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Capitan, New Mexico, Home of Smokey Bear

In 1884 Seaborn T. Gray homesteaded on the Salado Flat and opened a small store. In 1894 a post office opened. Gray was appointed postmaster. He named the community Gray in his own honor. In 1899 the El Paso and Northeastern Railroad, later the Southern Pacific, built a branch line to coal mines a mile northwest. A little mining community called Coalora sprang up.

The railroad changed Gray’s name to Capitan after the surrounding mountains. The Coal mines played out in 1905. Most of the buildings in Coalora were moved to Dawson where productive mines were in operation, and Coalora faded from the map. Capitan survived. In May of 1950 a devastating forest fire, started by a camper’s carelessness, swept 17,000 acres in the Capitan Mountains.

Firefighters found a orphaned bear cub. They called him Hot Foot Teddy, but the late Ellitt S. Barker changed the cub’s name to Smokey and was instrumental in making Smokey a symbol of national concern for protection of the forests. Smokey was flown to Santa Fe for medical care and later to Washington, D.C. where he became a fixture in the National Zoo.

The town of Capitan built the Smokey Bear Motel and Cafe and a log museum to tell the story of the cub’s hectic start in life. Smokey Bear Historical State Park was established in 1976. Upon his death, the body of the original Smokey was brought from Washington for burial in the park, and Smokey Junior took over the duties of representing fire prevention at the Washington National Zoo.

Capitan keeps Smokey’s memory green with an annual Fourth of July Smokey Bear Stampede. It is believed that on May 4, 1950 a carelessly discarded cigarette butt started the Los Tablos blaze in the Lincoln National Forest. On May 6, 1950 a second fire, known as the Capitan Gap fire, which was also man-caused, started in the same general area. The monetary loss to private properties was great. The loss to the wildlife and environment was severe.

Carrizozo, New Mexico

The surrounding land opened for homesteading and many railroad families filed on the open range, hoping to make the required improvements and receive their patents. The town was well under way, but it was not platted until 1907. Carrizo is the Spanish word for reed grass. It is said James Allcook, a ranch foreman, added a second zo to Carrizo to indicate abundance, making the town's name "Carrizozo".

The railroad payroll lasted until the 1940's, but it was dwindling. Diesel engines required neither water nor coal. It was no longer necessary to have track repair crews every 12 miles. One by one, the depots requiring a 24 hour telegrapher on duty were eliminated. Carrizozo survived the failure of the vital organ which had pumped life blood into the town.

Today the residence are polishing up Carrizozo's association with the old West, restoring buildings to their 1920's appearance, and pinning hopes on the tourist business. The Valley of Fires State Park is located approximately 6 miles to the west of Carrizozo on Highway 380.

Corona, New Mexico

In 1896 the people of Corona received their mail at Pinos Wells and White Oaks. The stage coach carried mail from Las Vegas, New Mexico to that area. The route from Corona to Pinos Wells was called Gringo Mail Route.

In 1902, a post office was established at Corona in a store front owned by Franklin A. Dubois. He became the first Postmaster. Corona is the northern-most town in Lincoln County. Corona has been, from its early years, a ranching community. The population seldom exceed five hundred persons. It is truly a town in the West which is too tough to die.

Fort Stanton, New Mexico

Fort Stanton, about four miles southeast of Captain on NM Highway 214, can be reached from either US 380 or US 70. This fort was established in 1855 on the banks of the Rio Bonito for the purpose of controlling the Mescalero Apaches and encouraging settlement in the area. It was named for Capt. Henry W. Stanton, who had been killed by the Apaches on January 18 of that year.

By its mere presence, the fort may have encouraged settlers, but its value in controlling the Apaches is debatable. The Apaches lived off the land. They could move farther and faster than the U.S. troops. While the homesteaders and soldiers were attempting to stave off Apache depredations, another threat approached, the Confederate Army.

As Confederate forces approached Fort Stanton, the Union troops attempted to burn the post to keep it from falling into Rebel hands, but a heavy rain put out most of the fires. Apaches and local citizens looted the buildings before the Confederate forces arrived. The Confederates stayed until September, 1861.

A year later, Brig. Gen. James H. Carleton arrived on the New Mexico scene determined to put an end to the Mescalero problem. He was convinced the solution lay in teaching the Mescalero Tribesmen to respect the Whiteman's laws and forcing them to adopt his ways. He persuaded a reluctant Col. Christopher Carson to take command of New Mexico Volunteers in the field. After a successful campaign Carson proceeded to Fort Stanton.

