With the conclusion of the Branigan Cultural Center exhibit The Lost Buildings of Las Cruces, Christopher Schurtz, will host a presentation of photographs of Urban Renewal-era downtown Las Cruces taken by local historian and pilot Morrie Drexler. The presentation is Saturday, September 28 at 1 p.m. at Branigan Cultural Center and is free and open to the public.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s, Drexler took a series of color aerial photographs of Las Cruces before and after Urban Renewal, a program that led to the destruction of hundreds of downtown buildings and irreplaceable city landmarks. Drexler was also able to photograph the exterior and interior of one of those landmarks, St. Genevieve’s Catholic Church, just before it was torn down in late 1967. These photographs have never been published, and offer rarely-seen views of a downtown Las Cruces that is long gone.
A retired electrical engineer, Drexler played a pivotal role in locating and identifying numerous bombing targets west of Las Cruces that were used for aerial training during World War II. Local historian and writer Christopher Schurtz, M.A. is the guest curator of Lost Buildings of Las Cruces.
The Branigan Cultural Center is located at 501 N. Main Street. Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday from 9am to 4:30pm. For more information, contact the Branigan Cultural Center at (575) 541-2154 or visit the Center’s web site at las-cruces.org/museums.