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Fine Art Photography of "Courtyard Bench" by Barbara Chichester, taken Downtown, Las Cruces, New Mexico.
The area where Las Cruces rose was previously inhabited by the Manso people, with the Mescalero Apache living nearby. The area was later colonized by the Spanish beginning in 1598, when Juan de Onate claimed all territory north of the Rio Grande for New Spain and later became the first governor of the Spanish territory of New Mexico.
The area remained under New Spains control until September 28, 1821 when the first Mexican Empire claimed ownership. The area was also claimed by the Republic of Texas during this time until the end of the Mexican-American War in 1846 to 1848. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848 established the United States as owner of this territory and Las Cruces was founded in 1849 when the US Army laid out the town plans.
Mesilla became the leading settlement of the area, with more than 2,000 residents in 1860, more than twice what Las Cruces had. When the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway reached the area, the landowners of Mesilla refused to sell it the rights-of-way, and instead residents of Las Cruces donated the rights-of-way and land for a depot in Las Cruces. The first train reached Las Cruces in 1881. Las Cruces was not affected as strongly by the train as some other villages, as it was not a terminus or a crossroads, but the population did grow to 2,300 in the 1880s. Las Cruces was incorporated as a town in 1907.
Pat Garrett is best known for his involvement in the Lincoln County War, but he also worked in Las Cruces on a famous case, the disappearance of Albert Jennings Fountain in 1896.
March 3rd, 2013
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