Experience a page right out of the history book and get a glimpse of life in the 1800’s, during Frontier Days at Fort Selden State Monument September 13th and 14th.
The fort comes to life with the resurrection of the U.S. Calvary and Infantry, as men dressed in proper military uniforms of the period illustrate their horsemanship skill, as well as their proficiency with artillery and cannons. Civilian life is exemplified as well, as women are clothed in period dresses, and host a Victorian Tea party for all to enjoy.
Get a taste of 1800 style hardtack biscuits cooked with period cooking methods. Be one of the lucky winners and take a dessert home at the Frontier Day Cake Walk.
Children can participate in popular period games, such as baseball, painting with a bow and arrow, a beanbag haagis toss, and a cabin sweep game. Listen to the sounds of the White Sand Pipers (bagpipers) or enjoy the smooth gospel sounds of Connected. Meet and greet the famous Harvey Girls, hostesses from the Railroad Museum of El Paso.
Listen to the 1800 era stories and learn about Vintage Hats of the 1800’s, Modern Medicine of 1873 and Cultures around Fort Selden.
The trumpeting sounds of reveille and the raising of the ceremonial flag, kick-off activities at 9:30 a.m. Admission is $3 for adults and kids 16 and under get in free. The visitor’s center is open at 8:00 a.m. for those early-birds. Activities end at 5 p.m. on Saturday and noon on Sunday.
The fort is located 13 miles north of Las Cruces, New Mexico, take Interstate 25, exit on 19, take ramp right toward Radium Springs, turn left onto NM-157, and arrive at Fort Selden State Monument on the right. The last intersection is Canal Road, if you’ve reached Leasburg Dam Road you’ve gone too far.
Regular visitor hours are Wednesday through Monday, from 8:30 a.m. to 5 p.m., closed on Tuesdays. Admission is $3 but New Mexico residents can enter free on Sundays with identification. New Mexico Seniors can enter free on Wednesdays with identification. Children 16 and under are always admitted free. Call ahead to check for any scheduling changes at (575) 526-8911 / (800) 429-9488 or visit their website at www.nmmonuments.org/fort-selden for more information.
This year’s theme at the Frontier Day Celebration at Fort Selden State Monument is “Our Culture, Our Heritage.” It’s a fun-filled event, so bring the whole family and join us at Fort Selden State Monument.
For more information contact us at www.explorelascruces.com
Fort Selden History
Here is some insight into the history behind the fort. The land known as New Mexico, was taken by force during the Mexican-American War of 1846 and it became an official U.S. Territory in 1850, 15 years later in 1865, Fort Selden was established on the banks of the Rio Grande just 13 miles north of Las Cruces and Mesilla, New Mexico, to protect Americas’ interest in the Southwest.
At one time the fort was known as Fort Union, it was renamed after Colonel, Henry R. Selden, who passed away while serving as fort commander. He died February of 1865 and three months later the fort’s name was changed to honor him. At that time, he was leader of the 1st New Mexico Volunteer Infantry Regiment. Prior to his fort position, he was a decorated captain in the regular army and fought in the Civil War battles of Valverde and Glorietta in New Mexico. Shortly before his appointment as colonel, he was promoted to brevet major in the U.S. Army but resigned his commission to accept the leadership of the state’s first volunteer infantry regiment.
The adobe fortress was active from 1865 to 1891 and housed the U.S. Army Infantry and Calvary. Troops as well as families lived at the post, and it allowed the military to provide settlers in the area as well as travelers, safe passage and protection from criminals and Apache Indians.
Some of the notable people who lived at the fort were the famous Buffalo Soldiers, colored infantry and cavalry soldiers who received the nick-name from their Indian foes because of their bravery during their clashes. The Medal of Honor was bestowed upon nine Buffalo Soldiers while serving in New Mexico Territory. The first troops to occupy the fort were companies of the 125th U.S. Colored Infantry Regiment. These troops were from Kentucky, recruited into the Union Army near the end of the American Civil War and later sent to the frontier to help protect this area. Colored soldiers from the 9th and 10th U.S. Cavalry also served the fort during the latter years. A five star general of the World War II era also lived there during his youth, a young Douglas MacArthur roamed the grounds of Fort Selden during 1884 to 1886, learning to ride a horse and shoot a firearm. His father was the post commanding officer during those years.
Please visit the Friends of Fort Selden Facebook page for more information about this historic site and other local places of interest.