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Clockwise from Upper Left: Old Mesilla, Organ Mountains above Las Cruces, and Chili Ristras in Hatch, New Mexico



Aden A community on spur railroad in the south-west part of the county. A nearby extinct volcano is called crater of Aden. Since the railroads chose names from many disconnected sources, this may be named after the seaport town of Aden, in Arabia.

Post office from 1894-1898 and 1905-1924
All that remains of the town of Aden is a sign.

Afton Former Post Office on SP RR, 20 mi SW of Las Cruces. Possibly named for the Afton River in Scotland, as a number of Scotsmen settled here in the early days. Post Office 1924-1941.
Anapra Post Office 1907-1919. See Sunland Park.
Angostura Means "narrows" in Spanish. Located 2 miles East of Hatch, NM.
Anthony On US 80 and 85, 20 mi N of El Paso; in the heart of the cotton-growing area of the Mesilla Valley along the Texas border. When the AT & SF RR built its line in 1881, the station was placed on the Texas side and named La Tuna. A Spanish American woman named Sabrina had a chapel ont he NM side dedicated to San Antonio, and when a town was started she rejecte the name L Tuna and insisted upon Anthony. Previously the location on the NM side was called Half Way House. Another version states that a Catholic priest came through the mountain pass to establish a church here and found that the outline of a face on the mountain was called st. Anthony's Nose. There is a promontory on the Hudson River named Anthony's Nose, but commemorating the nose of Anthony D. Hooges. Post Office 1884 - .
Berino On US 80, 19 miles SE of Las Cruces; former town of Cottonwood, on route of Butterfield Overland Mail. Berino is said to be an Indian word meaning "ford". Post Office 1902 - .
Bosque Seco (historical) No info available.
Bowen No info available.
Boyd No info available.
Brazito Land Grant The area below Mesilla Park is in the old Brazito Grant. The schoolhouse and the farm community still bear the name. Referred to as early as 1776 as Huerto de Los Brazitos. Extends 8 miles along the Rio Grande S of Las Cruces. Made to Juan Antonio Garcia in 1822 or 1823 and confirmed by the U.S. Congress on 7/22/1854.
Brazito (historical) Spanish for "little arm" or "tributary". General Stephen W. Kearny, commanding the Army of the West, occupied Santa Fe on August 18, 1846. On September 25, he set out for California, leaving Col. Alexander W. Doniphan in charge of New Mexico, with orders to march southward to assist in the conquest of Chihuahua as soon as Col. Sterling Price arrived to take command in Santa Fe. Colonel Donipan and his Missouri Volunteers moved south to Brazito, and on Christmas afternoon 1846, the only battle of the Mexican War to be fought in New Mexico took place. The Mexican forces consisted of 1200 men led by General Trias. The Americans were victorious and moved on to occupy El Paso without a struggle on Dec. 28. On Feb. 8, 1847, they began their advance on the city of Chihuahua.
Brick 1 mile N of point where NM, TX and Mexico join. At one time there was a brick plant here.
Brickland On AT & SF RR 3 miles N of El Paso, 2 miles N of Brick.
Butterfield Park No info available.
Center Valley See Vado.
Chamberino On NM 28, W of the Rio Grande, 18 miles S of Las Cruces. Reported to be an Indian word meaning "deep ford"; and also as a corruption of the Spanish word for brush that grew in this section. On E side of the river is the settlement called Berino. Post Office 1880-1882, 1893 - .
Chaparral No info available.
Chappel Point on SP RR, 25 miles SW of Las Cruces, 7 miles east of county line.
Dona Ana Farming settlement 5 miles N of las Cruces on NM 28, 15 miles W of Organ Mtns. Mentioned in reorts of Governor Otermin, as he left NM after trying to recapture Santa Fe in 1682. On Feb 4, members of his party wrote, "We marched on the 4th to another place which they call Dona Ana, where the senor governor and captain general prepared to go in person to a sierra which is in sight about six leagues away, call Los Organos". A legendary woman, Dona Ana Robledo was reported to have lived here in the seventeenth century and to have been outstanding for her charity and good deeds. There are also legends of the daughter of a Spanish or Mexican army officer who was captured by the Apaches and never seen again. A letter from a Spanish officer tothe Viceroy states that the Apaches in the region of Los Organos (the Organ Mtns) had killed three Spaniards and raided the sheep ranch of Dona Ana Maria Nina de Cordova. In 1839, the Governor of Chihuahua issued a grant known as El Ancon de Dona Ana (The Dona Ana Bend Colony) to Don Jose Maria Costales and a hundred and sixteen colonists. American military forces came in contact with the community in 1846. In 1853 there was an additional grant of land from the Governor of Chihuahua. In 1854 Mexico sold this added territory to the U.S. in the Gadsden Purchase. Post Office 1854, intermittently to present. The village of Dona Ana was the original county seat. In 1853 the county offices were moved to Las Cruces.
Earlham Post Office (historical) Post Office 1888-1911, mail to La Mesa. See Vado.
El Ojito Spanish for "little spring". Near Anthony.
Fairacres Farming community on US 80, 4 miles W of Las Cruces. Post Office 1926 - .
Fort Selden Fort Selden was established in 1865 in an effort to bring peace to the south central region of present day New Mexico. Built on the banks of the Rio Grande, this adobe fort housed units of the U.S. Infantry and Cavalry. Their intent was to protect settlers and travelers in the Mesilla Valley from desperados and Apache Indians. Several of the units stationed at the fort were black troopers, referred to as Buffalo Soldiers. A young Douglas Mac Arthur called the fort home while his father was post commander in the late 1880s.

