ABIQUIU, N.M. (KRQE) – Rain has pounded a New Mexico treasure leaving the Ghost Ranch, a well-known tourist spot, in shambles.
First came the rain and then the flood waters.
In just moments the Ghost Ranch, a retreat center tucked away in the hills of northern New Mexico where Georgia O’Keefe once painted, was destroyed.
“All of the scrap metal is washed out of the storage area and thrown up against those trees,” said Ghost Ranch Executive Director Debra Hepler.
Raging waters wiped out four of the ranch’s art studios. Some of them were built in the 1970’s.
“I knew it would be bad, but I had no idea that it would be this damaging,” said Hepler. “I had no idea the destruction it would have caused.”
“The winds with it were so strong, so it was just like a hurricane blowing, pushing you, you know,” said visitor Emily Caird.
Emily Caird has been visiting the ranch every summer for the last decade.
Caird and her friend Fran and her service dog had to be evacuated from one of the collapsing buildings.
“We grabbed our fanny packs and our backpacks and rushed out,” said Caird.
When they got out of the building.
“We came outside to get into the car and right behind coming up to the building behind us was this tremendous rushing stream with big logs just churning along,” said Caird.
The flood waters also swept away thousands of dollars worth of art supplies.
“One of our instructors had a truck full of equipment and tools and it was just washed down the arroyo,” said Hepler.
The keepsakes and memories made while working in the now destroyed studios were swept away too.
“It’s just a mud flat. It’s just really really sad,” said Caird.
FEMA is assessing the destruction at the Ghost Ranch.
Officials said there’s upwards of $500,000 worth of damage.
There were about 400 people at the ranch when the storm rolled through on Tuesday. No one was injured.