Railroad Depots / Lamy New Mexico

 

lamy new mexico train depot

Lamy New Mexico train depot

Among the list of old railroad depots with historic significance, and there are many, is the train station at scenic Lamy New Mexico. Lamy is located about 20 miles southeast of Santa Fe and was a key stop on the old Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad main line. At one point there were four passenger trains each day making a stop at Lamy. The Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad was the driving force for the development of tourism in both Santa Fe and much of New Mexico.

One of the reasons that the Lamy railroad depot was so important to the AT & SF, aside from the tourism value, was the fact that it was the connection point to Santa Fe itself. The AT & SF Railroad main line was not built up to it’s namesake city because it was decided based on topographical considerations during the rail line survey that constructing the tracks up the grade to Santa Fe would be disadvantageous. The elevation of Santa Fe is about 1500 feet higher than Lamy.

atchison topeka and santa fe railroad station

Old AT & SF Railroad Lamy train station

The route of the railroad in that section ran from Las Vegas New Mexico southwestward to Albuquerque. If the main line was to build directly to Santa Fe it would have veered to the northwest, adding significant mileage, and would have had to allow for the elevation difference. While the main line railroad was not extended to Santa Fe, a spur line was built up the grade to serve the capital city of the New Mexico Territory. The spur line was built with bond money raised by citizens of Santa Fe and the spur was operated as the Santa Fe Railway.

Where settlement where the spur line met the AT & SF main line in 1880 was named Galisteo Junction.The name of Galisteo Junction was changed to Lamy in honor of Archbishop Jean-Baptiste Lamy, the first Archbishop of Santa Fe in 1875. The site was in the middle of what was called the Lamy Land Grant which was acreage taken in trust by the Catholic church. According to LamyMuseum.org, the settlement had it’s first postmaster in March of 1881. The first railroad depot in Lamy was also built in 1881. This was a two story wood frame structure that was changed into a freight depot when the new brick constructed Lamy railroad station opened in 1909.

Author Marci L. Riskin, in the book The Train Stops Here: New Mexico’s Railway Legacy, points out that like in most other new railroad towns, an entire list of characters gravitated to Lamy including gamblers, swindlers and con men of all sorts. The sheriff of Santa Fe came to Lamy many times to arrest people. Lamy however was known to be a respectable community by 1889.

Another interesting fact about the small settlement of Lamy was that in 1886 Fred Harvey built one of his popular Harvey Houses just to the east of the train station. The Harvey House was named El Ortiz and was constructed in gray-stucco with protruding vigas. The architect for the El Ortiz was Louis Curtiss of Kansas City and the interior designed by Harvey Company designer Mary Colter. Mary Colter is also known for her fine design work on the beautiful La Posada, the Harvey House hotel in Winslow Arizona. The El Ortiz had ten rooms and the staff consisted of the famous Harvey Girls in their black and white uniforms. Fred Harvey and the Atchison Topeka & Santa Fe would become very significant in southwestern hospitality during the future years. In the area nearby Santa Fe there would be several hotels and eateries connected with Fred Harvey.

Two additional related articles we’ve published that you’ll find interesting are the La Castaneda Harvey House in Las Vegas New Mexico and the story of the old Harvey House La Fonda Hotel in Santa Fe.

amtrak southwest chief

Amtrak's Southwest Chief at Lamy New Mexico

The La Fonda Hotel in Santa Fe, the La Castaneda in Las Vegas New Mexico, the Alvarado Harvey House in Albuquerque and the only Harvey House eatery built on an Indian reservation on the Santa Clara Pueblo at Puye Cliffs about twenty-nine miles northwest of Santa Fe. The Harvey Company’s Indian Detours sightseeing cars made regular visits to Santa Clara Pueblo. Fortunately, the stone structure of this Harvey House is still preserved and is visited by the thousands of tourists annually at Puye Cliffs. Unfortunately, in the cases of the El Ortiz in lamy and the Alvarado in Albuquerque, both were eventually torn down. The El Ortiz in 1943 and the Alvarado in 1970.