By 1890 criminals and raiding parties were no longer considered a threat as hostilities eventually lessened and the fort was no longer needed. Like many small forts in the Southwest the government decommissioned the fort and it was abandoned in 1891.

Today the stark adobe brick walls of the frontier past evoke a feeling of personal connection to the past. Now a New Mexico State Monument, a visitor center offers exhibits on frontier and military life.

Four Points No info available.
Frontera (historical) No info available.
Garfield On US 85, 10 miles NW of Hatch. Post Office 1896 - .
Grama On AT & SF RR 11 miles NE of Hatch. Named for a pasture grass called grama by the Spanish.
Granada (historical) Post Office 1896-1898; mail to Mesilla.
Hacienda Acres No info available.
Hatch Hatch was originally settled as Santa Barbara in 1851, however Apache raids drove the farmers away until 1853 when the nearby Fort Thorn was established.[1] When Fort Thorn closed in 1860, the town had to be abandoned again.[1] It was not until 1875 that it was re-occupied and at that time it was re-named for Indian fighter Edward Hatch, who was then commander of the New Mexico Military District from 1880-1895.

Hatch enjoys the distinction of being the home of "The World's Best chili pepper", according to a report by the BBC World News. Hatch chile is best prepared by roasting over an open flame. Each year during chile season, dozens of chile vendors can be found lining the streets of Hatch roasting the local chile.

The Hatch Chile Festival is an annual event that occurs each Labor Day. This event attracts people world wide to a place known as the chile capital of the world. The small town has accommodated up to 30,000 people for this event. This small farming community is known world wide for raising very good chile. Other crops such as onions, cotton, and corn are also raised there. Irrigation of local farms is accomplished by water wells as well as irrigation ditches which divert water from the Rio Grande and two lakes approximately 20 miles north of Hatch named Caballo (Spanish for "horse") and Elephant Butte Reservoir (named after a rock formation in the middle of the lake that looks similar to an elephant).

Hatch is 40 miles north of Las Cruces, New Mexico on Interstate 25, and 34 miles south of Spaceport America, a new purpose-built spaceport being built by the New Mexico Spaceport Authority with State and county funding

Herron See Vado.
Hersey Place No info available.
Hill Former trading point on NM 28, 10 miles NW of Las Cruces. Named for the Hill family, a member of which, a Las Cruces dentist, was at one time a candidate for governor. Post Office 1914-1937.
Hockett Water stop 1 mile S of NM 26, on AT & SF RR, 9 miles west of Hatch.
Kent (historical) F.H. Kent was general manager of the Dona Dora mines about 1909. First Postmaster, Garard W. Kent. Post Office 1904-1911; mail to Organ.
Kenzin On SP RR, 20 miles SW of Las Cruces and 5 miles NW of Afton.
Kimball Place No info available.
La Mesa Farming community on NM 28, 6 miles S of Las Cruces. Named for nearby lava flow called Black Mesa. Founded 1854-1857 by Spanish Americans, and a few Anglo-American pioneers. In the nine years, 1845-1854, this part of the Rio Grande Valley remained in Mexico until the Gadsden Purchase became effective on Nov. 16, 1854. Settlement was desirable here because it was a higher tract of land and free from overflow by frequent floods that submerged nearly all other parts of the valley. First Post Office named Victoria, but locally called La Mesa. Post Office 1908 - .
La Union On NM 28, 29 miles SW of Las Cruces. Post Office 1909-1957.
La Union Vieja No info available.
Lanark On SP RR, 25 miles NW of El Paso, TX. Post Office 1905-1921.
Las Cruces Las Cruces, also known as "The City of the Crosses", is the county seat of Doña Ana County, New Mexico, United States. The population was 74,267 as of the 2000 Census, and was estimated at 93,570 as of July 1, 2009,[2] making it the second largest city in the state.

