Museum of New Mexico Media Center Press Release

Fort Stanton & Old Lincoln Days

New Mexico Historic Sites

July 27, 2010


July 27, 2010

Fort Stanton Live!, Old Lincoln Days

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Fort Stanton - a Southern New Mexico landmark since the days of Billy the Kid, Kit Carson and the Buffalo Soldiers - celebrates its continued service to New Mexico and the United States with Fort Stanton Live! August 6-8, 2010.


The nearby historic town of Lincoln, a town little changed from the 1800s, will share the weekend spotlight when it hosts the Old Lincoln Days and Billy the Kid Pageant that same weekend, August 6-8, 2010.


 “The military history of New Mexico is long and crosses all cultural boundaries,” said Michael Cerletti, Secretary of the New Mexico Tourism Department. “Lincoln County is much more than a reminder of days gone by, however. It is a big part of who we are today, and these celebrations pay tribute to our Western heritage and our future. Plus, they promise to be a whole lot of fun.”


Activities and participants at Fort Stanton Live! include Buffalo Soldiers, concessions and live music by the Flying J Wranglers, historical presentations, military reenactments, a military ball, a Victorian Ladies’ Tea and Victorian Minstrel Show.


Fort Stanton was established in 1855 on the banks of the Rio Bonito. As part of western expansion, its main objective was to guard Hispanic and Anglo settlers from Mescalero Apache raids. It played a major role in the Indian Wars until the late 1800s and a lesser one in the Civil War. Its federal cavalrymen also intervened in the Lincoln County War. Southwest history, including the presence of Buffalo Soldiers, can be viewed through its unique stone architecture, which has outlived that of adobe forts. Luminaries such as Kit Carson, General “Black Jack” Pershing and Gov. Lew Wallace resided here.


Decommissioned in 1896, the fort became a Marine Hospital, adding the Merchant Marine Cemetery where veterans are buried. It was also later used as America’s first interment camp and a German POW facility. In 2007 Fort Stanton was designated as a New Mexico State Monument.


For more information on Fort Stanton Live! call 575-430-1698, write or visit


The Billy the Kid re-enactment of his escape from the Lincoln County Courthouse and Jail in 1881 is Aug. 6 and Aug. 7 at 8:30 pm and Aug. 8 at 3:30 p.m.  Pageant hours are 8:30 a.m. – 4:30 p.m.  Artisans from blacksmiths to tin artists, farmers to soldiers, and traditional storytellers will entertain along with local musicians.  Historic re-enactors in period dress will wander the streets of the town. Food and lots of festivities make this one of the most popular events in New Mexico. 


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 State Monument. 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.


Lincoln State Monument manages most of the historical buildings in the community of Lincoln. 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 yesteryear through the Courthouse and the Tunstall Store, with their preserved 19th-century atmosphere.


For information on Old Lincoln Days, call 575-653-4372 or visit



Mike Stauffer, Communications Director, New Mexico Tourism Department






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