Philmont Scout Ranch is located on what once was part of the Maxwell Land Grant. The land was later purchased by Oklahoma oilman Waite Phillips. Phillips named his ranch Philmont, combination of his name and the Spanish word monte, or mountain. In 1938, Phillips made the first of two gifts of his New Mexico ranch to the Boy Scouts of America to establish a national wilderness camping area.
Today, Philmont Scout Ranch is more than just a wilderness camp. It also houses the National Volunteer Training Center for the Boy Scouts and three distinct museums. Continue reading
Did you know that Teddy Roosevelt’s Rough Riders came from New Mexico? Visit the City of Las Vegas Museum and Rough Riders Memorial Collection to find out about New Mexico’s role in the iconic group of fighters from the Spanish American War. Las Vegas hosted the Rough Rider Reunions for many years and much of the memorabilia and artifacts relating to the 1st Volunteer Cavalry Regiment, better known as the Rough Riders is at the museum. Continue reading
Raton Pass had been used by Spanish explorers and Indians for centuries to cut through the Rocky Mountain. The trail was too rough for wagons on the Santa Fe Trail. The town of Raton (Spanish for “mouse,” but literally meaning “large rat”) was founded at the site of Willow Springs, a stop on the Santa Fe Trail. In 1879, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway bought a local toll road and established a busy rail line. Other smaller railroad companies also had lines that ran from Raton west and south to carry various resources to market. Raton quickly developed as a railroad, mining and ranching center for the northeast part of the New Mexico territory, as well as the county seat and principal trading center of the area. The Raton area was part of the richest area for coal mining west of the Mississippi. Nearby Dawson, New Mexico was the site of the second worst coal mining disaster in US history. Continue reading
The town of Clayton was established in 1887 as a railroad stop. It started as a tent town with three saloons, a livery stable, two small hotels of sorts and a general store. Clayton was a waypoint for trade caravans and homesteaders traveling on the Cimarron Cutoff of the Santa Fe Trail. The first train arrived March 20, 1888, on newly laid tracks. The town became a livestock-shipping center for herds from the Pecos River and the Texas Panhandle.
The Herzstein Memorial Museum is run by the Union County Historical Society. The museum seeks to preserve the history of the city of Clayton and Union County. Named for the pioneering merchant family of Albert Herzstein, the museum is housed in a former Methodist Episcopal Church with a history of its own: The building also once served as a local community center with basketball courts, it housed the public library, and was the venue for many community gatherings. The Historical Society acquired the building in 1972. The museum opened the following year. Continue reading