Fort Selden has guided tours coming up; ‘A Night of Folklore’ is July 23

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A step back into the history of the Old West is only a 20-minute drive from downtown Las Cruces.

Hop on Interstate 25 and head north of Las Cruces. Take the Radium Springs exit (exit 19), follow the signs and you will arrive at Fort Selden Historic Site.

There you can tour the ruins of Fort Selden, a frontier fort that was home to United States Army cavalry and infantry, including the famed Buffalo Soldiers, 1865-91. A young Douglas MacArthur (1880-1964) lived here as a young child when his father, Arthur MacArthur Jr. (1945-1912) was post commander.

The recorded history of the area dates back to about 400 A.D., according to New Mexico Historic Sites records, when it was home to Mogollon farmers. In 1598, the area was a campsite along El Camino Real del Tierra Adentro (The Royal Road to the Interior Lands).

Fort Selden Historic Site is open 10 a.m.-4 p.m. Wednesday-Saturday; closed Sunday, Monday and Tuesday.

Upcoming events

  • Guided tour with Ranger Flo. Upcoming tours are 11 a.m.-noon Wednesday, July 20, Saturday, Aug. 6, and Wednesday, Aug. 31.
  • Extended Summer Nights: A Night of Folklore. 4-9 p.m. Saturday, July 23. Fort Selden will keep its gates open late so visitors can watch the sun set behind the Robledos and Sierra de las Uvas to the west of the site and experience a family friendly night dedicated to New Mexican folklore. Family activities, food, music and a history of folklore will highlight the evening, culminating in a visit by one of New Mexico’s most famous folktales: La Llorona, The Wailing Woman, as presented by actor and vocalist

Rosalia Pacheco. La Llorona is the infamous ghost from Spanish folklore known for her terrifying cries as she searches in vain for her drowned children.

  • Campfire cooking with Ranger Mike. 11 a.m.-2 p.m. Saturday, July 30. Learn some basic campfire cooking.

The cost of these special events is included in the site admission fee: $5 for adults and free for children aged 16 years and younger. New Mexico residents with ID are admitted free the first Sunday of every month. State residents 60 years old and older with ID are admitted free every Wednesday.

More History

From the New Mexico Historic Sites website:

“In 1848, New Mexico formally became a United States territory. With the new government came more settlers further encroaching into the traditional homelands of the Apache, leading to a worsening of hostilities that had been increasing throughout the 19th century. In an effort to bring peace to the region, the U.S. government established Fort Selden in April 1865. The New Mexico Volunteers and troops from California constructed the adobe buildings. For 25 years, about 1,800 soldiers (infantry and cavalry) were stationed there protecting settlers from raiding and general lawlessness, and escorting travelers throughout New Mexico Territory.”

For more information, call 575-526-8911.

Visit http://nmhistoricsites.org/fort-selden for more history and information about upcoming events.