Last summer we spent a week exploring Lincoln County New Mexico. We based ourselves out of Ruidoso and ventured out each day to local sites. President Rutherford B. Hayes called Lincoln’s main street “the most dangerous street in America.” In this quiet one-street community visitors can now walk in the footsteps of Sheriff Pat Garrett, Billy the Kid, and other infamous characters involved in the Lincoln County War, 1878-1881.
Today the village is making up for the three years of violence. It would be hard to find another place more peaceful and quiet.
Lincoln is truly a community frozen in time. Thank you America for creating Historic Sites and Landmarks, otherwise so much of our Western history could have been lost. Lincoln Historic Site, a National Historical Landmark, preserves numerous historical buildings much as they were during one of the most violent periods of New Mexico history.
Begin your visit at the Visitor’s Center/Museum. Here you can obtain a walking brochure of the village and a $5 ticket to get you into the opened buildings. Some of the buildings are staffed by park personnel and a few rely on volunteers.
La Iglesia de San Juan-Bautista Church.. It was built in 1887.
The Old Dolan Home, built in 1988 by J.J. Dolan went on to become a hotel and is now a delightful Bed & Breakfast. In 2007, Bill and Beverly Strauser purchased The Dolan House and have spent the past 8 years restoring both the inside and outside of the house establishing a small restaurant, gift shop and Bed & Breakfast. On the day we visited we had lunch in their dining room. It was delicious. There is only one bedroom to rent, so you will enjoy a nice quiet experience.
I thoroughly enjoyed freshly made chicken salad on a croissant. I could have eaten a container of the macaroni salad. It was soooo good, but couldn’t get the recipe. Just looking at this I am salivating, must be getting close to dinner time. It’s tacos at our house tonight, what are you having?
We were lucky, the Tundall Store relies on volunteers and it was open the day of our visit. It’s truly a step back in time. The Tunstall Store’s original 19th century merchandise is on display. How did this happen? Decades ago the store was converted into a local hardware store. The owner boxed up everything and stored it in the basement. Now it’s on display again for everyone to see and enjoy.
Look at these old shoes and on the right the button hooks to close them up. Feet were so much smaller in the 1800’s.
Display cases use to be beautiful. Imagine pulling open these drawers to decide what threads you needed to purchase that day. An entire drawer devoted to white and black thread.
This display is located in the museum. A box designed specifically to hold gloves.
Besides feet being smaller in the 1800’s, people were too. Here’s my personal driver, otherwise known as Jim, standing in a doorway. He is about 5″5″ and there wasn’t much room between his head and the top of the doorway. One advantage for us vertically challenged folk, we don’t need to do a whole lot of ducking!
We can’t leave Lincoln without mentioning one of the main characters. Can you guess who?
This bullet hole is now protected by plexiglass. As you can read, legend has it Billy the Kid’s six shooter created this hole during his escape from Lincoln.
As you can see from the pictures, it was a beautiful day to visit. If you would like to visit the B & B, here’s the link to their website thedolanhouse.com.
To learn more about Lincoln Historic Site you can click here nmmonuments.org/lincoln.
Another must see is Smokey the Bear Historic Park. You can read about it here tucsonkathy.com/smokey-bear-hist…
There’s a lot to offer in Lincoln County. When you go visit, please come back and tell me what were your favorites. Watch out for Billy the Kid, he seems to have been everywhere in New Mexico!