Las Cruces is the economic and geographic center of the fertile Mesilla Valley, which is the agricultural region on the flood plain of the Rio Grande which extends from Hatch, New Mexico to the west side of El Paso, Texas. Las Cruces is also the home of New Mexico State University (NMSU), New Mexico's only land grant university. The city's major employer is the federal government on nearby White Sands Test Facility and White Sands Missile Range. Recently the city has been home to many of the retired from across the country. The majestic Organ Mountains, ten miles (16 km) to the east, are dominant in the city's landscape, along with the Doña Ana Mountains, Robledo Mountains, and Picacho Peak.

The area where Las Cruces rose was previously inhabited by the Manso people, with the Mescalero Apache living nearby.[1]:19 The area was later colonized by the Spanish beginning in 1598, when Juan de Oñate claimed all territory north of the Rio Grande for New Spain and later became the first governor of the Spanish territory of New Mexico.[1]:20–21

The area remained under New Spain’s 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 1846–48. 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.[1]:36,40

Mesilla became the leading settlement of the area, with more than 2,000 residents in 1860, more than twice what Las Cruces had.[1]:48 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.[1]:58 The first train reached Las Cruces in 1881.[1]:62 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.[1]:135[1]:63

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.[1]:68

Growth of Las Cruces has been attributed to the university, government jobs and recent retirees. New Mexico State University was founded in 1888. And as it has grown as Las Cruces has grown. The establishment of White Sands Missile Range in 1944 and White Sands Test Facility in 1963 have both been integral to growth because Las Cruces is the nearest city to each and provide many high paying, stable government jobs. In recent years the influx of retirees from out of state has increased Las Cruces’ population.

In the 1960s Las Cruces undertook a large urban renewal project, intended to convert the old downtown into a modern city center.[1]:115 As part of this, St. Genevieve's Catholic Church, built in 1859, was torn down to make way for a Downtown Pedestrian Mall.[1]:44,75,115 The original covered walkways are now being removed in favor of a more traditional main street thoroughfare.

The origin of the city's name is unknown. In Spanish "Las Cruces" means "the crosses". (Some have claimed an alternative meaning of "the crossroads" but this is grammatically implausible, as "cruce", the singular form of crossroad, is masculine and the phrase would be "Los Cruces".)

Leasburg Trading Point on US 85, 14 miles N of Las Cruces. First Postmaster was Adolphe Lea. Post Office 1866 intermittently to 1898.
Lizard On SP RR, 12 miles NW of El Paso, TX and 4 miles N of the TX border.
Los Amoles (historical) Spanish for "soapweeds". On Refugio Grant, 2 miles SE of Gadsden; washed away by floods, 1876, 1884, and abandoned after 1886.
Los Ojitos (historical) No info available.
Malpais Spanish for "badlands". 2 miles N of the Mexican border on SP RR, 22 miles E of Columbus.
Mastodon Point on SP RR 2 miles N of Texas border and 12 miles W of El Paso.
Mesilla The village of Mesilla was incorporated in 1848, after the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo moved the U.S.-Mexico border south of the village of Doña Ana, placing it in the United States. A small group of citizens, unhappy at being part of the United States, decided to move south of the border. They settled in Mesilla at this time. By 1850, Mesilla was an established colony. By this time, its people were under constant threat of attack from the Apache. By 1851, the attacks caused the United States to take action to protect its people just to the north of the border, in the Mesilla Valley. They did this by creating Fort Fillmore. As a result of the fort, the United States declared the Mesilla Valley region part of the United States. Mexico also claimed this strip of land, causing it to become known as "No Mans Land." This boundary dispute, which was officially caused by a map error, was resolved in 1853, with the Gadsden Purchase. Mesilla became a part of the United States, as well as the southern part of New Mexico and Arizona.

