New Mexico New Deal Sites June 2019 - Photo #66 - Magdalena Gymnasium

Magdalena NM, 502 Main Street, 17 June 2019: WPA Gymnasium 1936, currently a telescope museum. Left: radiotelescope dome that won't fit through the door.
  1. Mine Opening Spurs New Activity, El Paso Herald-Post, 6 November 1939, p.43: "Water System, School Gym, Community Auditorium Recently Completed. Magdalena N.M., a thriving town on the edge of the Cibola National Forest in Socorro County... Magdalena has a new $35,000 WPA-constructed gymnasium and community auditorium. A modern heating plant is installed. ... (also) About 300 CCC youths are employed at a camp 22 miles west of Magdalena on grazing, soil conservation and range improvement projects."
  2. Magdalena Historic Walking Tour, Old WPA Gym,, accessed 9 July 2019: "This WPA building was erected in 1936 on the original site of the rock school building. The rock building was so sturdy that the workers were unable to tear down all the walls. It is said part of the original school building makes up the walls of the WPA gymnasium. This building had the only stage in town and was used for plays as well as many a graduating class ceremonies."
  3. A growing interest in astronomy,, 5 April 2019: "Now in its fourth year, the Astronomical Lyceum has been a destination for both amateur and professional astronomers, thanks to efforts by astronomer John Briggs, who took over the 1936 WPA gymnasium on Main Street to house his vast collection of telescopes in addition to a wealth of resource material ... 'We're also fortunate to have electronics engineer and imager Eric Toops right next door' ... Toops has already set up a small dome observatory on a concrete pad in the former school's courtyard..."
  4. Telescope Museum in New Mexico,, accessed 9 July 2019: "I just discovered this nice thread with kind words that includes pictures of the place I have in Magdalena, New Mexico, a village of about 700 people near the VLA radio telescope. I'm sorry I didn't see the thread to comment earlier. Yes indeed, friends and I have something of a telescope museum here. By most standards our location is remote. The building is a 1936 WPA project school gymnasium, about 7,500 square feet, that had been inactive about five years before I got it some three years ago. It has a stage and several large side rooms. We call it The Astronomical Lyceum."
  5. Kathryn A. Flynn, Public Art and Architecture in New Mexico 1933-1943: A guide to the New Deal Legacy, Sunstone Press (2012), p.94. Flynn also points out, on p.339, that Magdalena was the site of CCC Company 3834 (DG-42-N).