A road sign welcomes visitors to Winston

WINSTON

      Winston may just be the friendliest place in New Mexico. I originally visited many years ago - probably sometime in the early 1980s - on my way through to Beaverhead. I remember stopping in to the store for a quick break. (The store is the white building in the picture above.) The clerk inside was friendly and amiable, and I had a good visit. On my recent return, I again stopped in at the store, and was again greeted by a friendly person.

QUICK STATS

  • COUNTY:  Sierra
  • LOCATION:  31 miles east of I-25 on NM 52
  • POST OFFICE:  1881-present
  • NAME ORIGIN:  Name changed from Fairview to Winston to honor Frank H. Winston, a prominent resident of the town
  • GNIS Info & Map

      As I drove around the town, I got the feeling that Winston was truly a friendly oasis in the Black Range mountains. They want you to know it right away too: when you drive into town, you're greeted by a big Welcome to Winston sign. One house proudly displayed the flags of the U.S. and New Mexico. A man waved at me and smiled even after I ran over his garden hose (oops).  I left Winston regretting that I didn't have more time to spend there.

      It wasn't until later that evening, when I sat down to read the history of the town, that I realized what was going on. Frank H. Winston, originally from Wisconsin, settled in what was then called Fairview in 1886. He established the store shortly thereafter. Mr. Winston became a state legislator and also raised cattle and did some mining. His prosperity enabled him to be generous with the credit he gave at his store, even when the possibility of being repaid was slight. After his death in 1929, the town changed its name from Fairview to Winston to honor his altruism.

      Is it possible the goodwill exhibited in a place could "stick" to that place, like a cosmic yellow-sticky? We hear about cold and clammy feelings surrounding places where something terrible has happened. What about the reverse? Could Mr. Winston's benevolent arms still be wrapped protectively around the town, even from the great beyond?

      Mr. Winston, if you're out there, thanks for everything. And sorry about the garden hose.