Two battles were fought at or in the town during the Civil War. Mesilla served as the capital of the Confederate Territory of Arizona in 1861-1862 and was known as the "hub", or main city for the entire region. Recaptured by the Volunteers of the California Column, it then became the headquarters of the Military District of Arizona until 1864.

During the "Wild West" era, Mesilla was known for its cantinas and festivals. The area attracted such figures as Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett and Pancho Villa. The village was also the crossroads of two major stagecoach lines, Butterfield Stagecoach and the Santa Fe Trail. The village of Mesilla was the most important city of the region until 1881.

In 1881, the Santa Fe Railway was ready to build through the Gadsden Purchase region of the country. Mesilla was naturally seen as the city the railroad would run through. However, the people of Mesilla asked for too much money for the land rights, and a land owner in nearby Las Cruces, New Mexico, a much smaller village than Mesilla, stepped in and offered free land. The city of Mesilla has not grown much since, and Las Cruces has grown to a population of an estimated 86,268 people (2008) [1] and is currently the second largest city in New Mexico.

La Mesilla Historic District, which includes Mesilla Plaza, was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1961.

In 2008, the Roman Catholic parish church of San Albino was raised to the status of minor basilica by the Holy See.

Mesilla Civil Colony Grant Tract Grant obtained after the Mexican War by Spanish Americans who petitioned the Mexican Government for land then in the province of Chihuahua. Grant was approved in 1853, but when the Gadsden Purchase was signed in the same year, the territory became part of the United States.
Mesilla Park Unincorporated village adjoining University Park at Lax Cruces on US 80. Named for nearby La Mesilla. With the routing of AT & SF RR through Las Cruces in 1881, the town of La Mesilla lots prestige and all public offices were removed to Las Cruces 3 miles away, which then became the count seat. Six years later a group of citizens formed two land companies; the second was called the Mesilla Park Tract, taking its name from Mesilla Valley. Then the New Mexico College of Agricultural and Mechanic Arts (now New Mexico State University) came into existence in 1889, the small village grew considerably. Post office 1892 - .
Mesquite Spanish for "desert shrub" and from Nahuatl "mizquitl. Farming and ranching community on US 80, 12 miles S of Las Cruces on AT & SF RR. Established in 1881 and named by railroad executives for the many mesquite bushes here. Post Office, 1913 - .
Modoc (historical) Post Office 1901-1903. Mail to Las Cruces.
Nombre de Dios (historical) Spanish for "Name of God". 21 miles S of Las Cruces. Destroyed by a flood in 1884.
Noria Spanish for "water well" 1 mile N of Texas border, on SP RR, 25 miles W of El Paso, Texas. The word comes from the Arabic and denotes a kind of water wheel used in N Africa and S Spain to raise the flow of water from a ditch or well for irrigation. In NM the word was applied to a dug well as early as mid-seventeenth century
Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe See Tortugas
Orange No info available.
Organ Mining community on US 70, 14 miles NE of Las Cruces, in foothills of Organ Mtns, for which it was named. In 1908 famed sheriff Pat Garrett was shot to death on the road leading from this old mining camp to Las Cruces. Millions in lead, copper, and silver have been earned here, but very little in gold. The mines are now half-filled with water, but the US Bureau of Reclamation officials say it would be too large a job to lower the water table sufficiently to drain or pump out all the water. Post Office 1881, intermittenly to present.
Picacho Spanish for "top," "peak" or "summit". Village 6 miles NW of Las Cruces. Named for the mountains. Once a stoping place for the Butterfield Overland Mail.
Placitas See Santa Teresa.
Plaza See Salem.
Plomo (historical) Spanish for "lead". 46 miles NE of Las Cruces. A big mill and smelter were built here and abandoned immediately when the lead mine played out. Post Office 1902, mail to Las Cruces.
Potrillo Spanish for "colt". Community 3 miles N of Texas border on SP RR, 36 miles W of El paso. Named for two mountain ranges in SW part of county. Post Office 1908-1914. East Potrillo and West Potrillo are separated by Mt. Riley.
Pronto Spanish for "prompt". On SP RR 25 miles SW of Las Cruces and 8 miles NW of Afton.
