Friday, April 28, 2017

Columbus, NM and Pancho Villa State Park

We decided to visit Columbus, NM and the Pancho Villa SP.  They are about 35 miles south of Deming and we set off to check them out.  We were there a couple years ago and didn't have that much time to fully explore the area and wanted to visit it again.

The house shown below was in Deming and was brightly decorated.  It stood out and you couldn't miss it as you drove by.  You never know what you are going to find when you get off the beaten track.

 Columbus, a small town about 3 miles from the Mexican border, is remembered for when Pancho Villa raided the town in 1916.  He underestimated the number of US troops that were there and suffered the loss of about 70 of his men.  Pancho Villa was fighting the Mexican government with the intention of overthrowing the ruling party.  One theory is that he wanted to draw the US into the battle and receive help from a couple countries.  That didn't work.

General Black Jack Pershing used airplanes, trucks, cars, etc. to chase Pancho Villa around Mexico but never caught him.  He had 6 airplanes and it took a week or so to get them to Columbus due to the lack of airports and fuel.  They had to bring the fuel in trucks over dirt roads for hundreds of miles and that took time.

The planes were only used to search for Pancho and didn't have guns on them.  Over the course of a couple years the planes crashed, fell apart and weren't of that much help.  

1st Aero Squadron 

1916 armored tank

The state park is located on what used to be the Army base that supplied the troops chasing Pancho Villa and his troops.  Now the base is used as a state park with campsites, a neat museum, and buildings from the base that are 100 years old.

 Interpretive walking trails wind through extensive botanical gardens and many cacti had beautiful blooms on full display.  There are more than 30 different cacti at Pancho Villa State Park.  Now if I only could identify more than 4-5 of the varieties that would be fantastic.


The railroad was established to transport copper ore from Bisbee, AZ to El Paso, TX for refinement.  It immediately became a multipurpose line with passenger and freight business.  The passenger carrier became famous for the daily runs from California to El Paso.

The railroad had many ups and downs and closed for good in December 1961.  The last message sent by the telegrapher was "What Hath God Wrought".


The building below was the Hoover Hotel in Columbus.  Mr. Hoover was Mayor of Columbus at the time of the infamous Villa raid.  The Hoover Hotel was the center of some of the heaviest fighting the morning of March 9th.  Lt Castleman had set his machine gun and line of defense in the street just north of the hotel.  Castleman chose that location for several reasons..  1. to protect the bank. 2. to keep the Villistas from going north up Ease Boundry where Camp Commander Col H J Slocum resided. 3. Castleman's family also live on East Boundry.  4. Castleman's action also protected the Hoover Hotel residents.

If you are ever in the area make sure you take time to visit the museum and take a walk around the park.  They are updating the camping area and installing more 50am electric sites and making them bigger by combining two sites.  That will make it much nicer for the larger motorhomes that require 50amp service to operate better.  

That was our day, how was yours?


  1. What a neat place to explore. Just wondering - being that close to the border, how safe is the campground?

    1. We chatted with the volunteer at the State Park & he didn't indicate there is a problem. Most illegals want to get as far from the border as they can & don't want to draw attention to themselves.

  2. We stayed in the campground and went across to Mexcio. They have the purple store that is famous for margaritas and fun. We had a great time.