison F. Miller,  April 17, 1879

Floravista -- Hannibal H. Halford,  August 6, 1878 / July 26, 1880

Flora Vista -- Nathaniel M. Hayden,  November 13, 1884

Fruitland -- Thomas C. Bryan,  June 18, 1891

Hood -- George S. Hood,  July 20, 1898 / April 2, 1906

Jewett -- Henry Hull,  March 7, 1884 / January 15, 1907

Olio -- David A. Stevens,  Changed to Kirtland October 13, 1903

Kirtland -- Phebe Guymon,  October 13, 1903

La Boca  -- B. A. Rodriquez,  April 12, 1902

La Boca -- Socorro B. Garcia,  December 28, 1903

La Plata -- John H. Pond,  June 9, 1881 / October 8, 1881

La Plata -- Daniel Rhoades,  January 16, 1882 / November 14, 1895

Laplata -- Ella Hornbogen,  November 14, 1895 / October 1, 1965

La Plata --                   October 1, 1965

Largo -- John W. Baker,  February 15, 1883 / May 23, 1927

Pendleton -- Will L. Paddock,  November 12, 1903

Putnam -- Richard Wetherill,  April 12, 1901

Riverside -- Perley A. George,  October 10, 1905

Rosa -- Santiago Candelaria,  February 15, 1888

Rosa -- Bidal A. Candelaria,  September 19, 1900

Hosing -- Finette McKinley,  December 18, 1909 / November 15, 1919

Satekon -- Ruth G. Baldwin,  December 15, 1900

Shiprock -- William T. Shelton,  August 31, 1904

Turley -- Urna B. Turley,  December 26, 1906

Wallace -- John A. Roff,  April 30, 1879 / August 12, 1881


Information from “The Territorial Post Offices of New Mexico” by Sheldon H. Dike.

Prior to the coming of the railroad to New Mexico in 1879, there had been 151 post offices. At the time of statehood (established on January 6, 1912), there were 634 post offices. As of July 1, 1957, there were 418 post offices.

When San Juan County was established in 1887, the first Board of County Commissioners retained Thomas B. Hart as legal counsel. (Koog1er’s)