“visit a community frozen in time”
Lincoln Historic Site is unique in that it manages most of the historical buildings in the community of Lincoln. This most widely visited state monument in New Mexico is part of a community frozen in time—the 1870's and 1880's. Through a gift from the Hubbard Family Trust, the historic site now includes 17 structures and outbuildings, 4 of which are open year round and 2 more seasonally as museums. Most of the buildings in the community are representative of the Territorial Style of adobe architecture in the American Southwest. Lincoln is a town made famous by one of the most violent periods in New Mexico history. Today's visitors can see the Old Lincoln County Courthouse with museum exhibits that recount the details of the Lincoln County War and the historic use of the "House" as store, residence, Masonic Lodge, courthouse, and jail. Walk in the footsteps of Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett, and other famous and infamous characters of the Wild West. Trace the events of 1878 through the Courthouse and the Tunstall Store, with their preserved 19th-century atmosphere. Remarkably, the Tunstall Store contains displays of the original 19th-century merchandise in the original shelving and cases! Continue your walk through history by visiting the Dr. Woods House, defensive torreón (tower) for the village, the San Juan Mission Church (you can also enjoy holiday Episcopal and Catholic Mass here), and the Montaño store. The Anderson-Freeman Museum features historical exhibits in a timeline starting with American Indian prehistory and ending with the Lincoln County War. A 12 minute video about the Lincoln County War and the community is shown throughout the day. The importance of this community and the significance of the Bonito Valley in the prehistory and history of the Territory of New Mexico are interpreted within some of the 17 structures that comprise Lincoln Historic Site. These historic adobe and stone buildings are preserved as they were in the late 1800s and represent the factions involved in the Lincoln County War, 1878-1881.
If you enjoy Old Western towns, or really even if you don't, it's worth the trip. It has the ambiance of a living ghost town: you can walk the entirety of the town in half an hour, enjoy the quiet of the mountain village, tour the buildings which remain set up as they were in the 1800's and go back in time for a day. The staff was very informative, and the bed and breakfast located on site has rather delicious food. Evidently it was voted the best preserved town in the West, and with its impressive history, the preservation is most well deserved. The artifacts on display in the Tunstall Store are in stellar condition, museum quality and definitively the best I've seen (and greatest in number) in the dozen plus western museums and towns I've visited. Perhaps I've missed better museums and sites but it was insightful, almost like an old Sears Roebuck catalogue on display. Not to mention, the drive there is scenic as well.
It's a beautiful drive there along highway 380. That's the reason I went. I was pleasantly surprised to find they have a Dia de las Muertas festival on 1 Nov, complete with wandering bands of musicians, face painting, and ghouls on horseback!
This was one of the first stops on my southwest roadtrip and I loved it. Lincoln is a tiny town, but it packs a ton of history into such a small place. You could almost imagine Billy the Kid riding down the street on a horse on his way to the Tunstall store. If you're a history fan, this is a must stop.
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Lincoln Historic Site
- Sun - Sat: 8:30 am - 4:30 pm
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