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History of The Ranch Through Flo and Paul's Eyes
by Flo Schmalzl (from The Original Ranch Palaver,
May/June 2000, Vol. 3, no. 3)

While Casa Grande [SKP park in Arizona] was well under construction, we read in the September 1982 newsletter that another co-op would be built in Lakewood.  At that time we were working in Kearny, Arizona, one night from Lakewood.  So in early October, we journeyed to see what that area might hold for us.

Lakewood looked similar then as today, but there in a field near a transformer pole, and where once an old house had stood, was an Airstream belonging to Roni and Tom Foster.  We were the second SKP's to visit this chaparral, grassy cattle range.  We learned that Joe Peterson had been reared in this country with many friends both in Artesia to the north and Carlsbad to the south.  His boyhood friend, Wayne Gregory, offered Joe 15 acres of land of his choice.   After viewing the range from above, Joe took the section with the most trees, cottonwoods along an arroyo, two huge mulberry trees, and a grove of "junk" trees (name unknown).

Not only was the price very reasonable, but Wayne helped in many ways by allowing the co-op to dig the calcite from a nearby hill, and also in obtaining pipes, etc. at a good price.

After we quit our job in May of 1983, we traveled to the new co-op arriving May 25th.  Already volunteers were roughing out roads and marking the boundaries of the lots.  Ditches had been started for the utilities.  The place was abuzz with volunteers and prospective lot owners.

Then on May 29th in the shade of the huge mulberry tree, called the meeting tree, the lot drawing took place.  Luckily we were 14th which gave us the lot of our first choice, number 77, a corner lot.  When all lots were drawn, we celebrated under the awnings of Paul and Darlene Ogilvie with wine, cheese, crackers and whatever.  Those owners who were here moved onto their lots around June 1, as the hookups were completed.

Meanwhile, ditches were dug, pipes and wires laid, ditches filled in, calcite spread on the roads.  Everyone came to 4 pm Happy Hours under the meeting tree where snacks were passed around, progress was reported and ideas exchanged.

At the end of June when we and many others departed for the summer's travels, the work was continued by a skeleton crew headed by Wayne Sharp.  Joe Peterson and other decided that ideas for the club house should be submitted in the fall.



Barrbed Wire

SKP Co-op Retreat of New Mexico, Inc.
P.O. Box 109
Lakewood, New Mexico 88254
Phone 575-457-2303 & FAX 575-457-2100
email: skpranch@pvtn.net