The More Things Stay The Same

The more things change, the more they stay the same…….Things are more like today than they have ever been….

Two messages in today’s post.  Firstly, welcome to Black Range 3, a site which covers the human culture of the Black Range in southwestern New Mexico.  As such it is an addendum to that topic as it was covered in the original Black Range website.  

Given its focus on the human culture of the Range this site will sometimes announce upcoming events which may be of interest to those in the Range and nearby environs.  The listing of events is not likely to be comprehensive. We do not do outreach, if you wish to have notice of your events published in advance and they are of common interest I will do my best to accommodate you.

The second message is about history and the fact that the “common truth” is often not.  When I first moved to Hillsboro there were lots of stories about the legacy of Kingston and Hillsboro, many have proven false with just a bit of research and thought. Every place has its “tales” and we have our share of them.  I have no problem with “tales” as long as there is an understanding that is what they are.  Aesop's Fables are obviously tales and obviously have instructed people for hundreds and hundreds of years.  Likewise, the tales about Mark Twain visiting Kingston and basing “Roughing It” on that experience is a great tale about boosterism, a tradition that continues on sites like sierracountynewmexico.info.  Nothing wrong with boosterism, it was a big part of the mining history of the Black Range. (For those who are wondering, Roughing It was published a full decade before Kingston was founded - a very simple thing to ferret out, if you are really interested in fact and not tales.)

Roughing It


On this site we will always search for the fact, sometimes that is hard, sometimes fact is lost in history and all that is left is conjecture.  Regardless of the effort we will always provide our assessment of the veracity of historical statements - often with “got me”.

For example, I have long thought that it was Eisenhower who made the original quote about “Things are more like they are now than they have ever been”.  I have heard that from many sources, including at a concert by “The Association” ages ago.  Turns out that the first (known) time that it appeared in print was in 1948, in a real estate ad.  It was not credited to Eisenhower until the early 1970’s and there is no known original reference of him saying it.  So, did he say it first?  Probably not…but maybe…certainly not enough evidence to state it as fact.

To put it another way, the movie “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” is probably best known for this exchange:

Ransom Stoddard: You're not going to use the story, Mr. Scott? 

Maxwell Scott: No, sir. This is the West, sir. When the legend becomes fact, print the legend.

We will gladly print the legend - but tell you it is a legend.


© Robert Barnes 2018