El Camino Real Historic Trail Site

5th Annual Historic Forts Day at El Camino Real International Heritage Center

February 09, 2010


5th Annual Historic Forts Day at El Camino Real International Heritage Center


El Camino Real International Heritage Center will host its 5th annual Historic Forts Day on Saturday, February 20th, 11 am – 4 pm.  The event will include living history re-enactments of soldier camp activities including bullet-making, black powder demonstration, treadle sewing, open fire and horno cooking as well as a carreta/wagon building demonstration.  The event will also feature a special lecture series about forts in New Mexico courtesy of the New Mexico Historical Society.  Shuttle service from Socorro will be available, 575-835-1501.


The event will begin at 10 am with a slide-show lecture on Fort Stanton by Gwendolyn Rogers, courtesy of Lincoln State Monument.  Rogers’ presentation will include information on the history of Fort Stanton as well as current preservation efforts at the fort.


At 11 am the Socorro Back Country Horsemen will conduct a talk and demonstration on mule packing.  The Back Country Horsemen is a unique organization that works with the United States Forest Service, Bureau of Land Management, National Park Service and other agencies to preserve and maintain the back country so that everyone has the freedom to enjoy it. As a service organization they offer their expertise to assist public agencies to manage continuing recreational livestock use on public lands.  Members of the Socorro Back Country Horsemen assisted the Bureau of Land Management in burning the recreational trail at the Center during Preservation Month in 2006 and have continued to present demonstrations and information to visitors during special events at the Center.


Members of the New Mexico Historical Society will present a short-lecture series on the role of forts in New Mexico.  The first slide show lecture, “Early Colonial Military and El Camino Real,” will be presented by Ms. Henrietta Christmas at 1 pm.  The lecture will be a presentation about the soldiers and their duties specifically focusing on Bernardo Bustamante, Bernardo Miera y Pacheco and Manuel Delgado.  A resident of Corrales, Ms. Christmas has been an historical and genealogical researcher for the past 27 years.  She has given numerous talks on the early history of the Pojoaque Valley and of the Trementina area as well as on the Spanish Colonial Military.  She is currently working on compiling a book on Chaperito and its surrounding villages, now a ghost town.  She recently completed The Santa Fe Presidio Soldiers - Their Donation to the American Revolution which outlines 177 soldiers who donated money to the American Revolutionary cause.  Ms. Christmas has written over 100 articles for various journals relating to genealogy and history. She has served on the Historical Society of New Mexico Board since 2007 and is currently serves as secretary of the organization.


The second lecture by the New Mexico Historical Society will be presented by Mr. Don Bullis at 2:30 pm entitled “The U.S. Army on the Western Frontier, 1866-1890.”  A resident of Rio Rancho, Mr. Bullis has a bachelor’s degree in American History and American Literature from Eastern New Mexico University.  He worked in public relations and as a newspaperman prior to beginning a 20 year career in law enforcement, retiring in 2002 as a criminal intelligence operational supervisor for the New Mexico Department of Public Safety.  After retirement, Mr. Bullis returned to newspaper work and writing, authoring three nonfiction books, including most recently New Mexico: A Biographical Dictionary (2007) and two novels with New Mexico themes.  Currently he serves as the Sheriff (President) of the Albuquerque Corral of Westerners International.  He has been a member of the Historical Society of New Mexico Board since 2007 and is currently the organization’s 2nd vice-president.


The event will conclude with a 3:30 pm video presentation, History of Fort Selden.  Fort Selden State Monument Manager Nathan Stone will be at the Center to talk about the history of the fort as well as discuss preservation efforts at the site.


Educational programs and activities are made possible by El Camino Real IHC Foundation and the Museums of New Mexico Foundation.


El Camino Real International Heritage Center is a New Mexico State Monument operated by the Department of Cultural Affairs.



El Camino Real International Heritage Center, 300 East County Road 1598, San Antonio, NM 87832.  Located on I-25 between Socorro and T or C, Exit115.


COST:  Event free with paid Monument admission.  Free admission for ages 16 & under.  Free admission for MNM and ECRIHC Foundation members.  Single adult visit, $5.


FOR MORE INFORMATION:  575-854-3600, or visit www.elcaminoreal.org



Opening its doors to the public in November 2005 as the sixth addition to NM State Monuments, El Camino Real International Heritage Center commemorates the oldest commuted trail in the United States.  This trail, El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, is one of the most important legacies of the Spanish settlers who arrived in New Mexico in 1598.  This Royal Road to the Interior Land extended 1,500 miles between Mexico City and San Juan de los Caballeros, in the Española Valley north of Santa Fe.  El Camino Real became a vital trade route linking Spain, Mexico, New Mexico and later the United States.  As Interstate 25, the North-South trade route continues to foster the exchange of people, culture, ideas and products in the 21st Century. 


The Center offers fascinating, informative state-of-the-art exhibits while taking a virtual tour along the trail from Mexico City to Santa Fe, New Mexico.  Enjoy outdoor gardens, walking trails, self-guided audio tour, and gift shop.




School groups free.  Children 16 and younger free. Sundays free for NM residents with ID.  Wednesdays free for NM resident senior citizens (60+) with ID.  Free for Museum of NM Foundation and ECRIHC Foundation members.  Single visit, $5.00.


Open 6 days a week, 8:30 am – 5 pm.   Closed Tuesdays.  Closed Thanksgiving, Christmas, New Year’s, and Easter.






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