As early as 400 A.D., Native American farmers, the Mogollon, lived on the same land that would become Fort Selden centuries later. In 1598, the area was known as Paraje Robledo, or Cruz de Robledo, a welcome paraje, or campsite, on El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, or the Royal Road to the Interior Lands. Today, visitors to Fort Selden can walk across 1,400 years of history and set foot on an authentic portion of El Camino Real.
Fort Selden was established near modern-day Las Cruces in April 1865 to bring peace to the region—a “peace” that was part of the nation’s Indian Wars. In addition, several of the troops that served at Fort Selden belonged to African American regiments referred to as Buffalo Soldiers. Fort Selden was abandoned in 1891 as the needs of the military changed. Today, ghostly adobe ruins are all that remain, offering visitors a glimpse of another time.
In recent years, Fort Selden has amped up its efforts to meld stories of the past with their descendant communities—and do so in ways that engage a new wave of visitors. With the Campaign for New Mexico History, Fort Selden Historic Site will:
Let’s face it: It gets hot in southern New Mexico. By providing simple shade structures that can be used for activities like demonstrations, living history, and hands- on fun, the site can expand its year-round efforts. In addition, a large shade structure for school tours will provide spaces where groups of children can experience what is was like to live in the past.
This includes the site events center on the existing pavilion, which visitors also use daily for picnics. Upgrades would include better lighting, fans, and a new ﬁ replace. Expanding the structure to double its size will help accommodate more visitors during special events. Expansion would also include a children’s play area adjacent to the pavilion for families.
Visitors would wind along pathways and stop at key places to read about the site’s history.