The worst disaster in U.S. mining history occurred
in Dawson, in October 1913. An incorrectly set dynamite charge
caused an explosion that killed 263 miners, sparing only a few.
Ten years later, a mine train jumped the track and destroyed
tunnel supports, killing another 124 miners. Some of them
were sons of the men killed in the 1913 disaster.
In 1901 outlaw Black Jack Ketchum was hanged
in Clayton, but to the horror of onlookers, the noose actually
took off his head. It later was sewn back on, so that Black Jack
could have "a proper burial."
Prior to 1863, the town of Mesilla was on
the west side of the Rio Grande. But ever since a flood
that year, it has been on the east side of the river.
The rough-and-ready village of Loma Parda,
west of Fort Union on New Mexico's Great Plains, harbored
a group of prostitutes who did business out of nearby caves
in the 1880s, until they made enough money to move into town.
One of the best-known Fort Union prostitutes was called Adobe
New Mexico's first American territorial governor,
Charles Bent, was scalped alive by Indians, then killed
in his home in Taos, while his wife and children escaped to safety
by using kitchen utensils to dig their way through the back wall
of their adobe home.
The southern New Mexico city of Truth or Consequences
was named for a popular radio and television quiz show of the
1940s and '50s. Historically called Hot Springs, the town
voted for the change its name after the show's host, Ralph
Edwards, promised to host a yearly festival for a community
that would adopt his program's name. For more than 20 years he
kept that pledge.
Six of the North American continent's seven
life zones are found in New Mexico, ranging from Arctic Alpine
to Lower Sonoran Desert.
Most of the Marlboro Man cigarette ads were
shot in northeastern New Mexico, before the Marlboro Man died
of lung cancer.
In 1970, the Rio Grande became the nation's
first official wild and scenic river, so designated by
an act of the U.S. Congress.
Taos has more artists per capita than Paris,
The annual Albuquerque International Balloon
Fiesta is the largest hot-air balloon event in the world,
and the most-photographed event of any kind. It was started
in 1972, with just 13 balloons ascending from a mall parking lot.
New Mexico's 121,666 square miles equal the
combined land area of Maine, New Hampshire, Vermont, Massachusetts,
Rhode Island, Connecticut, New York, New Jersey and Delaware.
That's all of New England, plus three other states. New Mexico
ranks fifth in land size, behind Alaska, Texas, Montana
In the southern New Mexico town of Lake Arthur,
thousands of visitors come each year to see a tortilla
with the image of Jesus Christ on it.
Los Alamos has the highest concentration
of Ph.D.'s of any community in the country.
The tiny town of Cimarron in northeastern
New Mexico was a stagecoach stop along the branch of the Old
Santa Fe Trail that went to Taos. Notable folks who stopped
in town and stayed at the still-open St. James Hotel included
Buffalo Bill, Jesse James, Annie Oakley, Frederick Remington
(who used the hotel for a base while he was painting in the
countryside) and Zane Grey (who wrote "Fighting Caravans"
while staying there).
Eight hundred dinosaur footprints are fossilized
in sandstone 18 miles north of Clayton, in New Mexico's northeastern
The "World's Richest Duck Race" takes place
every August in Deming, near the Mexican border. It draws about
500 ducks and 25,000 spectators.
In 1863 President Abraham Lincoln gave each
of the 19 New Mexico Indian pueblos an ebony cane with a silver
tip inscribed with his signature to reward them for remaining
neutral during the Civil War. These canes are still passed
down from governor to governor as a symbol of their authority.
Within 10 months of Billy the Kid's death,
eight novels had been published about him.
Pancho Villa's 1916 attack on Columbus, NM, remains
the only invasion of the United States since the War of 1812.
Eighteen Americans were killed.
Gangster Al Capone had a secret hideaway
in Jemez Springs.
Nine hundred buildings in Las Vegas, NM,
are on the National Register of Historic Places. The city's
Carnegie Library is modeled after Monticello, the
home of Thomas Jefferson.
A few of the movies filmed in New Mexico include:
Oklahoma!, Hollywood or Bust!, The Cheyenne Social Club,
Jonathan Livingston Seagull, The Man Who Fell to Earth, The Black
Stallion Returns, Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade, City Slickers,
Lonesome Dove and All the Pretty Horses. Some of
the movies NOT FILMED in New Mexico are: In Old New Mexico,
In Old Santa Fe, Lights of Old Santa Fe, Pat Garrett and Billy
the Kid, Santa Fe, Santa Fe Passage, Santa Fe Marshal, Santa Fe
Stampede, Santa Fe Trail and South of Santa Fe.
To order or purchase "Did You
Know New Mexico? Startling Facts About the Land of Enchantment"
by Melinda Mullins and Josh Bryant, visit or contact the Collected
Works Bookstore, 208 W. San Francisco St., Santa Fe, NM 87501-6415,