Bordered by the rugged Organ Mountains on the east and the legendary river known as the Rio Grande on the west, Las Cruces lies in the heart of the fertile Mesilla Valley. A Southern New Mexico city on the rise, Las Cruces has retained the charm and flavor of the "Old West" community it once was.
The archeological history of Las Cruces dates from 200 B.C. Pueblo Indian villages were established by 300 A.D., but by 1450, the Puebloan people disappeared, perhaps due to drought, internal political strife or attacks by nomadic tribes.
One of the first Europeans to traverse this area was Alvar Nunez Cabeza de Vaca, who survived a shipwreck in the Gulf of Mexico, then lived among the Gulf Coast Indian tribes. In 1535, he made his way to the Mesilla Valley in search of Spanish settlements. Five years later de Vaca was followed by the renowned Coronado who led the first organized Spanish expedition through the Mesilla Valley. With the ratification of the Gadsden Purchase, which was signed in 1854, the boundary between the U.S. and Mexico was established. Las Cruces became the major supply center for miners staking their claims in the Organ Mountains and for soldiers stationed at Fort Selden. The nearby town of Mesilla was a stopover for passengers on the Butterfield Overland Stage route, which extended from St. Louis to San Francisco. It was said that the only place that one could find a bed between San Antonio and Los Angeles was at the Mesilla Stage Stop!
Today, fields of cotton and chile and groves of pecan trees stand on what was once dangerous and wild land. Las Cruces offers attraction and events for everyone. For the outdoors type person, the 350 days of sunshine a year allow for golfing, hiking or biking. Outdoor attractions include Aguirre Springs and San Augustin Pass, Dripping Springs Recreation Area and La Cueva, Ft. Selden State Monument, Leasburg Dam State Park and Stahmann Farms. Other local attractions include Old Mesilla area and the Bicentennial Log Cabin located in Las Cruces.
Distance to other cities...
- El Paso, Texas 45 miles
- Juarez, Mexico 50 miles
- Albuquerque, New Mexico 225 miles
- Santa Fe, New Mexico 285 miles
- Tucson, Arizona 275 miles
- Lubbock, Texas 361 miles
- Denver, Colorado 611 miles
- Dallas/Ft. Worth, Texas 639 miles
- Los Angeles, California 731 miles
- Houston, Texas 784 miles
- Chicago, Illinois 1,408 miles
- Atlanta, Georgia 1,422 miles
- Detroit, Michigan 1,644 miles
- New York, New York 2,106 miles