New Mexico November 04, 2017
13 Things You Probably Didn’t Know About the State of New Mexico
We have an interesting state full of little bits of information. Here are 13 New Mexico facts you probably don’t know about the state. Or maybe you do. How many were you aware of?
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life. While we continue to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, please take proper precautions or add them to your bucket list to see at a later date. If you know of a local business that could use some extra support during these times, please nominate them here:
1. Following a fire in Lincoln National Forest in 1950, a little bear cub was found who grew up to become Smokey Bear — the National Fire Safety symbol. Smokey is buried in New Mexico, too. You can visit his grave and museum in Capitan. (Here is a challenge — who can tell us Smokey's original name?)
2. Santa Fe’s Palace of the Governors is the oldest government building in the U.S. Originally constructed as part of a fortress in 1609, it was converted to a history museum in 1909. The museum contains exhibits on American, Mexican, and Spanish colonization dating back to the late 1500s.
3. White Sands National Monument — located approximately 16 miles southwest of Alamogordo, in Otero and Doña Ana Counties — is not made of sand but of gleaming white gypsum crystals. It is the largest gypsum dune field in the entire world.
4. The Whole Enchilada Festival in Las Cruces once held the Guinness World Record for the largest enchilada. The event held the title from 2000 until 2010 when a city in Mexico won the honor. The enchilada measured about 10-and-a-half feet in diameter, used 750 pounds of masa, 175 pounds of cheese, 75 gallons of red chile, and 60 pounds of onions. Oh yeah, and it took 48 people to make it. (By the way, Gallup holds the record for the largest Navajo taco).
5. The Rio Grande
— New Mexico’s longest river — runs the entire length of the state. Its water flows from the Colorado Rockies’ snow-capped mountains to the Gulf of Mexico.
6. Here are four interesting tidbits about Las Vegas all rolled into one. The infamous OK Corral figure Doc Holliday operated a saloon/gambling hall and dental office here prior to moving to Tombstone, Arizona. Second, Las Vegas — named before its better-known Nevada counterpart
— was New Mexico’s largest city at the turn of the 20th Century. Third, it was the first territorial capital for one whole day! Finally, Las Vegas has nine historic districts on the National Registry with 900 buildings. This is more than any city in the entire United States.
7. If you stand atop the 8,182-foot high Capulin Volcano in Union County, in the northeastern part of the state, you can see five states: Oklahoma, Colorado, Kansas, Texas, and, of course, New Mexico.
8. The Gold Rush started in New Mexico when Jose F. Ortiz struck gold in Dolores (near Cerrillos). His strike, in 1827, took place almost two decades before the California gold rush. And here's a factoid — Thomas Edison had a large plant near the mine where he attempted to extract gold using static electricity. It wasn't one of his best inventions. The plant closed shortly after it opened.
9. Thomas Edward Ketchum — better known as "Black Jack" — is the only person hanged in New Mexico for "felonious assault upon a railway train" which, at the time, was a capital offense. He was also the only person hanged in Union Count (Clayton). Sadly, he also has the dubious distinction of being the only person in the U.S. who was ever decapitated during a legal hanging.
10. One of the U.S.’s largest national forest is right here in New Mexico. The Gila National Forest manages a whopping 3.3 million acres, including the Gila Wilderness. In fact, New Mexico has seven national forests, covering one-fourth of the entire state.
11. Located south of Cimarron is Philmont Scout Ranch — the largest camping facility in the world. Each year, more than 18,000 scouts from across the globe visit the 140,177-acre ranch. Oh yeah, and
it’s (allegedly) haunted.
12. We love our New Mexico film industry and all the great movies filmed here. The very first New Mexico movie was filmed in 1898. Made by Thomas Edison, the silent, black and white film called "
Indian Day School," had a run time of about 30 seconds and featured children going in and out of the Isleta Indian School.
13. On July 16, 1945, the world’s first atomic bomb was detonated on the White Sands Testing Range in Alamogordo. Today this area is known as the Trinity Site.
There you have it, 13 facts about New Mexico you might not have known. How many had you heard about? Do you know any other interesting factoids about the Land of Enchantment? Please share below.