Pancho Villa, Geronimo, and Old West Gunfights
New Mexico Highway 9 into ColumbusNew Mexico Highway 9 into Columbus
On February 13th, we booked it out of El Paso as the mother of all Winter Storms was still on our heels. Running along the southern US border on New Mexico Highway 9, our first stop was a quick revisit of Columbus, the site of the Battle of Columbus in 1916.
Columbus, NMBorderland Cafe in Columbus, NM
This small community just three miles north of the Mexican Border is known most for Pancho Villa's raid on March 9, 1916, which resulted in US forces mobilizing and sending troops across the border. A fascinating tale related to us by author Jesse L. “Wolf” Hardin back in 2006 which you can read here.
There's a museum on the highway, along with Pancho Villa State Park that is worth a visit.
We missed this while we were there, but just outside of Columbus going north is the City of the Sun Foundation. Established in 1972 this quirky "utopian" place is one of the oldest New Age intentional communities in the state.
As we continued on Highway 9, we also made a stop to refresh our photos of the ghost town of Hachita. At the entrance to the bootheel of southwestern New Mexico, the original town of Hachita was settled around 1875 as a mining camp. In 1902, when tracks were laid for the El Paso and Southwestern Railroad nine miles east of Hachita, another competing settlement sprang up, drawing away from the original town and dividing residents between “Old Hachita” and the new Hachita.
Hachita New MexicoHachita New Mexico
Mining continued in Old Hachita until around 1920, but it was eventually abandoned. At its peak, the new Hachita had about 700 residents, today it is less than 50. Read about the town's connection with old west outlaws and the Mexican Revolution here.
Chiricahua Mountains AZChiricahua Mountains AZ
Pushing on into Arizona we can see the Chiricahua Mountains ahead. Lots of great history in this region, dominated by Apache Warrior Geronimo. The Chiricahua Apache fought hard in Mexico and the southern US territories against the incursion of settlers on their lands, with Geronimo being one of the last holdouts.
A monument can be found off Historic Arizona highway 80 at Apache, AZ. This stop commemorates the surrender of Geronimo nearby, but the region is full of tales of the Apache's fight against the invasion of their homelands. Read about Geronimo here. You may also be interested in our article about the Apache Wars here.
One of our primary destinations this trip was to revisit Tombstone, with our last visit back in 2007. Upon our arrival, we were greeted by Sixgun Miller. Joe has deep ties to Arkansas and Fort Smith, where he learned about our website in its early days and has been a reader since. The actor and gunfighter is also the founder of Gunslinger's Mall, Arkansas Largest Frontier Classics Clothing Dealer with over 25 product lines for Film, Reenactors, Sass shooters and CMSA folks. It was great to see you Sixgun.
Here he was inviting us to a gunfight... or at least to watch one at The Gunfight Palace.
It was a good show worth the admission and touted to be based on historical facts, instead of Hollywood stories.
Doc says to use the hand sanitizer on your way in. We did our part in wearing masks when we should and socially distanced as much as possible.
Allen street must be one of the most well-known blocks for Old West history in the U.S. With names like Doc Holliday, the Earp brothers Wyatt, James, Virgil and Morgan, Johnny Ringo, Big Nose Kate, and many more once prominently figured here.
We were there in time to catch the annual Tombstone Vigilante Days, which include gunfight reenactments, street entertainment, gunfight competitions, hangings, and more. Despite Kathy's best effort, she could not get a pic of me with a noose around my neck.
Of course, there is more to Tombstone than just Allen Street. Check out the historic Cochise County Court House, Boot Hill Museum on the edge of town off historic hwy 80, or take a tour of more via Stage Coach.
The family would also enjoy a visit to Old Tombstone Western Theme Park a block off Allen St.
There's a lot to do in Tombstone, and a lot to read about and see on our website. Start with our article on Tombstone and visit the many links to historic text, characters, gunfights, saloons, and more included.
Also see our Tombstone Photo Gallery, which we will be adding to very soon.
There is more to do close by, but as the Sun Sets in the West, we must saddle up for now. Next up Bisbee, Lowell, ghost towns, and a bit of Naco.
See you on the road!
While here, we stayed at the Tombstone RV Park and Campground. A good place for the family to be close to Tombstone, yet away from the hubbub. Clean park, community center, laundry, showers, and bathrooms, with pull-throughs and full hookups.
A couple of items of note though for our readers. This park charges a little extra if you have a dog. Our furry kids did not like the fine sharp rock they used for the streets and RV slots. The Dog Run behind the office is the same "rock." Signs around most grass areas instruct you to keep pets off. So, we're not sure what we got for the extra charge.
They also advertise Wifi, however during our stay we never could get it to work well, or at all most of the time. We were warned coming in that it was a busy weekend, however, we tried at 3 am in the morning, and again after many of the RV's had cleared out on Tuesday morning, and still couldn't get it to work. A fix might have been as simple as rebooting their wifi system but be forewarned in case this is the norm. We had a weak ATT data signal here inside our Travel Trailer.
We're traveling in a 30' Cheyenne Grey Wolf travel trailer.
Keywords: attractions, Columbus, Geronimo, ghost town, Hachita, history, information, New Mexico, Pancho Villa, Tombstone, travel
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