Sunday, April 05, 2009
Tierra Red Historical Point: Las Cruces
Tierra Red takes place during the years 1898-1900 in the Territory of New Mexico, featuring the Las Cruces, Las Vegas, and White Oaks areas.
Las Cruces has two historic districts: the Alameda-Depot District and the Mesquite District. Both districts are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
The major streets of town were those running north-south, perhaps because the route of travel and commerce (Camino Real or Chihuahua Trail) ran in that direction. These streets were wider than the cross streets and were named Water (it fronted the irrigation ditch), Main (the business street), Church (location of the Catholic church and its plaza), Campo (for the camposanto or cemetary, Mesquite (for the desert shrub that covers the hills), and Tornillo (at the back of town, not named in the original platting.
Las Cruces was platted in 1849 on the hills south of several graves that served as a landmark for travelers, marking a crossroad and a place to cross the Rio Grande. The area became known as El Pueblo del Jardin de Las Cruces (City of the Garden of Crosses).
History tells us that a U. S. Army Lt. laid out the town in 1849 using nothing more than a rawhide rope with which he marked off the city's new streets. The heads of families took turns drawing a chance from a hat to determine which property they would own.
Lily's story begins in 1898 in this community, nearly fifty years later.