Our towns: Melrose is small town with a lot of pride

James Townson: Courtesy photo Melrose is a community of 679 residents. Melrose Chamber of Commerce President James Townson said the Melrose community is one with heart and its residents are very proud of its military members, veterans and school district.

Alisa Boswell

The town of Melrose originally began as a switch station for the railroad after it began moving west from Texico, according to Melrose Chamber of Commerce President James Townson.

Townson said the town was first called Brown-Horn.

He said the name came from two ranches, which were on each side of the mailbox and separated the two pieces of land. The ranches were owned by men named Horn and Brown.

“In 1905, at the request of the Santa Fe Railroad, the name was changed to Melrose,” Ray Lofton wrote in his book, Melrose, New Mexico. “By 1906, the railroad had built its line through Melrose; a roundhouse was started; and a post office named Melrose had been approved.”

Townson said Melrose is a close-knit community with a lot of heart and residents take pride in their town.

“Melrose is a caring community,” Townson said. “If someone is in need, they’ll come to help.”

He said although a majority of the town’s residents are retired, the town includes several airmen from Cannon Air Force Base and a school district, which residents are very proud to have.

Townson said along with being well-known for its school district, which has been state champion in football three years in a row, the town is also well known for its Works Progress Administration (WPA) art collection.

WPA was created during the Depression to provide economic relief to U.S. citizens. The government would pay individuals for building fences and creating art pieces.

“Melrose has one of the largest collections of WPA art, 30 to 40 pieces” Townson said. “There were more but some were lost when the high school gym burned down.

He said major events held in the community each year include the Independence Day celebration and the Old Timers Day event.

According to Townson, one of the most viewed sites in Melrose is the veterans memorial, which was built at Baxter Memorial Park in Melrose.

“We update it as often as we can,” Townson said. “It means a lot to our veterans out here.”

He said whether young or old, active military or veteran, all residents are important to the town’s people.