The Santa Fe Railway stopped operations on the eighteen mile spur line in 1926. The year 1926 coincided with the establishment of Route 66 and ushered in the era of mass auto travel. While train travel still remained quite popular for several years to come, the transportation of passengers from Lamy to Santa Fe was handled by motor vehicle.

Today, the train depot in Lamy is alive and well and welcomes one passenger train a day from the east and one from the west. The station handles passenger traffic for Amtrak’s Southwest Chief which travels between Chicago Illinois and Los Angeles California. Passengers today traveling to Santa Fe on the Southwest Chief avail themselves of scheduled van transportation for the short drive up to Santa Fe. Many people who travel to northern New Mexico and Santa Fe also add Lamy to their vacation trip planner. In addition to being located in a very scenic area, Lamy’s AT & SF depot relates the story of when the railroad came to New Mexico Territory’s capitol.

(Photos from author’s private collection)

Route 66 and Vintage Cars

The Road

1959 corvette

1959 Corvette

There may be no other highway in the United States that is as nostalgic as the old Route 66. This was the ‘Mother Road‘, the great highway to the southwest that offered adventure and new landscapes. It was a highway that called out to those wanting to see and experience new places. From Chicago Illinois to Santa Monica California, this new highway would be the trail of the 20th century pioneers. In fact, Route 66 had been in existence for only about ten years when thousands of people took to it’s road heading out of the 1930’s dust bowl to California. It was the highway taken west by the people that the author John Steinbeck wrote about in The Grapes of Wrath. The road, to many, led to a new start in life.

Improvements and Realignments

Route 66 came about at the time that the federal government decided to use a numbered highway system. The route itself was cobbled together from many existing roads and trails, many unpaved. It would be years later that the entire route was a paved highway. Topography changed dramatically when the route entered New Mexico. Route 66 in New Mexico as an example, follows the traditional east-west transportation route through the state. It travels through the center of the state along the 35th Parallel. The topography of this route had always presented special challenges to New Mexican road builders even before the coming of Route 66 in 1926. New Mexico’s elevation along this route changes quite a lot. You’re looking at elevations of about 3,800 feet near the border with Texas to over 7,200 feet at the Continental Divide near Thoreau New Mexico. During the time of unmechanized road building where work was done by humans and animals, the construction was difficult to say the least. Unlike the plains states, the New Mexico route consisted of climbs, descents and switchbacks. In the original New Mexico alignment, the La Bajada Hill switchbacks south of Santa Fe presented one of the biggest challenges.

New Mexico Route 66 became fully modernized during the Great Depression. It was in this era that the government spent massive amounts of money to infrastructure projects. Route 66 improvements of course were just one example. The coast highway in California, Hwy 1, also saw enormous construction dollars spent with the building of a series of concrete spanned bridges.

ford thunderbird car

1957 Ford Thunderbird

The original Route 66 went through several realignments during it’s earlier lifetime. Most were minor but a few were major. One major realignment took place when the highway bypassed the city of Santa Fe New Mexico. It’s an interesting story exactly how and why that came about. One version portrays the decision as purely political having to do with a lost gubernatorial race. Another has more to do with cutting down mileage, which in fact it did. Rather than the roadway heading northwest to Santa Fe, it was realigned in a relatively straight east-west line from Tucumcari to Albuquerque. This is pretty much how today’s Interstate 40 runs now.

The Arizona Segment

Many people today feel that the best remaining stretch of old Route 66 on a scenic standpoint runs through a part of northern Arizona. In the western part of the state, between about Seligman and the Colorado River lies about 165 miles of the original Route 66. In the eastern part of Arizona, Route 66 generally In Kingman Arizona, Route 66 still remains it’s Main Street. Another example is Williams Arizona, about due south of the Grand Canyon. While Interstate 40 runs directly past Williams, the old Route 66 still travels through the center of town. In the eastern part of the state, Route 66 generally goes off and on Interstate 40. It’s the western part of the Arizona where the old highway goes off and assumes it’s original route. Many people who travel through the western part of Arizona, if time permits, exit Interstate 40, and take this historic and scenic old route.

