History of the Mesilla Valley
The rich history of Las Cruces began in the 1600’s as the King of Spain built villages along the Camino Real (the Royal Road) from Mexico City to it’s most northern capital City, Santa Fe. The King of Spain is one of the earliest known city planners as he tried to colonize the nomadic native Indians of the Americas. With no model in the Americas the king found it necessary to write an urban plan to direct the colonization of the Americas.
This plan known today as the Law of the Indies developed a detailed urban plan built around a civic plaza with bordered by the church, government buildings and retail establishments. Today along this royal road are 100’s of villages built around this plan with one of the most famous being Santa Fe New Mexico.
In Mesilla Valley along the Camino Real the City of Mesilla was established and remains much the same as it was in the 1600’s. It Plaza and Catholic Church remain center of life and community for the Village of Mesilla. In the 1880’s the railroads were expanding through the region from the east, west north and south. The railroads approached the proud village of Spanish land grant owner for rights of way for the railroad however were denied, as the citizens feared the interference of the railroad with their quaint and sophisticated village.
Hence the railroads bought right of way northeast of Mesilla and established the City of Las Cruces. The depot and rail yards still exist today just west of downtown and the neighborhood of Victorian and Southwest revival homes established the neighborhood we know today as the Alameda historic district that boarders downtown Las Cruces.
Las Cruces Today
Las Cruces, New Mexico is consistently ranked as one of the top cities to live, work, and play by organizations like AARP and Forbes. Las Cruces features an average of 350 days of sunshine a year. The mild climate enjoys average summer highs in the 90′s and winter highs in the 50′s.
The city, located just 40 minutes from El Paso, Texas and the U.S./Mexico border, is one of the fastest growing cities in New Mexico and the U.S. Financial website NerdWallet ranked Las Cruces 16th among the nation’s fastest growing cities based on growth in employment, income, population.
Downtown Las Cruces is enjoying a vibrant revitalization, however Las Cruces has much more to offer as well:
- Education – New Mexico State University, great private and public schools, and excellent opportunities for continuing eduction make Las Cruces a great place to pursue education at any age.
- Culture & the Arts – Over 40 art galleries and 200 active artists reside here in the Las Cruces area. There are also several local professional and community theatre companies.
- Clubs & Organizations – Las Cruces is an active community with activities for all ages; from hiking and cycling to gardening and bird watching.
- Hiking & Outdoors Activities – Whether you like to stick to well beaten trails or prefer to be off the beaten path, Las Cruces has great places for outdoor activities.
- Regional Attractions – Centrally located numerous day trip and weekend destinations like White Sands National Monument, the Gila National Forest and Cliff Dwellings Monument, Truth or Consequences hot springs resort town, and much more.