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Date of visit:
February 27, 2000

For location of this site in NM, click on the map:
 Location of Fort Selden State Monument ...

We rate this site a:

Site Highlights:
 Few visitors
 Modest entry fee
 No hiking
 Ruins of adobe walls
 Great museum
 Variety of artifacts
 Informative videos
 Lots of old pictures
 Look at soldiers life


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Fort Selden
Fort Selden State Monument
Entrance Signage -
Fort Selden State Monument

The United States Government built Fort Selden near the town of Las Cruces in 1865 to protect settlers from outlaws and Apache Indians, and for a quarter of a century it served its purpose.
In the early 1880s, the post commander was Capt. Arthur MacArthur, whose son Douglas rose to fame during World War II.

The general-to-be spent several years of his childhood at the adobe desert outpost on the Rio Grande. The fort housed one company of infantry and cavalry, including units of black troops whom the Indians called “Buffalo Soldiers.”

The New Mexico frontier changed dramatically during MacArthur’s tenure. By 1890, criminals and Apache raiding parties were no longer considered threats. Fort Selden, like other small army forts in the Southwest, belonged to another era, and the government decommissioned it in 1891.

Today the stark adobe brick walls of the frontier post evoke a feeling of personal connection to the past. A visitor center at the monument offers exhibits on frontier military life during the fort’s heyday.

Snipets of Fort Life
In the 1870's, military fort life, especially in the western outposts, was at best a boring, grueling, and lonely existance. Shortage of food resulted in a poor and incomplete diet; daily regimen was hard and demanding; and medical care was totally inadequate. This lifestyle drew the adventuresome and the disenfranchised.

To give today's reader a sense of what a soldier had to deal with, consider this observation of a Fort Selden surgeon in 1870 regarding the provisions available.

Site Gallery
 Two charmers on a visit  Two charmers with an old goat  An armed charmer
 Las Cruces circa 1870  Las Cruces circa 1905  On patrol
 Soldiers at mealtime  A Soldiers Uniform  Artifacts in time
 Found in the latrines  A tasty recipe  Adobe walls #1
 Adobe walls #2  Adobe walls #3  Adobe walls #4
 The Sentinel - 1876 9th Cavalry  Wagons West We remember those who served.
Gallery of Remembrance
 Greeting the natives  Giving chase  Guarding the railroad
 Return to the fort  Hired help Honoring the Buffalo Soldiers.
For More Information
The New Mexico Database of Cultural Holdings (Parks and Monuments)
Navigate to Fort Selden using the "search option"

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