Fascinating Facts

About New Mexico

From the booklet

"Did You Know New Mexico?"

By Melinda Mullins and Josh Bryant

       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 Mary.

       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.

      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.

       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.

      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.

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, 505-988-4226.

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