Fort Stanton's mission was to guard captured Apaches. By March, 1863, remnants of the Mescalero tribe were in Santa Fe begging for peace tempered by respect. You are stronger than we. We have fought you so long as we had rifles and powder; but your weapons are better than ours. Give us weapons and turn us loose, and we will fight you again, but we are worn out. We have no more heart. We have no provisions, no means to live. Your troops are everywhere. Our springs and water holes are either occupied or overlooked by your young men. You have driven us from our last and best stronghold, and we have no more heart. Do with us as may seem good to you, but do not forget we are men and braves.

The post was deactivated in 1896. In 1899 it became a US Marine hospital for tubercular patients. In 1939 it served as an internment camp for captured German seamen. In the 1950's it was taken over by the State of New Mexico and used successively as a tubercular hospital and a school for the mentally challenged.

Fort Stanton was named for Captain Henry W. Stanton who helped lead an expedition against the Apaches in January of 1855 near the Rio Penasco, or modern day Mayhill. Here he was led into an ambush and killed by the Mescalero Apaches with twelve of his men. The name Fort Stanton was only meant to be a temporary designation, which obviously was never changed. When Confederate forces took nearby Fort Fillmore, commanding officer Captain B.S. Roberts ordered that Fort Stanton be abandoned and burned down. This was to ensure that the Confederate forces would not take the fort, and gain the materials stored there. Unfortunately for Roberts, a New Mexico gully washer (a big storm) came in behind the retreating forces and put the fire out. This allowed local Hispanoes, and Apaches to salvage all that the semi-destroyed fort had to offer.

Roberts' plan was not a complete failure however, since their materials ultimately did not fall into the hands of the Confederate forces. When the Confederate troops arrived at Fort Stanton, they were met in the ruins by Indian forces. Fighting broke out immediately. Although the Confederates were able to gain control of the fort, the single company stationed there was unable to control the Mescalero Apaches who ultimately forced the troops to abandon the fort.

With the Confederate failure to take New Mexico, Indian raids abated, and the U.S. Army was able to re-occupy Fort Stanton under the command of Colonel Kit Carson. At this time, Fort Stanton was considered a very good post, with excellent living conditions. By the time of the Lincoln County wars, "gold fever" in the area was at its height, and many of the soldiers spent their spare time prospecting and hunting in the nearby mountains.

The Town of Lincoln, Lincoln County, New Mexico

Lincoln's early settlement is attested to by El Torreon, the old Spanish watchtower, a reminder of earlier conflicts. During Apache attacks, women and children crowded into the first floor while men on the second floor fired at attackers through holes or slits. Not withstanding their Torreon, early settlers were driven out three times by hostile Apaches. But Lincoln's early history pales beside events which took place during the Lincoln County War.

Lincoln was the focal point of that bloody conflict. Lincoln was settled in 1849 by Hispanic villagers from the east side of the Manzano Mountains. It was called Las Placitas, meaning little settlements. Later the name was changed to Bonito after the river, Rio Bonito, meaning pretty river, which flows past the town. With the formation of the county, named to honor President Lincoln, the Territorial Legislature of 1869 changed the name of the town from Bonito to Lincoln.

After Fort Stanton was established in 1855, the Mescalero Apaches were herded onto a reservation. The government purchased great quantities of beef to supply the needs of Fort Stanton and the people living on the reservations.

A market grew for vegetables, fruit, hay, and grain. Settlers arrived to establish Squatter’s Rights on the land in the public domain. Cattlemen from Texas arrived to take advantage of the growing market for beef.

The Lincoln County War has been erroneously characterized as a range war. Although an attempt to destroy John Chisum's domination of the cattle market was involved, it was not a range war. Because of the ardent alliance of Billy the Kid with one of the warring factions, the Lincoln County War has been called a blood feud. It was not a blood feud. The Lincoln County War was a fight between business competitors, abetted by political forces.

Maj. Lawrence G. Murphy came to New Mexico with the army. After he was mustered out of the service, he became the post trader at Fort Stanton. The post commander fired him for questionable dealings, and Murphy moved to Lincoln where he opened a store and saloon. Soon he had a monopoly on supplying beef and flour to Fort Stanton. As long a Murphy had the only store, farmers and ranchers were forced to pay exorbitant prices in order to obtain credit.

As business grew, Murphy formed an alliance with Thomas B. Catron, a corrupt politician who headed the powerful Santa Fe Ring. Murphy was ruthless in exercising political control. At one point he boasted, "You might as well try to stop the waves of the ocean with a fork as to try and stop me."

As Murphy's health deteriorated from drinking, he took-in two partners, James J. Dolan and John H. Riley. The immediate objective was to eliminate John Chisum as a competitor for the beef market. But more formidable competition was coming from another source.

Alexander McSween arrived on the scene. He bought an interest in a ranch, he opened a bank, and he built a store to challenge Murphy's trade monopoly. McSween had the support of John Chisum, and he was financed by John Henry Tunstall, a wealthy young Englishman who had come to the American West to make a fortune in the cattle business.

