|Dancers on the Mesilla Plaza
We invite you to step back in time to one of the oldest and most unique settlements
of southern New Mexico. Located off I-10, it is nestled in the Mesilla Valley on the banks of the Rio Grande.
Mesilla has been a part of the Kingdom of Spain, Mexico, the Republic of Texas, the Confederacy, and finally the United States
of America. Mesilla has a rich history filled with prehistoric cultures, Spanish explorers, Apache raids, the
civil war, and the wild west. Pancho Villa and Billy the Kid walked the streets. The famous trial of Billy
the Kid was held here and the Democrats and Republicans had a bloody showdown on the plaza. It was the Confederate
capital of Arizona and New Mexico during the Civil War. The Gadsden Purchase finally brought Mesilla into the United
States. Many residents are direct descendants of the original settlers. Today Mesilla is a part of living history.
Great care has been given to preserve the original adobe buildings and the beautiful plaza. People from all over the world
stop to experience the history, art, architecture, quaint shopping, and unique dinning that Mesilla has to offer.
|These majestic mountains rise out of the desert to the east of Mesilla, Photo by Chris Rogers
The majestic Organ Mountains rise out of the desert east of Mesilla. They resemble a giant
organ with organ pipes extending into the air. These sheer shafts of granite rise up more than 9,000 feet from the desert
floor. The highest elevation is the Organ Needle at 9,012 feet. They have been called the
stately guardians of the Mesilla Valley.
|The New Mexico Flag
THE FLAG OF NEW MEXICO
is a unique flag with a red zia on a field of Spanish gold. The zia is the symbol of the sun that
shines over the state. The four sets of four bars are set at right angles to each other. The center two bars are longer
than the outside bars. The first bar represents the four winds or the four directions; north, south, east, and west.
The second bar represents the four stages of life; childhood, youth, adulthood, and the senior years. The third bar represents
the four parts of the day; morning, noon, evening, and night. The last bar represents the four seasons; spring, summer,
winter, and fall. The bars are joined by a circle of life which has no beginning and no end.
|For more information, click on this picture
|Billy the Kid Gift Shop
|Click on the picture for more information
BILLY THE KID GIFT SHOP is located in the Old Courthouse building on the corner of the plaza.
The old courthouse is one of the most historic buildings on the plaza. A trip through it is an absolute must.
Take some time to look at the old vigas and latillas. The viagas are the large wooden beams which support the roof.
The latillas are the stripped branches which are layered between the vigas. This old adobe building has it's original
18 inch walls made of mu bricks. If you will notice it is always cool in the summer and warm in the winter.
This historical building was built early in Mesilla's history. Narciso Valencia sold it in 1859 to Zanobia
Madrid, wife of Ernest Angerstien. They ran a store on the property. It is said to have housed the state capital
when Mesilla was the capital of the Arizona Territory. Local tales also tell of men working out the details of the Gadsden
Purchase in this old building. After the Civil War, the county used the building as the County Courthouse and jail until
1882. It wAs here that Billy the Kid was tried and sentenced to hang on April 13, 1881. He was taken back to the
courthouse in Lincoln where he escaped. Later he met death at the hands of Pat Garrett, who was one of Dona Ana's pioneer
sheriffs. Some say the ghost of Billy the Kid still lives in this building. At one time this building held a courthouse,
jail and school at the same time. It is said that children would be let out of school before a hanging so they would
not see it. In 1905 Florencio C. Lopez family bought the property and opened a bar and a billiard hall until 1913.
Take some time to browse through the interesting gift shop which now resides in this building. Try to listen
to the secrets of history which these walls contain.
TOWN OF MESILLA has always been one of the most colorful and
historical towns in southwestern New Mexico. Travelers have enjoyed this beautiful place for years. In early times
the Indian and Conquistadors used it as a camping place. It was an overnight stop in the days of the stagecoach.
The economy of Mesilla boomed until 1881 when the railroad wanted to go through Mesilla. The people decided not to allow
the "Iron Horse" to pass through their property. Instead the people of Las Cruces decided to let it come through
their town. At this point Las Cruces began to grow and Mesilla remained a small village. When this happened the
county seat was moved from Mesilla to Las Cruces. Today a variety of visitors from many places enjoy strolling through
this beautiful, peaceful town. Come visit and enjoy this quaint monument to the past.