ON THE SOUTH AND WEST DOORS of the 1892 Eddy County Courthouse, in Carlsbad, 211 cattle brands recognize ranches across southeast New Mexico and other parts of the U.S. Southwest. “They’re definitely carved into there,” says Jameson Lucas, Southeastern New Mexico Historical Society secretary. “But I want to say they were actually branded into the doors.” For Lucas, the doors hold a special significance. His great-great-grandfather Walter Thayer was a cowboy for wealthy cattle baron John Chisum in 1878. Twenty years later, Thayer purchased the X Bar Ranch (located in Dark Canyon, northwest of Carlsbad) for $1,400. Although Thayer died in 1915 and the family no longer runs the X Bar, its legacy isn’t lost. “It’s an honor for my family to be recognized like that,” says Lucas. The ranch’s mark, an X with a line underneath, can be found on the west door transom (top center) along with the VVN (same row to the far left), the Colorado ranch owned by Carlsbad founder Charles Eddy and his brother, John Eddy. Installed in 1940, the brands are “a way of honoring the past and looking toward the future,” says Lucas.

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Visit the Eddy County Courthouse, 102 N. Canal St., in Carlsbad.