Defiance Coal Company
"The first steam-operating railroad museum in the U.S.A."
The mining of coal in Gallup, New Mexico began in 1882 when the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad reached the recently incorporated town. The Defiance Coal Company owned a parcel of land about six miles west of Gallup that contained about 320 acres of coal. Although mining in this Mentmore region began in 1914 the Defiance Coal Company purchased their mine in 1919 and George Kaseman of Albuquerque operated it until March 28, 1952.
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Defiance Coal Company Locomotive No. 2 leaving the mine yard with loaded "pit cars" on March 28, 1952. This was the final run of the Defiance Coal Company mining operations. [R. L. Welch Collection]
In late December of 1952, Dr. Groman was driving west with his family when he noticed the Porter locomotive No. 1 for sale one block away from Route 66 in the city of Gallup, NM. He was intrigued by the history of narrow gauge railroads in the west and now contemplated the idea to acquire a narrow gauge locomotive. He continued his trip west to Alamosa, NM where he met Robert Richardson. Richardson had acquired narrow gauge railroad equipment from the Denver and Rio Grande Railroad for his Narrow Gauge Museum and Motel [later to be moved to Golden and renamed the Colorado Railroad Museum]. He alerted Dr. Groman that it was not easy to acquire said equipment at the time. If Dr. Groman wanted a narrow gauge locomotive Richardson recommended that he purchase the one in Gallup.
The Defiance Coal Company made its last run on March 28, 1952. The engineer was Jim Clark and a young Gallup resident, Ronald L. Welch, was the fireman. In 1966, Welch detailed the complete history of the Defiance Coal Company in the New Mexico Railroader for the Railroad Club of New Mexico. The brief description above was taken from Welch's research (with his permission).
Michael Pryzianzza poses on the running board of Locomotive No. 1 shortly after it arrived in Lacona, NY from Gallup, NM. The baggage car behind the locomotive contains 10 ore cars from the Gibson Coal Company in Gallup, NM. [RCHM Collection]
Bob and Stan pose with their father Dr. Groman and Bert Cresto on No. 1 in Gallup, N.M. in December, 1952. [RCHM Photo Collection]