I was greatly shocked that Magdalena does not have its own page on VT. However, if you're coming to Socorro, you're probably going to the VLA, and thus through Magdalena.
This is a beautiful little town that absolutely typifies life in this part of New Mexico. Although it has a beautiful, Spanish-sounding name, it's actually looks more like a old Western town.
The central part of Magdalena is a collection of small buildings and roadside businesses clustered along the highway. Behind this, the town only extends a few hundred feet before trailing off into the plains.
The cemetary turned out to be the highlight for me, although I was on a cemetary kick when I came and actually spent some time here.
There's a couple of those small town restaurants in Magdalena, the kind that you see in movies but so rarely come across, where old men sit around all day drinking coffee and talking about the weather, and the waitresses know the first names of just about everyone who comes in.
When I was here once, I was planning to go into the mountains and needed to fill a jug of water for the night. Being such a small town, Magdalena lacks those coin-operated water dispensers. I had asked at a gas station if there was, by chance, one of these in town, and was immediately offered the sink in the back. This sort of genuine kindness and trusting of dirty, unshaven young white boys like myself always impresses me, and has thus left a good impression of Magdalena in my mind.
"Cute little town"
I was driving through New Mexico on a road trip with my wife and friend; unfortunately, the alternator in my car died in Socorro. It was a Sunday, in a small town, and no mechanics were open. Thankfully, the Autozone was open and the people there were incredible! They talked us through replacing the alternator ourselves. When we couldn't figure out what to do, the manager spent her lunch break helping us. And when we were stuck again, a really nice local guy helped us finish the job, going so far as to specially make a part for us. This was an truly awesome place, and I would go back here any day.
"New Mexico Tech"
I went to Socorro on a training assignment at New Mexico Tech. Small, friendly town. Not much there besides the college. A small selection of restaraunts, a couple bars, lots of open space. Despite the presence of the college, Socorro wasn't much of a "college town" in the party sense. Just like at Duke, students tended to be pretty serious about their studies.
The college has beautiful grounds, a nice golf course, and also houses an impressive collection of rocks and minerals if your into that sort of thing. Me, I don't know one rock from another, but it was still interesting walking around.
Socorro is home to a number of bomb ranges and military installations in the desert outside town. We drove out there on a few occasions and saw many burned out aircraft bodies, derelict tanks, missiles etc strewn out all over the place. I suppose they are used for target practice. Some of the installations keep security pretty tight. Better save yourself some trouble and ask about certain areas before going off into the desert
"Nuclear heritage- the dark side of Socorro"
Socorro isn't far from White Sands, where the first human engineered nuclear explosion took place. There is probably still a lot of research in nuclear science and munitions going on around here. In the Courtyard is a fragment of the container that was built to contain the first nuclear explosion. The following photo will feature the historical marker that explains its history.
"Historical Marker explaining the history of "Jumbo"
"Rocks and minerals at NMT"
"NMT grounds - Loki Bridge"