Radium Springs formerly known as Fort Selden Springs; also Randall Station. Community centered around a health resort, 1 mile NE of US 85, on AT & SF RR, 18 miles N of Las Cruces. Named for the radium reported in the springs, which are said to have been known by the Indians in pre-Spanish times, and were used by the soldiers at Fort Selden. Post Office 1926 - .
Randall Station See Radium Springs.
Rincon Spanish for "corner" or "box canyon". On NM 40 and AT & SF RR, 5 miles East of Hatch. Named because it is in a corner formed by two nearby mountains. Marks the South end of the dreaded Jornada del Muerto. Early day travelers, immigrants and animals died of thirst while trying to cross the desert. Its South end is also the beginning of the old Chihuahua Trail. Post Office 183 - .
Rio Grande (historical) No info available.
Rodey Trading Point on US 85, 3 miles SE of Hatch. Post Office 1904-1927.
Rutter On SP RR, 20 miles SW of Las Cruces, and 5 miles SE of Afton.
Salem Farming community on US 85, 5 miles NW of Hatch. Named in 1908 when a group of New Englanders from Salem MA settled here. Previously called Plaza. Post Office 1908 -.
San Augustine (historical) Post Office 1876-1888. Mail to Organ
San Diego Spanish for "Saint James". Mountain about 10 miles SE of Hatch. Campground site of the early Spanish Explorers, at the beginning of Jornada del Muerto. Formerly called Tonuco. A settlement by this name appears on the Mapa de los EUM (1828).
San Miguel Trading Point on NM 28, 5 miles S of Las Cruces, 5 miles S of Las Cruces. Post Office 152 - .Formerly called Telles.
San Nicholas (historical) No info available.
San Pablo No info available.
San Ysidro No info available.
Santa Barbara See Hatch.
Santa Teresa Spanish-American for St. Therese. Village adjoining Hatch. Also called Placitas.
Santo Tomas Settlement 10 miles S of Las Cruces.+-
Shaalam (historical) Religious colony founded in 1885 by Dr. John B. Newbrough of New York City, 8 miles N of Las Cruces. Name taken from the cult's religious book "Oahspe" Some 900 acres were purchased by the Faithists, but after the death of their leader in 1891 the property was abandoned or otherwise disposed of. The locality is still known by that name. Link leads to a partial article on Shalam and the "Baby Community".
Spaceport City No info available.
Strauss On SP RR 16 miles NW of El Paso, and 8 miles W of US 80. Post Office 1894-1897, mail to El Paso 1918-1943.
Sunland Park Community 5 miles NW of El Paso on SP RR. Formerly Anapra. In 1960, the community changed the name to Sunland Park for the ract track which operates a winter horse-racing meet here. Post Office 1962 - .
Telles See San Miguel
Tonuco 4 miles East of US 85, on AT& SF RR, 12 miles SE of Hatch. See San Diego.
Tortugas Spanish for "turtles". Mexicanized Tiwa Indian Pueblo 4 miles SE of Las Cruces and 1 mile SE of Mesilla Park on US 80 and 85. The village is divided into two parts, San Juan and Guadalupe. Legend places its founding in 1680 or 1682, when Tiwa Indians accompanied Governor Otermin south from the Pueblo of Isleta near Albuquerque. The aged and ill Indians who could go no further, the "slow ones" or "turtles", stopped here and founded the village. A second theory is that the town was named for a mountain which resembles a turtle. The Indians also call their village Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe.
University Park Village surrounding New Mexico State University, 2 miles SE of Las Cruces and 1 mile East of US 80 and 85. Called State College until 4/1/1959. Post Office 1959 - .
Vado Spanish for "ford". Farming community of many names on US 80, 15 miles SE of Las Cruces. First known as Herron after the first Anglo settlers, two brothers. Later changed to Earlham for a town in Ohio or Illinois [webmaster's note: this is probably Iowa] from which that family came. Later yet called Center Valley by one of the postmasters. Present name may be for a ford or river crossing. Post Office 1911 intermittenly to present.
Vevay On SP RR, 20 miles NE of El Paso.
Victoria See La Mesa.
White Sands Missile Range Headquarters 25 miles NE of Las Cruces; established July 9, 1945, by Department of Defense; operated by Department of Army for used of all branches of service and NASA. Encompasses 4,000 square miles. Formerly White Sands Proving Ground: Changed to White Sands Missile Range on May 1, 1958. Contains the White Sands National Monument

A big thank you to Elsa Altshool, the founding volunteer of this site.

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