The first volley in the Lincoln County War was fired on February 18, 1878. Tunstall was murdered in cold blood by a group of gunmen who had been hired by the Murphy forces and deputized as posse men by the local sheriff. Since the county had no funds to pay officials, they were paid in scrip. The Murphy faction kept the sheriff under control by buying his scrip.

Members of the McSween faction, including Billy the Kid, vowed to avenge Tunstall's death. They called themselves the Regulators. Early in March the Regulators killed two men who had been members of the posse that murdered Tunstall. On April 1 they set an ambush behind the adobe fence of a corral adjoining the Tunstall store. As Sheriff William Brady and four of his deputies walked down Lincoln's main and only street toward the Murphy store, the hidden gunmen opened fire. Sheriff Brady and one of his deputies were killed, another was wounded.

There were more confrontations and more killings. On March 4 Samuel B. Axtell, governor of the Territory, appealed to President Rutherford B. Hayes to send federal troops to assist Territorial civil officers. Soldiers form Fort Stanton showed up but did little more than observe. On June 29 the post commander announced his troops could no longer participate in civil disturbances because Congress had forbidden it in a rider attached to the army appropriations act.

The stage was thus set for a showdown. With the army out of the way, the McSween forces decided it was time to seize the initiative. On July 14 they assembled some sixty men. The McSween cause was popular because so many ranchers and farmers suffered under the monopolistic domination of the House of Murphy. What become known as the Five-Day Battle began. The next day the sheriff moved about forty men into the Wortley Hotel just down the street from the McSween House. For the next two days there was sporadic fighting during which a few shots and a lot of verbal insults were exchanged.

On the fourth day, the commander of Fort Stanton arrived with a force of thirty-five men and five officers, a mountain howitzer, and a Gatling gun. The troopers camped on a vacant lot and the commander announced he was there only to protect women and children. Nevertheless, the McSween forces began to evaporate leaving McSween, his wife Susan and about fourteen men bottled up in the McSween house.

On July 19, after five days of siege, the sheriff torched the house, and the flames spread slowly from room to room, driving the roasting occupants ahead. Susan McSween ran from the building and pleaded with the commander of the troops from Fort Stanton to save the men who were in the burning building. He disregarded her plea. She returned to the building.

As Darkness approached, Billy the Kid took command of plotting an escape and was among the first to put the plan into effect by dashing from the burning building. McSween stepped outside to ask a deputy to accept his surrender. He fell on his back doorstep with five bullets in his body. The deputy was also killed in the fusillade. When it was over, the bodies of McSween and two of his supporters lay in the backyard. The rest escaped into the darkness.

It should be noted that Lawrence G. Murphy, who started it all, did not play an active role in the conflict. In 1877, he sold his interest to his partners. Threatened with death by the Regulators, he fled to Fort Stanton. His continuing bout with alcoholism resulted in his death in October.

After the Five-Day Battle, President Hayes bowed to political pressure from New Mexico and replaced Governor Axtell with Lew Wallace in September, 1878. Wallace had before him a long roster of warrants for arrest including William H. Antrim, alias Kid, alias Bonney.

The governor issued an amnesty proclamation which was published in the Santa Fe Sentinel on November 14, 1878. He announced that the disorders prevalent in Lincoln County had been brought to and end. By the virtue of his authority, he proclaimed a general pardon for misdemeanors and offenses committed in Lincoln County against the laws of the Territory in connection with the disorders from the date of February 1, 1878.

The amnesty aroused a flood of public criticism, and Wallace went to Lincoln on March 5 to interview participants in the conflict. The end result of the visit was to turn William H. Antrim, alias Kid, alias Bonney into a national celebrity. At the beginning of the Lincoln County War, Billy the Kid was a teen-age drifter with a reputation which, translated into today's terminology, would classify him as a juvenile delinquent.

He was barely eighteen years old when he arrived in Lincoln County in October, 1877, a fugitive from an Arizona murder charge. He signed on as a cowhand at John H. Tunstall's ranch and was on hand at the killing of Tunstall. Thus, he became a participant in the Lincoln County War as a member of the McSween faction.

The governor's amnesty did not apply to Billy the Kid, because he was under previous indictments in the Territorial Court for the murder of Sheriff Brady and in a federal court for the murder of Buckshot Roberts. However, Governor Wallace was so anxious to bring an end to the troubles in Lincoln County that he promised to protect the young outlaw from prosecution stated, "I have authority to exempt you from prosecution if you will testify to what you say you know."

Billy the Kid kept his end of the bargain. He met the governor and told him what he knew. He submitted to a simulated arrest. But the governor's plans went awry. The men against whom Bonney was to testify escaped from jail. Billy did testify at an army court of inquiry after which he rode out of Lincoln and settled into pursuing an outlaw career. Governor Wallace responded with a reward notice.