You’ll also want to see our site AutoMuseumOnline that has a gallery of vintage and classic car and truck photos along with their history.

California, Oklahoma and Missouri Route 66

1955 ford fairlane sunliner

1955 Ford Fairlane Sunliner

When you enter California today from Needles on the Colorado River, the route today through the Mojave Desert to Barstow is much about Interstate 40. With that said, there is a particularly good old Route 66 museum located in Barstow California. Located at 681 N. First Avenue, the museum is open free to the public.The museum is named “The Route 66 Mother Road” Museum. Opened in the year 2000, it’s located in the historic Casa del Desierto, which was the old Harvey House in Barstow. Here you will find all kinds of Route 66 artifacts as well as a lot about the desert communities Route 66 passed through. Some of the best points on old Route 66, in addition to the western Arizona stretch, are found at the very western end of the road near the Los Angeles area. Los Angeles was actually the original terminus of Route 66 until it was lengthened to Santa Monica right on the Pacific Ocean. What is amazing in California is that some 95% of the original highway is reported still drivable. There are several additional first class Route 66 museums spread along the old route. One is the Oklahoma Route 66 Museum in Clinton Oklahoma. Another is the National Transportation and Route 66 Museum in Elk City Oklahoma. Another interesting one is the Route 66 Museum in Kingman Arizona. The Kingman museum is located in the “heart” of the longest “remaining stretch” of the 2400 miles that was Route 66.If you’re passing through Missouri there is a fine Route 66 Museum in Lebanon Missouri. Lebanon Missouri has the distinction of having one of the very first motels along Route 66. The name was Camp Joy and opened in the year 1927 as a tent camp. The initial rate for lodging at camp Joy was fifty cents per night.

Renewal Initiatives

An interesting side note is that California is one of the most active states in pushing for a renewal of Route 66. As an example, one group right now is promoting renaming Interstate 40 to “Route 66” between Needles and Barstow California. Whether that ever comes to be remains to be seen but the interest in preserving the heritage of this famous highway remains very strong. In New Mexico there has been an effort to restore the neon signs that were a trademark of Route 66’s heydays. So far, the efforts of this project has resulted in the restoration of nine classic neon signs in the communities of Tucumcari, Santa Rosa, Moriarty, Albuquerque, Grants, and Gallup. These towns and cities cover almost all of the old Route 66 from east to west through the state of New Mexico.

1955 ford fairlane

Ford Fairlane Sunliner

The entire Route 66 highway from Chicago to Santa Monica eventually filled with motels. The original mom and pop motels have almost all disappeared. Every so often I find out about one that is still in operation from the old days. In almost all cases ownership has certainly changed but there are two I’m aware of which have remained in business for decades and decades. One is located in Cuba Missouri named the Wagon Wheel Motel. The other one I’m aware of is the Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari New Mexico. No doubt that restorations and upgrades have taken place (such as air conditioning) but it’s remarkable that these two motels are still in existence after the Interstate highway system came into being. The Cuba Missouri motel dates back to the 1930’s and the Tucumcari motel to about 1941.

There are numerous Route 66 automobile clubs spread across the country and they are very active. Several of these clubs feature events where members travel Route 66, or at least some of the parts that currently remain, and enjoy the fun of driving on a scenic two lane highway and taking great pictures along the way. As the years pass by, interest in the old Route 66 heritage seems to keep increasing. Because this historic highway was such a part of so many people’s lives, I would expect this trend to continue.

(Photos are from author’s private collection)

Nevada City California and the Gambler Madame Mustache

When you travel high into the Sierra Nevada foothills between Sacramento and Donner Pass, the entire town of Nevada City California stands out as a living historic site of what was once a roaring gold mining camp and town. Nevada City stood apart from some of the other California gold towns. Nevada City in it’s heyday sported about three dozen saloons, many with beautiful mahogany and plate glass. There was another thing that Nevada City had. It was an incredibly successful, at least early in life, female gambler.

