Mesillah Plaza - Las Cruces, NM
Posted by: Groundspeak Premium Member kallehaugerne
N 32° 16.455 W 106° 47.723
13S E 330911 N 3572249
Quick Description: Just south east of Las Cruces historical town Mesillah is located. The plaza and a number of its surrounding buildings are a National Historic Landmark District.
Location: New Mexico, United States
Date Posted: 5/15/2020 3:03:48 AM
Waymark Code: WM12F7D
Published By: Groundspeak Premium Member iconions
Views: 0

Long Description:
"Mesilla Plaza is the central plaza in the small town of Mesilla in far southern New Mexico. The plaza and a number of its surrounding buildings are a National Historic Landmark District, significant for its role in the transfers of power that brought first the original New Mexico Territory and later the Gadsden Purchase into United States control. The most notable building facing the plaza is the Basilica of San Albino, which has been on the plaza since its establishment in 1851. The plaza was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1961.

The town of Mesilla was created by a Mexican government decree in 1848, as a place to receive Mexican citizens who sought to remain on Mexican soil after the cession of the northern parts of present-day New Mexico were ceded to the United States in the 1848 Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo, which ended the Mexican–American War. Just five years later, the Gadsden Purchase agreement result in the United States purchase of the southern strips of present-day New Mexico and Arizona, an area that includes Mesilla. The Mesilla Plaza was the site of an official flag-raising ceremony on November 18, 1854, confirming United States sovereignty over the area. The town continued to hold a prominent economic role in territorial affairs, serving as a stop on the Butterfield Overland Mail route, and other stagecoach routes. It served as a military center during the American Civil War, at different times for both Union and Confederate forces in the Arizona Territory.

Mesilla Plaza was the site of one of the bloodiest political riots in New Mexico history. On August 27, 1871, Democrats held a large political rally in the plaza for their candidate for territorial delegate to the United States Congress. Republicans were also holding a rally at a nearby home for their candidate. The Republicans moved from the house to the plaza to disrupt the Democrats' rally. The two groups confronted each other yelling and shoving. One man was struck with an axe handle and then shooting started. Soldiers from nearby Fort Selden stationed in the town to stop any violence had left earlier when it appeared the rallies were peaceful. A messenger caught up with the soldiers and they returned to Mesilla. By then, most of the violence was over. Nine people were killed, and an estimated fifty people were injured.

The plaza today is still ringed by many buildings harkening back to its early days. The plaza itself, originally an open dirt area, is now lined by brick sidewalks and is grassy, and sports a bandstand built in the 1970s. The most prominent structure is the Basilica of San Albino, built in 1906 on the site of the original 1852 church. Buildings on the east and west sides include Territorial style buildings from the 1850s, among them the original Butterfield State ticket office and waiting room. Some buildings were originally built as residences, but have since been readapted for commercial use, while some were originally built for commercial use."

Street address:
Mesilla Plaza
Las Cruces, New Mexico United States

County / Borough / Parish: Dona Ana

Year listed: 1966

Historic (Areas of) Significance: event

Periods of significance: 1850-1874

Historic function: Commerce/Trade,Religion

Current function: Commerce/Trade, Religion

Privately owned?: no

Primary Web Site: [Web Link]

Secondary Website 1: [Web Link]

Secondary Website 2: [Web Link]

National Historic Landmark Link: [Web Link]

Season start / Season finish: Not listed

Hours of operation: Not listed

Visit Instructions:
Please give the date and brief account of your visit. Include any additional observations or information that you may have, particularly about the current condition of the site. Additional photos are highly encouraged, but not mandatory.
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