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History of Roswell, NM

Updated on May 30, 2014
UFO | Source

A Space Jump From 24.24 Miles In the Stratosphere.

Roswell, New Mexico seems destined to be associated with outer space. the timeline further on in this presentation illustrates a marked increase in real as well as unconfirmed aircraft and spacecraft activities since the early 1930s.

The UFO Phenomenon took root in July 1947 in a famous UFO landing and presumed government cover-up. Space became important again on October 14, 2012 when Felix Baumgartner jumped successfully from the stratosphere into the Roswell desert area. he joined the club of Chuck Yeager in breaking the sound barrier, but with his body instead of a jet. Incredibly, he plunged over 24 miles at 824 mph and landed on his feet in just three running steps. I saw this and cannot believe it yet.

In the new tradition of privatized space flight and corporate sponsors, Red Bull energy drink company backed this event.

Space History: Feliux Baumgartner Jumps From 128,000 Feet to Roswell In October 2012 In 4 Minutes

New Mexico Is 100 Years Old in 2012

New Mexico is part of the picturesque American Southwest, full of colorful landscapes and desert culture. The first human inhabitants of the territory were 22 Indigenous Peoples like the mysterious Hopi and Anastasi nations, Apache, Navajo, and the pueblos of the Acoma, Cochiti, Santa Ana, Taos, and the Ute, Zia, and Zuni peoples.

A party of white settlers arrived just south of what is today Roswell in 1865 after a long journey from Missouri. This party was led by professional Missouri riverboat gambler Van C. Smith and his business partner. Smith named the settlement they founded Roswell after his father sometime between 1871 - 1873, depending on the source accessed.

At the time, the two men built two adobe houses, but could not find enough potable water and abandoned their small community. Non-native settlers returned to the area in to build a village in the early 1870s that expanded and later become Roswell, New Mexico. Union Captain Joseph Lea was responsible for its early expansion. Underground water was discovered in 1890 and the town of Roswell incorporated in 1891, followed quickly by the first bank and newspaper (the Roswell Dispatch, now the the Roswell Daily Record).

The New Mexico Military Institute was founded in Roswell early on, and military installations have been a major part of the landscape. All this, plus Native American lore, gives the area some of the mystique heightened by the Roswell Incident of 1947 and perpetual rumors of alien life in the area. All this helps to maintain the active tourist trade of Roswell, nearby caves, and Area 51 in Nevada.

The Journey West To Roswell By a Gambler From Missouri

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The Western Chisum Trail

We think of aliens, space, and military installations rather than cattle and cowboys when we think of Roswell, but the town was a thriving cattle drive hub just after the American Civil War. Surrounding ranches sent their herds there to be driven to market by cowboys. In fact, some cowboys and ranchers are still active in the area today.

Roswell is near a group of springs that were used to water cattle on cattle drives in the Old West Era in New Mexico. The Western Chisum Trail, named after the Chisum ranch of the 1880s, was the route for cattle transport and began near Roswell, proceeding to Las Cruces and the railroad line. There, the cattle were loaded onto the trains to travel across the nation to market.

The San Augustin Ranch near Roswell was sold at the end of World War II to become the White Sands Missile Range. In addition, a second UFO incident occurred in the San Augustin area in 1947 on the same day in July as the Roswell Incidents (One and Two) occurred - information about that is on display in the Roswell International UFO Museum and Research Center..

Reference: Roswell Convention and Visitor's Bureau.

The Western Chisum Trail Southwest To the Rail Line.

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21st Century cattle round up in New Mexico.
21st Century cattle round up in New Mexico. | Source

New Mexico Military Institute

This co-educational military academy has operated in some form or another since 1891. Today, it is a successful combination of 4-year high school and junior college with a military foundation. Graduates can transfer their credits to 4-year colleges and most often enter one of the US Armed Forces training academies: the US Military Academy at West Point, New York; US Naval Academy at Annapolis, Maryland; USAF Academy in Colorado Springs, Colorado; the US Coast Guard Academy at New London, Connecticut; and the US Merchant Marine in King's Point, New York.

Core pathways of study at NMMI include:

  • Social Sciences and Leadership, Business and Criminal Justice
  • Natural Sciences and Mathematics
  • Humanities
  • Health and Physical Education

A number of sports teams are available for both men and women on campus at the high school and college levels.

Walker Air Force Base (1941 - 1967)

This short lived US Air Force Base began operations in 1941 for World War II as Army Air Corps flying school, since we had no USAF yet at that time. WAFB operated through the war and the Cold War as Roswell Army Air Field. It developed to become the largest military base in the Strategic Air Command (SAC). This is also he base nearest the Roswell UFO incident that occurred in July 1947. WAFB continued to operate as a US Air Force Base for only another 20 years after the incident. A second UFO landing is reported to have occurred on the San Augustin Plain and is discussed at the link for the Roswell International UFO Museum here.

After 1967, the air force base became a storage airport for used military aircraft awaiting repair and sales.

