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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.

Organ Mountains
These majestic mountains rise out of the desert to the east of Mesilla, Photo by Chris Rogers

Organ Mountains
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.  


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Billy the Kid Gift Shop
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     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.


                THE 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.

All Months Friday and Sunday Arts, crafts, and seasonal produce
     Market on the plaza 11:00am-4:00pm
February 2, Race for the Cure 5K
February 9, For the Love of Art
                     Cupid's Chase 5K 
February 16 1:30pm Senior Olympic statewide torch relay
March 16th-17th, Bellas Artes
                     Artisan Show
April 27th
        British Car Show
May 4th and th
        Cinco de  Mayo Fiesta
        May 15th, Ride of Silence
June every Friday Summer Music
June 2, Race for the Cure 5K
June 15th, Raft the Rio
Juy every Friday Summer Music
July 4th, Fourth of July Celebration
  September 14-15 (Saturday-Sunday) 
      Diez y Seis de Septiembre Fiesta
  September every Sunday Mariachi Sundays    
October 5-6 (Saturday-Sunday)
      Mesilla Jazz Happening
      On the Plaza
October 12th
        Los Leones de Mesilla
        Car Show
October 26, Halloween Carnival
November 1-3- Dia de Los Muertos 
November 8-10 Native American
 November 11 Veterans Day Ceremony     
November 16 "El Tratado de La Mesilla"
December 6  Lighting of the Christmas Tree
December 24th, lighting of the  Luminarias
          On the Plaza
additional information about any event, please email us at info@mesilla.com


Henry Mc Carty, alias Henry Antrium, alias William H. Bonney alias Billy the Kid, lived a very short life , but made his place in history.  
Billy the Kid and many outlaws contributed to the wild side of Mesilla.  He was often seen in the bars or dances in town.  In 1881 Billy the Kid was tried in the building which is now the Billy the Kid gift shop on the southeast corner of the plaza.  He was sentenced to hang for the murder of Sheriff Brady. He was taken to Lincoln, New Mexico where on April 28th he escaped killing two deputies.  Finally on July 14th, Sheriff Pat Garrett shot him in the Fort Sumner ranch home of Billy's friend Pete Maxwell.  Be certain not to miss the Courthouse Building in Mesilla.  People say he still haunts this historic building on the southeast corner of the plaza.  

Mesilla Plaza

THE HISTORIC OLD MESILLA PLAZA The Mesilla Plaza originally was given to the Mesilla Colony Grant Board which owned it for many years.  Now the plaza with its gazebo is registered as a national monument. As the center of the community, it has witnessed many events.  The strongly religious community of Mesilla revolves around San Albino, the Catholic church on the plaza.  It has witnessed the wild side of the town.  Lawlessness and bloodshed went unchecked in the early days.  Many outlaws and rustlers walked the streets.  Politics often caused bloodshed in those days.  In 1871, both Democrats and Republicans decided to parade on the plaza.  As each had a band, it was called the bloody "Battle of the Bands."  This political fight left nine dead and many wounded.  Today people of the town enjoy concerts and fiestas on the plaza. Enjoy an ice cream or cold drink while you sit and enjoy the sights and sounds of the beautiful Mesilla Plaza.