Famous National Hotel, Neveda City California

Gold Dust and the Frenchwoman / Enter Madame Dumont

Stepping off a stagecoach in 1854, Eleanore Dumont knew exactly why she came to Nevada City. Like other professional gamblers, Eleanore’s aim was to extract as much gold dust and nuggets from the miners as possible without actually mining herself. Interestingly enough, the professional gamblers collectively did an excellent job of doing just that.

In the history books, Madame Dumont is often referred to as Madame Mustache. This nickname apparently came about when a Californian who noticed a darkening line of Latin down on her upper lip used the term to describe her. For whatever reason, the name stuck and this was the nickname that Eleanore Dumont, the Frenchwoman gambler, was known as to many a gold miner.

Starting a New Gambling House

After hanging around Nevada City’s hotel for a few days, Madame Dumont set up a gambling parlor where she specialized in “vingt-et-un”, better known as Twenty One. The Madame excelled in dealing out the cards. She had gained much of her ability in San Francisco. She also excelled in producing happy losers. Probably a invaluable trait for a professional gambler.

Prospectors, working hard all day in the diggings looked forward to hanging out at Dumont’s gambling parlor because the proprietor was a woman. This was the era of the California gold mining towns where females in general were quite rare. Especially an unattached charming female, such as Dumont. A chance to spend time with one was not easily ignored. The story was that these miners actually cleaned up and dressed up before paying a visit to Madame Dumont. This in itself was quite rare for any Sierra Nevada gold miner to do. One’s attire was not an up front issue in the early 1850’s at a gold mining camp.

Success Had It’s Limits

Nevada City California Theater

Madame Eleanore Dumont had spent time previously in San Francisco where she came into contact with the more successful miners. She had a knack of understanding them and figured out what they liked and disliked.

It was probably with this educated knowledge that she journeyed to Nevada City to try her luck with her own establishment. Knowing your customer is one of the best attributes of any business owner and Madame Dumont was a master at it.

A perfect example of this is described in the book Anybody’s Gold by author Joseph Henry Jackson when he describes how she was able to actually make a man feel privileged to lose an entire weeks sifting of gold in her gambling parlor. After just one week in Nevada City, with the early success she experienced in relieving men of their money, Madame Dumont knew very well that she would remain in town for some time to come. All of her goals were unfolding like clockwork.

The built in problem that Dumont faced was that a dealer could operate only one table. Perhaps a half dozen gamblers at any one time would gamble at her single table. She knew well that there was much more of the miner’s gold to tap with more than one “Twenty One” table. She wanted more volume. As a result, Madame Dumont went into a partnership with a young professional gambler, a male.

The partnership worked quite well and business grew and additional games were added such as Keno and Chuck-A-Luck. Profits grew at a fast clip and this cash flow wasn’t lost to Dumont’s new male partner. The partner demanded more of the profits than he had originally agreed to. He pressed the issue with Dumont. For whatever reason, the Frenchwoman was determined that her partner would get not one dollar more than what they previously had agreed to. With that, the partnership dissolved, her partner taking whatever his then share was worth and left town. He not only left Nevada City but he traveled all the way to New York and ended up establishing his own very successful gambling house in that bustling city.

See our Trips Into History article on the link below…

A Visit to Old Town Sacramento CA

Time to Leave Nevada City

Nevada City California today

Madame Dumont’s luck in Nevada City California was starting to wane. It just so happened that her new one person gambling operation began at about the time that the easy pickings were starting to dry up in the surrounding area.

The dry diggings and the river mining were on a downtrend and quartz mining was starting to take over. The tremendous values to come out of the quartz mines would not be felt for a little while. With this backdrop, the Madame found herself in a transitional time for Nevada City. Her original scheme was to arrive in Nevada City at it’s peak, with her knowledge and charm, take as much gold from the miners as possible and then leave town. The year 1856 was when Madame Eleanore Dumont decided to leave Nevada City.