A Timeline Of Roswell

800 - 1800s
Native American Nations occupied Southeast New Mexico. Of interest are archeological sites at Bloom Mound, Fox Place, the Henderson Site, and Rocky Arroyo.
1865 - 1873
Visits and finally a first settlement began and failed. Van C. Smith was a professional gambler that became the local Post Master, naming the town Roswell after his father.
Lincoln County War. Sheriff Pat Garret Hunted Billy the Kid and the US Army sent their Buffalo Soldiers to help settle violence.
Success at the Chisum Ranch and on the Western Chisum Trail
1880s - 1890s
Reported Apache Raids on homesteads and travelers. Caves County established 1889. Newspaper, Roswell Daily Record, began in 1891.
First brick plant began operation, supplying materials to the new rail road coming through.
Harder Texas and other bricks were imported to Roswell for buldings and lumber yards opened next to the rail depot.
Per oral histories, Cattle Baron John Chisum pursued Apaches that had stolen over 100 of his horses, retook the horses at Fort Stanton, and ended the Apache Raids.
New Mexico Military Institute founded
Electricity became available in Roswell.
1910s - 1920s
Patients with tuberculosis came to stay in Roswell and take in the air on the large, wide porches of the buildings there. New Mexico became a US State in 1912.
Famous rocket scientist Robert Goddard moved to Roswell.
1940 - 1967
Military flying school became Roswell Army Airfield, then Walker Air Force Base and held 4,800 or more German POWs during WWII. Became Roswell International Air Center in 1967. During WWII, the 509th Composite Bomb Group dropped atomic bombs on Hiroshima and Nagasaki, Japan.
July 4-8, 1947
Roswell Incidents One and Two, second location at San Augustin with evidence found in caves.
Eastern New Mexico University founded.
1970s - 1990s
Roswell began to attract retirees and growing numbers of UFO Tourists.
International Roswell UFO Museum and Research Center was founded by Walter Haut, Glenn Dennis (a mortician), and Max Littel. Moved twice and increased size, with a third move and increase planned for the mid-2010s.
1990s - 2010s
Dairy Farming, Agriculture, and Ranching increased in strength, with UFO Tourism a major local industry.
October 12, 2012
The incredible Felix Baumgartner parachute leap from over 24 miles up into space.
1996 - present
Dennis Balthaser is a certifed UFO Investigator that worked with the International International UFO Mseum until 1998 and thereafter on his own.

Roswell Attractions and Culture

The rare Pecos Sunflower at Bitter Lake.
The rare Pecos Sunflower at Bitter Lake. | Source

Additional Attractions In Roswell, New Mexico

  • Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art
  • Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge - U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service - Founded in 1937 during The Great Depression. Endangered species tours are scheduled from October 6 through May on the first Saturday of each month.
  • Bottomless Lakes State Park was initiated in 1933 by New Mexico as its first state park. While not quite bottomless, they looked that way to early cowboys. The depth reaches 90 feet at its deepest points. Only one lake is swimable and that's Lea Lake, the deepest. Pasture lake and Devil's Inkwell are stocked with game fish in the winters. The state park is southeast of Roswell off Route 380 and County Road 409 southward, which becomes Bottomless Lakes Road.
  • Brokeoff Mountains WSA - Four-wheel drive is required to navigate this study area in southern New Mexico, 80 miles east of El Paso. The area is secluded and trails are not actually marked.
  • Eastern New Mexico University - Roswell - At Eastern New Mexico University in Roswell, students may choose from among 70+ Certification and Associate Degree programs covering academics and meaningful careers. Courses are provided on a brick and mortar campus and online. Senior Citizens are treated to special training and career programs to help obtain a second career.

Brokeoff Mountains Wilderness Study Area


Roswell Incident Number One

Roswell International UFO Museum and Research Center.
Roswell International UFO Museum and Research Center. | Source

By C.G.P. Grey with permission.

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The alien chamber at the International Roswell UFO Museum and Research Center.
The alien chamber at the International Roswell UFO Museum and Research Center.
The alien chamber at the International Roswell UFO Museum and Research Center. | Source
  • Historical Center for Southeast New Mexico. 200 N. Lea Ave. at W. 2nd St., Roswell, NM 88201
  • The International Roswell UFO Museum and Research Center - Downtown Historic District - Roswell has become a gateway to the UFO Phenomenon in the Southwest and is linked forever with Nevada's Area 51 and Groom Lake. Aircraft have been tested in this region since the beginning of American aviation and most recently, Roswell hosted the re
  • Roswell Museum and Art Center - The Roswell Museum and Art Center preserves and exhibits the history and art of the American Southwest, is accredited by the American Association of Museums, and operates the Robert H. Goddard Planetarium and the Bassett Art Education Center.
  • Spring River Park and Zoo. FREE Admission as of end of 2012. 1306 E. College Blvd., Roswell, NM 88203.

Aliens In Roswell

Spaceship McDonald's In Roswell at 7th and Main St.


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