Roswell New Mexico History Essay Research Paper

Roswell New Mexico History Essay, Research Paper

Roswell s beginnings aren t very complex at all in fact it was almost a coincidence that Roswell was even founded, it was all in part to a couple of trading routes and a few ranchers. But it grew into a prosperous town with the help of some different buildings and people. Roswell has lots of history in just it s simple or smaller things such as its parks and it s first bank First National Bank which holds still in it s vault a bag of half dollars and a safe originally brought to Roswell in 1889.

Roswell s beginnings did not start as most people thought as of late. Roswell, as most people don t know, was first in 1581, only as a camp for an over night stay. By the wealthy Spanish cavalier Don Antonio de Espejo, who came from Mexico with a posse of 15 to find Friars Francisco Lopez and Juan de Santa Maria. After finishing his primary mission, which the found them dead, (Espejo did what he loved to do, which was exploring). Espejo explored a lot of New Mexico but as some of his men got sick so they headed home. As they went down the Pecos River 300 Miles they camped at what is now Roswell. Upon his return to Mexico He reported all that he saw and said that New Mexico was full of rich land and had great mineral wealth.

The first attempted to colonize NM by Mexico was in 1590-91 by Gasper Castano de Sosa and 170 other women, children and men. It ended with the arrest of Sosa for illegal entry. Many years after the initial colonization of the territory of New Mexico, trade routes were made, two of which (the G-L trail and the Chisum trail) ran through what is present day Roswell and ended up helping settle it by many a Mexican and their family. Through the trails use ranchers found it was a good natural supply and outfitting for ranching. As time went on a civilization started to build and in about 1869 the modern history began.

Van C. Smith founded Roswell in 1869 who named the town in honor of his father. Four years later Roswell had its first Post Office along with its first PO Box. Then in 1891 the first mayor of Roswell Jaffa was brought into office. At the time when he was brought in, he was then in charge of looking over paltry 400 people. Being that the people that settled and inhabited Roswell were very religious they then erected a church in 1890 which the First Methodist Church, which resided on 311 north Pennsylvania. Along with the construction of the church came the construction of the courthouse. Then by the year 1900 the population had grown to 2000 people and at that point there were already seven differently affiliated churches, a women s club and a Carnegie library was added in about a year or so. The Roswell Daily record then started publishing papers daily by the year 1902. Time passed and passed and soon Roswell was a booming city in southeastern New Mexico, in the 40 s Walker Air Force Base was brought upon Roswell, which proved to be very helpful to the population increase and stability of the town, until it was closed in the early 60 s. Roswell s growth into the 50,000 plus population that it is now was very progressive and like that of most South Western America.

Roswell had many an important step toward becoming a real town. Roswell s first bank was a very important one to the southeast of what was to become NM because of it s centralized location and it brought more people to Roswell. Thirteen years before New Mexico was granted statehood July 26, 1890 what was to become First National Bank opened, it was called Roswell Bank, opened it doors for business the first time in a corner of the old Pauly Hotel. It was 200 miles from closest banking facility, 250 miles from nearest railroad. The people of south use to have to do their banking in either Sante Fe or in Las Vegas (NM). The bank was established 1 year after the creation of Lea and Eddy counties by a guy from Sante Fe named E.A Cahoon wanted to start something down in Roswell. Being that Roswell was so far from the nearest railroad he (Cahoon) used guards to escort the money. He hired some of the toughest men in the country and was well rewarded. They never lost so much as a 5 cent piece (1). IN 1894 John W. Poe who owned a considerable amount of bank stock, erected a building for the use of the Roswell Bank on the site of the bank s present location 3RD and Main. Then in 1899 he sold his interest and building to a corporation, which proposed to change the bank s territorial charter to a federal charter, and change the name to First National Bank of Roswell (1). It took about 6 weeks for the change to totally go through and thus turning it into a federal bank. The Roswell bank closed on Wednesday, September 20th and on Thursday morning when the doors opened for business it was First National Bank. By 1906 the bank had accumulated $1,108,614 in total assets. When the bank first opened covered wagons were still considered an accepted way of transportation and the locomotive was a novel innovation. The bank proved to be very vital, it was a stabilizer through dust storms, flash floods hail and drought, through the market crash of the twenties and the depression that followed. It also stood through two World Wars. In 1912 a larger building replaced the original one at 3rd and Main. It was extensively remodeled in 1950-51. More than four decades later the first branch was opened at South Main and Reed. In 1963 the first drive through branch was built at North Main and Mescalaro, and then another at West Second and Montana. All in all the First National Bank has proved to very vital and a big piece of Roswell s history.

The history of Parks and Recreation development in the City of Roswell can be divided into three periods. First the period, which starts with the establishment of Roswell itself in about 1891, till about 1950. Seeing that the town was growing there became a need for recreational facilities for young peoples. Several pieces of land were added to the park inventory. There were major fun raisers and the whole town seemed to have been involved in this successful venture (2).

The second period from 1950 till about 65 shows the growth and development of the parks as the city grew. Recreational facilities were built primarily for and maintained by the school age in mind. During this period plenty of people relocated to Roswell, with the influx in military families stationed at the new air base. With the increase in population came the demand for something to do in spare time. From this generation the demand for recreation increased extensively when compared to the pre- World War two years.

The third period from 1965 to the present reflects an expansion of additional activities and facilities. During this period a new demand arouse, the demand for adult recreation. Retirees moving to town expressed a need for a place where they could spend their newly found leisure time. And now youths wanted more places where they could participate in athletics.

The first full time professional Recreation Superintendent, Mr. Kim Elliot was hired in 1982. By this time with the expansion of indoor-outdoor facilities and attendance growth, it was apparent that a full time administrator was needed to plan, organize and implement the overall programs. Recreation centers were added and an existing was expanded during the period from 1960-1980. Federal grants then became available for the construction of parks and recreational facilities in the early 1980 s. But for some fiscal reasons the grants became no longer available.

One of the more famous and popular parks then and now is Cahoon Park, named after E.A. Cahoon in 1935. Through the years Cahoon Park has been maintained as an open space area. This was one park in the city where families could gather and enjoy the mature shade trees without constant fear of injury from baseballs, softballs, and so on. The open spaces have been reserved for games but not to the extent of needing outfield fences and backstops (2). An interesting fact about Cahoon Park is that on some of the furniture nails in the assembly were not used instead wooden dowels. It reflected on the construction and accuracy needed in the hand cut and joining of the various pieces necessary for completion. Cahoon park is still probably the most popular of all Roswell s parks.

One park that many have not heard of is Iron Cross Park. It is on Pennsylvania and North Spring River it was acquired for the sole purpose of having access to North Spring River. During the last couple years or so the city has acquired additional lots adjacent to the original property, which have been cleared and scheduled to be used for future parking. As noted on the drawing the hike and bike trail is planned top pass through this site, which will provide a place to rest while on the trail. The name as many have wondered was acquired from decorative artwork located in the river rock wall across from the mini park. An iron cross is designed into the wall itself; about 50 German war prisoners made it. When people of Roswell discovered this, some became very angry and so they set out and tried to do away with the symbol. They then poured 4 to 5 yards of concrete over it. However and very eerily the concrete did not stay, it was washed away by floods, sun and wind, that Iron Cross stands out even today, as a grotesque reminder of Nazi s and the imprisonment they spent here in Roswell.

The town of Roswell has come a long way since the early days in which it was founded. It has grown to a populous and prosperous town. Many an interesting thing can be found on different subjects. Roswell s history goes back a long way from the early Mexican and ranch settlers. Different buildings and people have played distinct roles in the creation of this town.


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