Whatever Happened to Madame Mustache?

The exact facts of what happened to Eleanore Dumont over the next twenty years of her life is not etched in granite. What is known comes in bits and pieces of stories shared among the gold miners and others all over the west.

The story is that Eleanore Dumont traveled a lot. She was reported seen in such far away places as Deadwood Dakota Territory, Virginia City Montana, Tombstone Arizona and the wild mining town of Bodie California. The story also contends that in Madame Dumont’s later years she resorted to prostitution to earn her living. It appears that it was at Bodie that Madame Mustache took her own life in 1879.

While Bodie was a well known wild mining town with it’s share of violence, it’s not as well known as some other western frontier mining towns because it didn’t have star characters such as Doc Holliday or the Earp’s. Madame Mustache could very well have been the most notorious female gambler to have ever stepped foot in both Nevada City and Bodie California. It’s one of those stories that could only have come out of the Gold Rush days.

(Article and photos copyright Trips Into History)

 

Theodore Roosevelt and His Maltese Cross Ranch

President Theodore Roosevelt is remembered for many things. Some of the more publicized were his involvement during the Spanish American War with the famous charge up San Juan Hill in Cuba, and the other, his close involvement in establishing and protecting national land. In the 1880’s in the North Dakota Badlands, Teddy Roosevelt would carve out an image that would serve him his entire life.

Getting Into the Ranching Business

Aside from the fact that western ranching was all the rage among eastern and foreign investors, Teddy Roosevelt was attracted to it for much more than financial reasons. In 1883 he originally traveled to the Dakota Badlands to hunt buffalo. Before he left the area he acquired a major interest in the Maltese Cross Ranch. In fact, he bought the ranch after being in the area for just two weeks. The Dakota Badlands was quite attractive to Roosevelt. To be sure, he did want to make a go at western ranching and he did hope it would be profitable.

Maltese Ranch cabin

Beyond a doubt, his acquiring the ranch had as much to do with living the western life as it did with trying to turn a profit. Roosevelt was independently wealthy. According to the book Cattle Kings, author Lewis Atherton describes the partnership Roosevelt entered into with his Maltese Cross Ranch. Roosevelt at first had two partners, Sylvane Ferris and William Merrifield. Both were honest men but the problem was that they knew about as much as Roosevelt did about cattle ranching, which was very little. Teddy asked his two partners to build a ranch house in addition to the cabin which was on the site. They constructed a one and one-half story cabin complete with a shingled roof and root cellar. Constructed of durable Ponderosa pine logs, the cabin was considered somewhat a kind of mansion in its day,

By having his two partners operating the Maltese Cross, Roosevelt was able to return to New York City and attend to his other affairs. He did however return to the ranch fairly often. The Dakota Badlands was never too far from his mind. On a return visit in 1885, Teddy acquired a second property, The Elkhorn Ranch. Interestingly, to help operate the Elkhorn Ranch, Roosevelt installed tow of his hunting guides from Maine who also knew nothing about western ranching. The ranches ended up losing money for Teddy. Author Lewis Atherton asserts that Teddy may have lost less money if he had taken more advice from his rookie partners.

What the West Did For Roosevelt

Regardless of the fact that the ranches ended up to be losing propositions, His ranching experience did improve his health and vigor and at the same time he acquired a new appreciation of conservation. The rugged life in the Dakota Territory helped shape his overall image from that of a wealthy eastern gentleman to that of an outdoors man, adventurer and in a way a cowboy. This image would carry on with Roosevelt for the remainder of his life. Teddy Roosevelt at one time after being made President of the United States was quoted as saying…”I would not have been the President, had it not been for my experience in North Dakota”.

In the very interesting book, Trailing the Loghorns, by author Sue Flanagan, she describes the circumstances of Roosevelt’s ranching foray. After acquiring his ranch in 1883, he spent much of the next four years in Dakota Territory, his ranch having from three thousand to five thousand head of cattle on two different spreads around Medora Dakota Territory. Roosevelt wanted desperately to master the cowboy ways and through himself completely into that quest, after death in a single night took both his wife and his mother.

