Talon News - Good Local News

By Pilar Owens



September 21, 2018


Photo and story by Pilar Owens, TALON

In 1963 a gal named Bonnie fed an army of workers from January to April. The workers (local volunteers) built the nearly 20 mile Navajo Dam Road. This feat earned Aztec one of seven All-American City awards for 1963 from the National Municipal League.

"So I guess the moral of the story is the legacy of Bonnie Walls is inspiration," said Susan Aguirre with a glint in her eye, "one person can make a difference." Aguirre, of Lil Aztec Flower Shop, wanted a mural on the electric box near the shop because, "Murals seem to get (people) to stop and walk Main." After reading about Walls in Marilu Waybourn's book Images of Aztec, Aguirre decided to make Walls the subject of the mural. Aguirre had an idea, all she needed was an artist.

Artist Richard Yazzie works in many mediums, and told TALON in a recent phone interview that he especially likes doing portraits. He stopped in Aztec on his way to Silverton to sell Anasazi pot replicas he'd made. In Ava Azul salon on Main Street he met Kezhia Alexander. After talking for awhile and showing her a picture of an eagle he'd done, Alexander sent Yazzie to Aguirre. She hired him.

With the occasional help of his son Kyron Yazzie, and using Aguirre's inspiration, Yazzie painted an eagle on the north side of the box, an oil well on the south side, Bonnie Wall's portrait on the east side, and Bonnie Rock on the west side.

Bonnie Rock is a stone pinnacle that the builders of Navajo Dam Road used as a landmark. There used to be a sign near Bonnie Rock that read, "In Honor Of Bonnie Walls All American Citizen of Aztec, New Mexico. Without Her Help And Undying Spirit This Road Would Have Been More Difficult To Build."

"And the question begs," said Aguirre, "what can you do for Aztec?"


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