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Fort Selden Historic Site - Fort Sumner Historic Site

New Mexico Historic Forts: Explore History Where It Happened at New Mexico Forts

Bosque Redondo Memorial building, Visitor Center, Museum, and gift shop. Photo by Nika Sundaram.

Historic Fort Selden and Fort Sumner remain modern testimony to the involvement of many New Mexicans in the struggles and history of the United States.

Located 13 miles north of Las Cruces are the ghostly adobe ruins of Fort Selden, which was built in 1865 to protect American settlers from thieves and Apache raiders, particularly those along the Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, or Royal Road to the Interior. The 1600-mile land route connected Mexico City on the south to the pueblo of Ohkay Owingeh (formerly San Juan Pueblo) on the north. Fort Selden was the last stop place for vegetation and water for northbound travelers embarking on the stretch of road known as the Journey of Death, Jornada del Muerto.

Fort Selden was home to several units of black troops known as the Buffalo Soldiers. The tenacity of these brave soldiers gained the fear and respect of the Apaches. Nine of the Buffalo soldiers received the nation’s highest honor, the Medal of Honor. By 1891 the railroad had made the Camino Real obsolete and Fort Selden was abandoned.

Fort Selden Historic Site is open 8:30 a.m.–5 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. Admission is $5. Sundays are free for all NM residents with ID. Wednesday admission is free to New Mexico seniors with ID. Children 16 and under are always admitted free.

The Fort Sumner Historic Site/Bosque Redondo Memorial grounds and museum are a memorial to a grim chapter in New Mexico History. Set in the Pecos River valley is the site of old Fort Sumner.

In the 1860s, the United States Army captured an estimated 10,000 Navajos and forced them to walk 450 miles from their homeland in the Four Corners area to the Bosque Redondo Reservation. The event is known as “The Long Walk.” More than 8500 Navajos and nearly 500 Mescalero Apaches were taken prisoner at Fort Sumner. Many suffered and died during the journey, more died at the reservation due to exposure, disease, and starvation.

Shaped like a hogan and tipi, this unique museum, designed by Navajo architect David Sloan, features exhibits on the Mescalero Apache and Navajo cultures and the events surrounding “The Long Walk” and Bosque Redondo Reservation, and an interpretive trail about the site’s tragic history.

Fort Sumner Historic Site/Bosque Redondo Memorial is open

8:30 a.m.–4:30 p.m., Wednesday through Sunday. Closed Monday & Tuesdays, Thanksgiving, Christmas Day, New Year’s Day.

Admission is free.

Fort Selden Historic Site
1280 Fort Selden Road, Radium Springs, NM
575-526-8911
www.nmhistoricsites.org/fort-selden

Fort Sumner Historic Site/Bosque Redondo Memorial
3 miles east of Fort Sumner,
south 3.5 miles on Billy the Kid Road
575-355-2573
www.nmhistoricsites.org/bosque-redondo

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