Wild Horses at Theodore Roosevelt National Park

All accounts relating to Roosevelt’s time in the Dakota Territory say that he was accepted by the area cowboys. Even with his strong Harvard accent and often times fancy outfits, he was well accepted. One of the best descriptions of how Teddy regarded the cowboy life is mentioned in Trailing the Longhorns. In a letter to his sister, he wrote…”I have been on the roundup for a fortnight and really enjoy the work greatly…we breakfast at three every morning and work from sixteen to eighteen hours a day, counting night guard; so I get pretty sleepy, but feel strong as a bear”. He later wrote in one of his publications…”We knew toil and hardship and hunger and thirst; and we saw men die violent deaths as they worked among the horses and cattle; but we felt the best of hardy life in our veins, and ours was the glory of work and the joy of living”. Being owner of the ranch, Roosevelt could have chosen easier tasks for himself during roundups, but he didn’t. He could have chosen the best and easiest to handle mount, but he didn’t. The book Cattle Kings suggests that by putting himself on the very same level as his working cowboys, Teddy gained their respect regardless of his high society eastern upbringing and the fact that he was one of the very few who had to wear eyeglasses. He also adapted to the code of the western community of not trying to force his own views and values on others. That trait alone was enough to gain local acceptance.

You will find our article on the Real Cowboys very interesting. The facts are quite different from what was written in many of the dime novels.

While Theodore Roosevelt made no real contributions to the ranching industry such as men like Jesse Chisholm and the Chisholm Trail and the famous Texas Panhandle rancher, Charles Goodnight, he did gain quite a lot himself from the experience. His writings testify to that fact. The gains Roosevelt made in the Dakota Badlands were certainly not financial. When Roosevelt sold off his Dakota ranches in 1898 it was estimated that he probably lost some $50,000 with the ventures.

Medora North Dakota Today

What remains today of the Maltese Cross Ranch is the three room cabin. It’s the cabin that Roosevelt stayed in during his first visit to his ranch. The cabin, which was once located about seven miles south of Medora is very symbolic. In 1959, the cabin was relocated to its present site and renovated. The most recent preservation work occurred in 2000. Prior to being moved to the Theodore Roosevelt National Park, the cabin had been moved many times.

Theodore Roosevelt and John Muir

While Theodore Roosevelt was President, the cabin was displayed at the World’s Fair in St. Louis. It was displayed at the Louis and Clark Centennial Exposition in Portland Oregon and it resided at one time on the state capitol grounds in Bismarck North Dakota. Today, the Theodore Roosevelt Maltese Cross Ranch cabin is located adjacent to the park’s South Unit Visitors Center.

What’s very unique about the Theodore Roosevelt National Park is that it not only is located where Teddy Roosevelt educated himself about the west, but it also is a symbol of the strong conservation views he held. One could argue that there was no other American president who did as much for the protection of public wild lands than Teddy Roosevelt. Roosevelt, along with his conservation chief, Gifford Pinchot, secured millions of acres of public lands for future generations. A good deal of this land is now in our National Parks and Monuments. Giffford Pinchot was noted for, while serving under Roosevelt, hiring and personally training the first Forest Service Rangers and became the first head of that organization. It would be an understatement to say that Teddy Roosevelt and Pinchot had a difficult time obtaining support from the forest and mining industries and their friends in Congress. Pinchot’s Forest Service had one of their biggest challenges during the Great Fire of 1910 which devastated towns and forest lands in Montana and surrounding states.Teddy Roosevelt also traveled to meet and discuss conservation efforts with John Muir, thought of as being America’s most famous conservationist of his era. John Muir was more of a preservationist than a conservationist. This led to some friction with Pinchot who was a conservationist. A conservationist will work with business interests to use resources wisely. A preservationist on the other hand believes that the forests and wild lands should be left alone period.

