Monday, November 7, 2011

Revisiting America

I'm sure most towns have interesting, unusual characters that have played a part in their history and one of these in Taos was Long John Dunn, an entrepreneur, who now has a bridge and area of town named for him. Getting to town in the early 20th century wasn't easy, only one road to get in and out of town. To arrive from the north, you took the train south to Tres Piedras, hired a carriage, later a car, for a ride to the Rio Grande River. The length of the trip necessitated staying overnight at the Bridge Hotel, owned by Long John Dunn. The next day, for a fee, he brought you to Taos, everything timed perfectly to his advantage. He built the road, the bridge, and the inn, and there are remnants of the inn east of the bridge. His former house in Taos is now a bookstore, and there are a number of quality shops around the bookstore called the John Dunn Shops.
After church yesterday I stopped for brunch, eggs benedict, wonderful, at the renowned Doc Martin restaurant housed in what used to be the offices of Doctor Martin who came to the area in the early 1890's. He was the typical rural doctor, making chouse calls in a buggy, later a tin lizzie, accepting any kind of payment, chickens, potatoes, meat, whatever. Over time he and his wife bought several properties around a small plaza and these are now the lobby and patio of the hotel. After the doctor's death, the wife continued to buy and expand into what is now the Hotel Martin. It is well known for its celebrity clientele, but I didn't see any at the time I was there, too early probably. The place becomes quite lively at night with the Adobe Bar in the hotel, nightly entertainment, and the quality food. The ownership has changed many times but this bar and restaurant has really been the center of social activity in the town for many years. The people I saw in the restaurant yesterday could have been born there?

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