Doņa Ana County Historical Society
Las Cruces, Doņa Ana County, New Mexico
|History And Mission
It was not until 1843 that the first intrepid settlers came north and established the Doņa Ana Bend Colony, the county's first permanent settlement. In 1846 New Mexico became part of the United States as a result of the U.S.-Mexican War. By 1855 Doņa Ana County included the entire southern portion of the territory extending from Texas on the east and south, to the Colorado River on the west, and from the Mexican border on the south to Socorro County on the north.
As New Mexico grew in population, Arizona and new counties were carved from the original boundaries until Doņa Ana County became its present size and communities such as Las Cruces, Mesilla, and Fort Selden, full of years of history and memories, produced a legacy worthy of preservation.
In 1963 the Dona Ana County Historical Society was formed to preserve the Fort Selden adobe ruins. Buffalo soldiers stationed at this fort north of Las Cruces protected early settlers and travelers crossing this area on the routes running east and west as well as north and south. The fort was active from 1865 to 1891. A young Douglas MacArthur lived at the fort when his father was stationed there as the post commander from 1884 to 1886. In 1973, the fort was designated a New Mexico State Monument.
The second goal from 1963 was the long-term preservation of the history and culture of Doņa Ana County. Since then, the society has become more inclusive since the county once covered all of Southern New Mexico. This means to encourage in every way possible a greater appreciation of New Mexico history, especially that found in and around Doņa Ana County.
See the story behind the Society's two logos - Cisneros Drawing of Rider and Dog
To see Madeleine Vessel's history of the Society's first 30 years, 1963 to 1994 - Dona Ana County Historical Society 1963-1994