Bev Taylor speaks on behalf of her husband, State Rep. Thomas Taylor, R-Farmington, during the History makers Hall of Fame program on Saturday at the
Bev Taylor speaks on behalf of her husband, State Rep. Thomas Taylor, R-Farmington, during the History makers Hall of Fame program on Saturday at the Farmington Civic Center. Scott Michlin served as the program's master of ceremony. (Jon Austria The Daily Times )

Farmington— From a doctor in the late 1800s to a current politician, five members of the community were inducted into Farmington's History Makers Hall of Fame on Saturday.

The five community members, who were chosen based on eras, were honored in a ceremony at the Farmington Civic Center. Family members accepted plaques on behalf on the three late inductees.

Dr. John Brown was chosen from the Pioneer Era, 1890 to 1920. Brown moved to Farmington in 1879 and became a doctor. He picked up the Diné language from the workers on his homestead.

Thomas Taylor
Thomas Taylor (Courtesy of History Makers Hall of Fame)

His knowledge of the language helped him when he was chosen to be a community arbitrator. In one instance, cowboys killed a Navajo youth. Fearing a massacre in revenge, Farmington residents called on Brown to help solve the dispute. The cowboy who killed the youth was handed over to the Navajo, and a crisis was adverted.

Russell Allen was selected to represent Farmington's Formative Era, 1920 to 1950.

His son, Larry Allen, described his father as hardworking.

"He worked day and night running those theaters," he said.

Russell Allen took over his family's theater business in 1945, after returning from serving in the U.S. Army. While in the Army, one of his assignments was running projectors and movies for the other soldiers.

In 1912, the original Allen Theater was constructed at the site of what is now Three Rivers Art Center on Allen Avenue. In 1930, the family built a new theater at its current location on Main Street. The theater burned down in the 1940s due to the highly explosive nitrate film the projectionists were using, Larry Allen said.

Russell Allen
Russell Allen (Courtesy of History Makers Hall of Fame)

Because that happened during World War II, there wasn't steel available to put in the walls. Instead, the family used old car bodies, Larry Allen said.

The inductee for the Growth Era -- 1951 to 1970 -- was Charlie Keller, who, while serving in the U.S. Air Force, saw a soldier celebrating being able to return home to "God's country" -- Farmington.

In 1961, after retiring from the Air Force, Keller moved his family to Farmington, where he had already purchased land. Shortly after that, he began teaching at Farmington High School. He taught throughout San Juan County until 1982, when he started a career as a real estate agent.

Charlie Keller
Charlie Keller (Courtesy of History Makers Hall of Fame)

"He lived in his own idealist world," said Keller's son-in-law, David Ewing,

Mary Lou Jacobs, who was the inductee for Farmington's Maturing Era -- 1971 to 1990 -- was the only one of the inductees present to accept her award.

"This is very humbling, and I appreciate it very much," Jacobs said as her acceptance speech. "I love this town."

Jacobs has volunteered in various aspects of the community, from helping rape victims to working with local girl and boy scouts.

"It's your faith. It's your family. A lot of it has to do with your family," Jacobs said, of why she chose to serve in the community. "And I love this community."

State Rep. Tom Taylor, a Republican from Farmington, was the final inductee for the Modern Era, which is 1991 to present day. After he was elected mayor of Farmington in 1986, he helped to get a high-speed fiber optic line installed from Albuquerque to Grand Junction, Colo.

Taylor was unable to accept the award in person because he was in Washington at an energy school for elected officials. His wife, Bev Taylor, accepted the award on his behalf and praised the community of Farmington.

"It is a community of service," Bev Taylor said.

Hannah Grover covers news, arts and religion for The Daily Times. She can be reached at 505-564-4652 and hgrover@daily-times.com. Follow her @hmgrover.