According to the Grant County Beat they’ve finished tearing down the old Fort Bayard hospital. There’s some photos at the link, and the Silver City Sun-News has covered the demolition over the last couple of months. Normally I mourn the loss of any old building, but to my eye the hospital struck a discordant note on the old parade ground. It was state-of-the-art circa 1950 but looked out of place beside the officers’ quarters that are lined up in quiet dignity along an adjoining face of the parade. It’s been a few years since I visited Fort Bayard but I remember it as an almost surreal experience. It was a beautiful fall day, and I was apparently the only living human on the property, There’s been some attempt to maintain the old buildings, but not so much they appear artificially preserved or reconstructed, and the fort looks pretty much as it did in 1890.
The state was looking for a buyer a couple years ago, but I don’t know whether the hospital demolition is being done by a new owner or the state is doing it to remove a potential environmental obstacle to selling the property. I was tempted to suggest to the Fort Sill Apache that the tribe make an offer. Silver City would be a great place for a casino/hotel/resort like Inn of the Mountain Gods, and there would be a certain historic irony to the acquisition.