Mesilla Travel Guide

Browse 4 travel reviews, 1 travel blogs and 32 travel photos from real travelers to Mesilla.

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Mesilla Overview

Mesilla is a very picturesque and interesting town that has been pretty much overtaken by the rapid growth of Las Cruces. Mesilla is a town of about 1900 (down 19% since 2000) located at exits 139, 140, and 142 of Interstate 10 on the outskirts of Las Cruces and about 46 miles north of El Paso, in Dona Ana County in Southern New Mexico. Mesilla is part of the Las Cruces Metropolitan Statistical Area. The village of Mesilla was incorporated in 1848 when the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo moved the Mexican-United States Border south of the village of Dona Ana and a group of citizens there who resented living in the United States moved to Mesilla. In 1850, settlers in Mesilla and the towns north of the border in the U.S. suffered frequent attacks by the Apache. In 1851, the United States addressed these attacks in the Mesilla Valley by constructing Fort Fillmore. A border dispute, with both countries claiming the Mesilla Valley, arose shortly after Fort Fillmore was completed, officially due to a map error. The issue was resolved in 1853 by the Gadsden Purchase in which the United States bought the rest of the Mesilla Valley to include the town of Mesilla along with a strip of land in Southern New Mexico and Southern Arizona. During the Civil War, Mesilla was briefly the capital of the Confederate Territory of Arizona in 1861 and 1862. There were two battles fought in or near Mesilla during the Civil War. Mesilla was at the crossroads of two major stagecoach, mail and trade routes the Butterfield Stagecoach and the Camino Real de Tierra Adentro. In 1881, the Santa Fe Railroad planned to route its line through Mesilla but the landowners asked too much money for the land so the route went through Las Cruces. The railroad caused the sleepy little village of Las Cruces to far outgrow its neighbor. Mesilla was the county seat from in the early 1850s. In 1881, Billy the Kid was tried in the courthouse here for his actions during the Lincoln County War and sentenced to hang but he escaped before he could be executed. In 2008, the Catholic Church of San Albino was raised to the status of a minor basilica. The old plaza in Mesilla is a National Historic Landmark. There is one district and 12 individual locations in Mesilla listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

On my map it is La Mesilla. It is a small suburb on the south of Las Cruces with few or no services. There are some large pecan orchards there.

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Las Cruces is the second largest city in New Mexico, with a population of roughly 110,000. The town is known for its proximity to the Organ Mountains; its popularity as a retirement commun…
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