Theodore Roosevelt National Park

The Theodore Roosevelt National Park is divided into three units. The North Unit, South Unit and the Elkhorn Ranch Unit. The South Unit is entered from Medora North Dakota. Medora is located 133 miles west of Bismarck North Dakota. The North Unit entrance is along U.S. Highway 85, approximately 16 miles south of Watford City, ND and 50 miles north of Belfield, ND. The distance by road from Medora to the North Unit is approximately 70 miles.The Elkhorn Ranch Unit is located 35 miles north of Medora and is accessed by gravel roads. For those visiting the park on a western road trip, Interstate 94 goes right through the park and to Medora North Dakota which makes this historic site very easy to reach.

(Photos are from public domain)

 


Roswell UFO Festival / New Mexico

Most people know of Roswell New Mexico as being ground zero for the reported crash of an alien fling disc in July 1947. In fact, there is probably no other place on earth where an alien flying craft made history than outside of this town in southeastern New Mexico. The story of Roswell New Mexico and the events that reportedly occurred there more than sixty years ago seems to get bigger as each decade passes.

roswell new mexico ufo festival

Roswell UFO Parade

The thing that has always been debated about the Roswell UFO crash of 1947 was whether or not it really occurred. Immediately after the first local newspaper headlines confirming the crash, the army steadfastly denied that it happened. The official story from the military was that what crashed was a weather balloon. Needless to say, this version of events has been vehemently denied for the past sixty five years from all corners of the research world. The main issue that arose was, if indeed only a weather balloon crashed in 1947, then why was some of the highest ranking officers involved with the event. Why was the army’s top brass flown into Roswell New Mexico? Why was there so many armed guards present at the crash site and in front of the army airfield hangar? All this for a weather balloon crash in the New Mexico desert? In addition to this, as the years passed, there have been reported statements from both citizens and retired military that what crashed north of Roswell was indeed an alien spaceship or flying saucer.

The annual UFO Festival really has something to offer for everyone. The UFO Museum and Research Center is filled with interesting artifacts and first person stories of people who lived in Roswell at the time of the alleged crash in 1947. Out of all of the evidence presented at the UFO Museum and Research Center, the first person stories from people involved in some aspect of the incident are probably the most interesting artifacts of the era.The stories detailed at the museum come from reliable sources who would appear to have no real motive to make something up, especially during the latter years of their lives. Included is a reported statement made by the then Lt. Governor of New Mexico who allegedly was present in Roswell at the time of the incident.

Try our fun twenty-five question history quiz

Short Quiz

aliens roswell new mexico

Alien Costume Contest

During the festival itself, there are many presentations and panel discussions from UFO experts, authors and researchers from across the nation. During the 2012 Festival there were discussions ranging from what some of the involved military officers said about the incident later in life to presentations about alleged implants into humans from alien visitors. For sure, just about every aspect of the UFO incident in Roswell New Mexico was presented. You’ll be able to enjoy multimedia presentations about UFOs and related paranormal topics. Lectures and presentations were scheduled from June 28th through July 1st. Anyone questioning the events of June/July 1947 in Roswell should probably hold off judgement until they have a chance to visit the UFO Museum and look through the written evidence and exhibits. This of course can be done anytime during the year.

roswell festival parade

Childrens Parade in Roswell New Mexico

In addition to the above, festival goers can enjoy a unique, one of a kind, parade down Roswell’s main street and attend an alien costume contest. Also, a laser light show was presented at the Robert H. Goddard Planetarium located 100 W. 11th St. in Roswell.  If you’re looking for entertainment of a more earthly nature, you’ll enjoy the several bands and singing groups also highlighted on main street stages and on the courthouse lawn. As you can imagine, there are plenty of games and attractions for the young ones making the Roswell UFO Festival a family event.

You may also be interested in our article and photos of the Roswell UFO Museum.

Roswell is located about 200 miles southeast of Albuquerque and about a 200 mile drive northeast of El Paso Texas and about a 170 mile drive west of Lubbock Texas.

(Photos from author’s private collection)