A restored 1800s family
home from the gold-boom era. Photos, drawings, self-guided tour. The
nearby cemetery is the resting spot for the first governor of New
Mexico, Susan McSween Barber and deputy J.W. Bell, killed by Billy the
Kid when he escaped from the Lincoln County Courthouse. Annual event:
Minerís Day first Sat in June. Location: (see White Oaks Schoolhouse
Museum). Hours: 9-5 daily Memorial Day-Labor Day. Costs: donations
Lincoln, NM. All of 'Old Lincoln' is an
historic district. In a sense, youíre walking through a museum there.
Many of these these are more preserved historical sites than hard-core
museums. The Courthouse is one of only six State Monuments in New
Mexico. The core of the historical importance here is the Lincoln
County War and its players, which include Billy the Kid (he made a
famous escape from the Courthouse), Sheriff Pat Garrett, John Chisum,
Alexander McSween and John Tunstall. Walking through all of these
museums/locations gives one the sense of the way things were. The
Courthouse seems almost untouched. Take a picture next to an image of
the famous life-sized tintype blow-up of Billy. Annual events: Old
Lincoln Days Celebrations the first weekend in August; Christmas Eve
in Old Lincoln Dec 24 (7 p.m. Episcopalian service, 10 p.m. Catholic
Mass). Location: 12 miles east of Capitan on U.S. 380 (30 miles
north of Ruidoso). Hours: Courthouse & MontaŮo Store 8:30-5 daily;
Dr. Woods Mansion & Tunstall Store 9-5 daily. Cost: $6 for entrance
to seven sites including the Anderson-Freeman Museum; NM residents 1/2
price on Suns (60+ free on Weds); otherwise $3.50 per location. 16
and under free with paid adult.
Alto, NM. The seven-story
landmark architecture by Antoine Predock is worth the photo alone, but
inside there are four major installations by Seatlle Glass Sculptor
Dale Chihuly. About 5000 people a year stop by for guided public
tours Tuesdays & Thursdays (except show dates) at 10 a.m. N.M. 220 on
the way to Ft. Stanton from N.M. 48 (northeast of Ruidoso). Cost:
free. On the average the Spencer has a live touring performance every
Corona, NM. In far north Lincoln County the 10-year
old Corona Museum shares space in an old hotel with a new lending
library. The museum features heirlooms and antiques from local
families dating from the late 1800s and early 1900s (including a
moonshine still found on a local ranch). If Corona had had an army
base in the mid-1940s, the alien 'Roswell Incident' might have been
called the 'Corona Incident.' Corona is the closest civilization to
the actual site. Location: about 46 miles north of Carrizozo on U.S.
54. Hours: 9-1 Tues, Thurs, Fri; 2-6 Weds; Childrenís Story Hour Weds
at 4. Cost: free.
The focus of this fledgling
museum is the communityís past as a railroad boom-town. One exhibit
features a typical one-room school with a window overlooking a
since-demolished county seat building. A new model railroad exhibit
is a kid-pleaser. Location: 103 12th St., Carrizozo (intersection
U.S. 54 and 380). Hours: 10-2 Weds thru Sat. Nice gift shop. Costs:
free, donations appreciated.
A Smithsonian AffiliateThe Hubbard Museum of the American West is one of the most respected museums in the southwest region, and home to an extensive collection of magnificent carriages, wagons, saddles, firearms and Indian artifacts, as well as ever-changing traveling exhibits. 26301 Hwy 70 Ruidoso Downs, New Mexico 88346
Lincoln, NM. A division of the Hubbard
Museum of the American West in Ruidoso Downs, the Anderson-Freeman is
the best curated of all rural Lincoln County museums. There are
extensive exhibits here documenting the Lincoln County War (depicted
in the movie 'Young Guns,' among others) and a theater for viewing a
short video. The museum also hosts the best gift shop on the back
road museum tour. Location: see above. Hours: 8:30-4:30 daily.
Cost: $6 for the all-location pass, or $3.50
Capitan, NM. Everything you
ever wanted to know about Lincoln Countyís most famous bear. Kids
love the place. Thereís a full-size talking Smokey and a small
theater where a short documentary plays about the bear cub found in a
17,000-acre forest fire in the nearby Capitan Mountains. Heís buried
in the park next door. Annual events: Smokey Bear Days early May;
Annual Smokey Bear Parade & Rodeo July 4th weeked. Location: 118
Smokey Bear Blvd., Capitan (U.S. 380 between Carrizozo and Lincoln).
Hours: 9-5 daily. Adults $2, kids 7-12 $1, 6 and under free.
White Oaks, NM. Once the second
largest city in the state, White Oaks is just a ghost of what it was
before residents tried to charge the railroad for right-of-way (and
lost) and the gold mines petered out. One of the surviving gems is the
finest example of an eastern-influenced, brick four-room school house
left in New Mexico today. State-owned, and maintained by the local
historical society; the whole structure is much the way it was when it
was built in the late 1890s. Thereís a small museum on the second
floor documenting the past and many of the families that went to
school here. Annual events: Artists of White Oaks Studio Tour
mid-April; Gold Rush Days Memorial Day Weekend; Art, Antique &
Collectibles Auction Sep or Oct. Location: 12 miles northeast of
Carrizozo via U.S. 54 and N.M. 349. Hours: 10-4 Sat & Sun Memorial
Day-Labor Day. Costs: $2 per person or $5 per family donation.
If youírelooking for a stuffed Smokey, this is the place. In a small one-room
log cabin on the other side of the historical park is a collection of
(not for sale) items that feature Smokeyís image, as well as shelves
full of for-sale items like t-shirts and Smokey Beanie Bears.
Location: 102 Smokey Bear Blvd. Hours: summer hours 9-5 daily (closed
for lunch). Cost: free.
Ft. Stanton, NM. This
150-year-old pre-Civil War fort (1855) was home at one time to Kit
Carson, the Buffalo Soldiers, 'Black Jack' Pershing, German prisoners,
Geronimo and Billy the Kid. The public is only allowed onto the
grounds (the state is using it as a rehab center) one day a year. The
event is called 'Ft. Stanton Live!' and it happens in mid-August
annually. 'Fort Stanton Live!' converts the fort into a living
history stage with military re-enactors, storytellers, Buffalo
Soldiers and more (free). Any other time youíll have to be satisfied
with small but nice Fort Stanton Museum & Visitorís Center which
includes a re-created officerís room and library. Annual events: 'Ft.
Stanton Live!' mid-August (call to confirm). Location: N.M. 220
between N.M. 48 and U.S. 380 (northeast of Ruidoso). Hours: 10-4
There is something for everyone at the Ruidoso River Museum. From the finest collection of Lincoln County War Artifacts to a spectacular collection of one-of-a-kind jewels and memorabilia of the rich and famous including Elvis and Princess Di!