Sally Noe: Gallup, New Mexico Historian, Tour Guide

Gallup, New Mexico Gallup, New Mexico historian, Sally Noe
Introduction

The “Greatest Generation” got the name because of the hardships they lived through during the Great Depression and the service and community they demonstrated during World War II. Gallup, New Mexico resident Sally Noe is part of this generation and has shown those great attributes during her lifetime. She is known for giving Downtown Gallup walking tours as well as being the expert local historian. If you want to know something about Gallup, New Mexico she would be the one to ask.

Perry Null Trading:

Are you a lifetime resident of Gallup?

Sally Noe:

No, I missed it by one month. My father worked for JcPenny and they moved him from Kansas City, MO to Gallup, NM in 1926. My mother was pregnant with me, so after I was a month old we moved to Gallup, missed it by a month.

Perry Null Trading:

Did they keep your father in Gallup?

Sally Noe:

It was the Great Depression and if you had a job you kept it. JCPenny moved him every two years, so we moved to Albuquerque and Bisbee, AZ. The Depression was ending and JCPenny wanted to move my father again. He was tired of moving around and accepted a position with Swinford Clothing Store in Gallup.

Perry Null Trading:

So you started school in Gallup and graduated from there?

Sally Noe:

Yes, I graduated from Gallup High School in 1942 at 16 years old.

Perry Null Trading:

Did you live close to downtown?

Sally Noe:

Everyone lived close to downtown. Gallup only had a population of around 2,000 people when I was growing up.

Perry Null Trading:

I always thought of it as a bigger community?

Sally Noe:

All around Gallup you had coal mines. At one time 27 producing coal mines and each one had its own little community of miners. So, it felt like more people in the area because of the coal, but Gallup only had around 2,000 people.

Perry Null Trading:

How many stores did JCPenny have in New Mexico in the 1920s?

Sally Noe:

Gallup was the first community in New Mexico that had a JCPenny store. Because of all the mines and miners it was the best town to do business in New Mexico.

Perry Null Trading:

After graduation did you get married?

Sally Noe:

I was going with a boy that was from Gallup, Robert (Bob) Noe. He served for the Navy during World War II and I was very close to his family.

Perry Null Trading:

Did you marry before he went to war?

Sally Noe:

No, we married on August 14th, 1945. That was the day War World II ended. I always tell the story I went into the church when the war was still going and came out when it was over.

Perry Null Trading:

Did you plan that?

Sally Noe:

No, we married at a Methodist Church in Raliegh, NC where Bob was stationed. They required you what 3 days before you are allowed to get married, and it just happened the third day was the last day of World War II.

Perry Null Trading:

What did you do while the War was happening?

Sally Noe:

I would substitute teach at the mine camps around Gallup. Back then each mine camp had its own school. That meant lots of schools. I would also help Bob’s mother at C.G. Wallace’s store during the summer.

Perry Null Trading:

Did you enjoy working with your mother in law and arts?

Sally Noe:

My passion was teaching and I eventually completed my teaching degree in 1976. Kathy Noe was a good businesswoman and ran the shop very well. She would eventually open her own shop and be in competition with C.G. Wallace. At that time I can’t think of another woman trader.

Perry Null Trading:

How did you ever begin your Downtown Walking Tours?

Sally Noe:

When I worked in the C.G. Wallace store, tourists would come in and ask about the community. So I started walking them around town and showing them the old buildings and the history associated with them.

Perry Null Trading:

You have always been an advocate for Gallup, could you imagine not living here?

Sally Noe:

Bob and I lived in Morenci, AZ after the War. His father owned a commercial painting company and fell off a ladder. Bob decided to come back and run his business. He came home one night and told me he was going back to Gallup and asked if I was going to come with him.

Perry Null Trading:

How many children did you raise here?

Sally Noe:

Three, two of them still live here and the other in central New Mexico.

Perry Null Trading:

Thank you

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