by George Zamora and Kathy Hedges
SOCORRO, N.M., May 4, 2006 – The year was 1889, and with a deadline of August 18 fast approaching, the citizens of Socorro needed to act. They needed a tract of land which could be deeded over to the Territory of New Mexico, as the location of the future School of Mines.
Left: The Land Donors Monument in front of Brown Hall, 801 Leroy Place, dedicated in 2006.
The 1889 territorial legislation known as the Rodey Act stipulated that land must be donated if a school of mines was to be built in Socorro.
The prospect of adding a college to what had, up till then, been a mining boom town, was too good to miss. A group of Socorro landowners banded together and legally conveyed to the territory a tract of 22-and-one-fifth acre, located about a mile from the historic plaza. The rest was history.
The land donors, who brought not only the School of Mines but also New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology into existence, were Edward and Emma Hubbard, Juan Jose and Francisca Baca, Estevan and Catalina Baca, Severo and Josefina Baca, Jacob Naumer, Robert Collins, and Antonio Abeyta y Montoya.
A monument in honor of the donors was formally dedicated on the New Mexico Tech campus on Friday, May 12, 2006. The monument is located in front of Brown Hall, the main administration building, on Leroy Place, the main road in front of the Tech campus.
Left: After the dedication, Dr. Daniel H. López, president of New Mexico Tech, poses with the Hon. Robert Baca (a judge from Bakersfield, CA) and Manuela Angela López-Baca y Brown.
Numerous descendants of the university’s founders, as well as New Mexico Tech president Daniel H. López and members of the Board of Regents, participated in the official dedication of the four-foot-tall, brick-and-mortar monument. The monument’s facade is topped with a bronze plaque that commemorates the people who donated property that became the original site of the School of Mines in Socorro, which in 1951 was renamed the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology
The 11 founding land donors of the university are listed on one of the plaques on the new monument, which is situated within the original site donated to establish the New Mexico School of Mines.