Saturday, August 14, 2021

What Happened in Folsom?

 In my previous post I wrote about a little village named Folsom, New Mexico that is actually listed as a ghost town despite a population of fifty six people.

But wait! In 1877 the little place was actually named Madison, that is until the train decided to bypass the village a few miles to the east. The residents of Madison abandoned their homes and set up a tent village near the newly laid tracks…some folks calling the place rag-town.

Rag-town decided to name their little village Folsom  when President  Cleveland  stepped off the train during a whistle stop with his young bride elect the pretty twenty one year old Francis Folsom. that’s right, they were so smitten with her charms that to this day the place is called Folsom.

Folsom prospered and at one time and had a population of nearly one thousand. They also boasted the largest stockyards north of Ft. Worth,Texas.

Well in August if 1908 a flash flood roared through the village and washed most of it away along with seventeen of its residents. After that little place slowly dried up,

except  for an occasional visitor  to their small museum.

A couple of things caught my eye. One was  the remains of this old gas pump.(or what’s left of it) Patented in 1911 by the Bowser Co. of Indianapolis, a sign of more prosperous times.

and this monument to Sarah Rooke. She was the one and only telephone operator  and was notified about the flood. She stayed at her post calling as many residents as she could of the impending doom. She saved most of the town despite being one of the seventeen that was swept away and drowned. Maybe the name of the town should have been changed again to “Rooke”.

Sorry..My font size keeps mysteriously changing size all by itself..and seems impossible  to correct!


  1. Dearest Janey,
    WOW, what a dramatic history lies behind Madison and Folsom. All over such a small distance. What the precise spot of a rail road track can change in an area! Folsom was a beauty indeed.
    Sarah Rooke no doubt is a legend; what a great person she was by not abandoning her duty and warning numerous others of the danger.
    Another thing is nearby, the Capulin Volcano.
    Quite a place and you selected a perfectly, highly interesting detour.
    Hugs and thanks for sharing!

  2. That really is interesting. I would never have guessed that was the reason for the name! Thanks for researching that for us! Maybe I'll pass through there some day!

  3. Interesting town and interesting how they got the name for it! Reminded me of Sedona, Arizona that was named at the wife of the first postmaster. I had thought until I read the history of it that it was named after something Native American but was surprised of how it came to be named.

    Fascinating history about the town, especially the telephone operator's dedication to her profession and trying to help people be safe. Sorry to hear she perished in the flooding.


  4. Nice little bit of history there I never knew about