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Focus Regional Winter 2021 | Watching Over the Trinity

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If a town has any age to it whatsoever, you can count on a few hair-raising ghost stories from its historic spaces drifting through local conversation.

One of Carlsbad’s best tales of a local spook is the Trinity Hotel and Restaurant’s Miss Ruby. Once employed at the Eddy bank long before New Mexico became a state, Miss Ruby now loves to view the hustle and bustle of the Trinity Restaurant from the vantage point of the second story balcony. Known as a mostly benevolent spirit, the staff reports that Ruby will abruptly change the music playing if it is not to her liking and whisper their names throughout the building before doors open for business for the evening.
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When Carlsbad was still the town of Eddy, New Mexico, before the turn of the 20th century, the local hotel and restaurant, the Trinity, was the headquarters of the Pecos Valley Land & Ditch Company as well as a bank. The two-story building, home to the First National Bank, housed hardscrabble frontier dollars and served as the office of Sheriff Pat Garrett who would become famous for apprehending the local outlaw Billy the Kid. While Miss Ruby’s history is not well documented in the bank’s historic records, she remains a presence in today’s community. Beyond her unnerving pranks at the Trinity, she is part of the region’s unique patchwork of folklores and legends, important to developing its identity. Miss Ruby represents that bygone era when life in the desert wasn’t the home of the Cavemen and Cavegirls, Cavern City, or the Pearl of the Pecos. She is a reminder of the distant past when the town first established roots, and Carlsbad looked to begin as a community.

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The legend of Miss Ruby can be read in detail in the book Haunted Hotels and Ghostly Getaways of New Mexico by Donna Blake Birchell. The city’s name change from Eddy to Carlsbad and subsequent identity shifts are also discussed in Birchell’s book. To read the encounters of other guests to the Trinity, book a room and stay the night to read the guest books in each room of the hotel.

Article written by Kaity Hirst and originally published in Focus Regional 2021 Winter edition.

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