Southern Gay Resource Directory
Las Cruces, New Mexico’s second largest city, and the Mesilla Valley are the Crossroads of the Southwest, both today and for the past four centuries. In 1598, Don Juan de Onate passed through the Mesilla Valley in search of the fabled Seven Cities of Gold. His early exploration opened the way from Mexico City to Santa Fe where tradesmen and colonists journeyed along El Camino Real.
The most common legend of the origin of the city’s name refers to a Jardin de Las Cruces (Garden of the Crosses) created for victims of Apache raids witnessed by travelers of El Camino Real. The Gadsden Purchase in 1854 and the subsequent arrival of the railroad in 1881 were two significant events in the growth of Las Cruces and by 1900, the population of Las Cruces was expanding rapidly.
New Mexico State University, established in 1889, is a key contributor to the economy and culture of Las Cruces and the surrounding area. In the past decade, Las Cruces has experienced significant growth due to its mild annual weather and positive business climate. The city is home to The Whole Enchilada Fiesta and the International Mariachi Conference. Just south of the Las Cruces city limits is Historic Mesilla. In 1848, following the war with Mexico, the Mexican Government commissioned Father Ramon Ortiz to settle the village of Mesilla. Village residences and shops where built around a plaza and the Basilica of San Albino. The Gadsden Purchase, signed on the historic Mesilla Plaza, brought Mesilla under the protection of the United States.
Many of Mesilla’s buildings date back to the mid-1850’s period and have been restored and preserved as examples of adobe territorial architecture common during that time period. Quaint shops, galleries and popular restaurants continue to attract locals and visitors to the plaza area and community as a whole.
Ruidoso, New Mexico is high in the Rocky Mountains of southeastern New Mexico. Towering above the Village of Ruidoso is Sierra Blanca and the New Mexico ski resort, Ski Apache. Ruidoso weather is mild and great for enjoying the outdoors and the natural wonders that abound in Ruidoso, Lincoln County and the Lincoln National Forest.
The Ruidoso Downs Race Track is home to the richest quarter horse race in the world; the all American Futurity. The Ruidoso area claims two of New Mexico’s finest casinos; Inn of the Mountain Gods and Billy the Kid Casino. The Spencer Theater for the Perfoming Arts is a world class performance hall. There is live music at many Ruidoso venues including the renowned country western bar Win Place and Show, outdoor cafes and many Ruidoso restaurants. For the active vacation, Ruidoso offers some of the best outdoor recreation around including top rated golf courses, horseback riding, high altitude bicycling, camping, hiking, skiing, golf, tennis, art galleries, museums and shopping aplenty. With all Ruidoso has to offer, the top rated activity in Ruidoso remains relaxing and enjoying the magnificent mountain views.
Like most of the small cities in New Mexico, Roswell has encountered many challenges of the past 125 years. Billy the Kid, the Lincoln County War, and raids on the Chisum Ranch by the Mescalero Apaches in the 1880’s color our early history, including the alien invasion of 1947.
The Town of Silver City sits atop a site that has been home to Native American, Hispanic and Anglo settlers for hundreds of years, and these vibrant cultures fill an important part of the Town’s exciting present day.
The Town of Silver City was formed in the 1870’s after the discovery of silver in and around the Town. Silver City quickly became a boom town, and our Wild West past includes the first arrest and (brief) incarceration of William Bonney, better known as Billy the Kid. Although Bonney moved on, the Kid’s family lived in the area for many years, and his mother is buried in the Town’s Memory Lane Cemetery.
Today, Silver City is a bustling town with a diverse business community, a four-year university and an award-winning historic downtown.
TRUTH OR CONSEQUENCES
Located along Interstate 25, 150 miles south of Albuquerque and 75 miles north of Las Cruces is the funky little city of Truth or Consequences. The Rio Grande flows through town just downstream from Elephant Butte Lake which is the largest and most popular lake in New Mexico, Elephant Butte State Park provides camping, boating, water skiing, swimming, fishing and other outdoor recreation year-round. Turtleback Mountain is on the East side of the Rio Grande. This distinctive peak gets its name from its tip top of rough volcanic rock resembling a great turtle.
Truth or Consequences has a long history around its hot springs. People gathered around the hot mineral water percolating up in the Rio Grande’s sandy marshlands where downtown T or C now stands. The ancients built pueblo dwellings and farmed the surround area. They assembled around the hot spring for socializing and healing. The first bathhouse was built in 1882 by cowbowys from the John Cross Ranch. More bathhouses followed. Construction of the Elephant Butte Dam (1911-1916) brought hundreds of workers to the area. Upon completion of the dam, many settled by the hot springs, floating their small cabins down the Rio Grande from the dam site.
On March 31st, 1950, the town’s citizens voted 1294 to 295 to change its name from Hot Springs to Truth or Consequences as a response to Ralph Edwards;(producer of the popular radio game show)request. On April 1 1950, Ralph Edwards came to T or C to lead the first fiesta celebration and returned each year for 50 years because he was inspired by the town’s focus on recreation and healing.
T or C’s downtown is filled with historic buildings, many dating from the 1920’s – 1940’s when the town was a thriving health resort. A water table of 104 degree hot mineral water underlies much of downtown. Many of the town’s bathhouses offer private soaking tubs or pebble-bottom pools available on an hourly basis and provide other luxury amenities such as massage therapy.
Besides being a stress-free, relaxing getaway, Truth or Consequences has a colorful and funky downtown with numerous shops that offer New Age gifts, antiques and art galleries displaying the hand-crafted work of local artists. After you bathe and shop you must try the variety of restaurants serving delicious local cuisine.
Southern New Mexico is home to the beautiful White Sands Desert and the Festival of the Cranes at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge where the return of the Sandhill Cranes each winter is a spectacular sight witnessed by wildlife enthusiasts from around the world. Carlsbad Caverns National Park attracts thousands of visitors each year to view its incredible lime stone cave formations. The town of Roswell has capitolized on its Famous “Area 51” incident in the last decade and you can visit the International UFO Museum and Research Center to see all about it.
Altogether, from a bustling Las Cruces, home to a growing LGBT population, to wildlife and beautiful scenery, to relaxing mud-baths and alien mysteries, southern New Mexico has plenty to see and do.