$500 REWARD NOTICE IS HEREBY GIVEN THAT FIVE HUNDRED DOLLARS REWARD WILL BE PAID FOR THE DELIVERY OF BONNEY, ALIAS THE KID, TO THE SHERIFF OF LINCOLN COUNTY. SANTA FE, DEC. 15TH, 1880.

On December 23, 1880, Bonney alias, The Kid, was captured by Sheriff Pat Garrett and his posse at Stinking Springs. He was taken to jail in Las Vegas. The Las Vegas Gazette published a midnight extra on Sunday, December 27. A Gazette reporter was permitted to interview Bonny, Billy the Kid, and Billy Wilson who were shackled together.

They stood patiently up while a blacksmith took off their shackles and bracelets to allow them an opportunity to make a change of clothing. Both prisoners watched the operation which was to set them free for a short while, but Wilson scarcely raised his eyes, and spoke but once or twice to his compares. Bonny on the other hand, was light and chipper, communicative, laughing, joking and chattering with the bystanders.

You appear to take it easy, the reporter said. Yes! What's the use of looking on the gloomy side of everything. The laugh's on me this time, he said. Then looking about the Placita, he asked, "Is the jail at Santa Fe any better than this?"

This seemed to trouble him considerably, for as he explained, "This is a terrible place to put a fellow in." He put the same question to every one who came near him and when he learned that there was nothing better in store for him, he shrugged his shoulders and said something about putting up with what he had to.

Billy was the attraction of the show, and as he stood there, lightly kicking the toes of his boots on the stone pavement to keep his feet warm, one would scarcely mistrust that he was the hero of Forty Thieves romance which the Gazette newspaper had been running in serial form.

"There was a big crowd gazing at me wasn't there?" he exclaimed, and then smiling continued, "Well, perhaps some of them will think me half a man now. Everyone seems to think I was some kind of an animal." He did look human, indeed, but there was nothing very mannish about him in appearance, for he looked and acted a mere boy. He is about five feet, eight or nine inches tall, slightly built and lithe, weighing about 140 with a frank and open countenance, looking like a school boy, with the traditional silky fuzz on his upper lip, clear blue eyes, with a roguish snap about them, light hair and complexion. He is, in all, quite a handsome looking fellow, the only imperfection being two prominent front teeth, slightly protruding like squirrel’s teeth and he has agreeable and winning ways.

Governor Lew Wallace did not respond to Billy the Kid's attempts to remind him of his promised protection from prosecution. On April 13, 1881, at Mesilla, Bonny was sentenced to death for the murder of Sheriff William Brady. He was taken back to Lincoln to await his execution in the county's newly acquired courthouse, the old Murphy-Dolan store.

The jail was on the second floor. Billy was swathed in chains and anchored to the floor. His guards were Deputy Sheriffs Bob Olinger and J.W. Bell. They had been with the Murphy faction during the Lincoln County War. Olinger would let his prisoner see him loading his double-barreled shotgun, reminding him that the eighteen slugs in each barrel would do a powerful lot of damage.

 On the morning of April 28, Bob Olinger was on guard. At noon he was relieved by Bell. Olinger left this shotgun downstairs in the Sheriff's office and went across the street to the Wortley Hotel for dinner. Billy asked Bill for permission to use the outside privy. There he acquired a gun, previously hidden by a confederate. It took two shots to do away with Bell. Olinger heard the shooting, pushed away form the table, and dashed out of the hotel to find himself staring down the both barrels of his own shotgun. Eighteen slugs did a powerful lot of damage. Billy fired a second load into the lifeless body and flung the gun at his tormentor.

"Take it! You won't follow me any more with that gun." A fugitive took time to shake hands with a few citizens who dared show themselves. As he passed Bell's body he expressed regret at having to kill him, but he had no kind words for Olinger as he climbed on a horse and galloped away.

During the first weekend of every August, Billy the Kid's escape is reenacted in Lincoln. During his time, Lincoln had a population of 400. Today, some seventy-five people live in the sleepy adobe village nestling between wooded hillsides on the Rio Bonito, but thousands of visitors trek up and down the street reading historical markers that explain the Lincoln County War. They duck in and out of Lincoln's four museums, one of which is the old courthouse from which Billy the Kid made his escape.

During the century since that escape the outlaw had been the subject of hundreds of books and some forty movies. One of the movies was entitled Billy the Kid vs. Dracula. He has been portrayed as everything from a psychotic to a heroic avenger of wrong. Indeed, a big crowd has gazed at him.

Lincoln is both a National and State Monument, and is part of an architecturally zoned area one mile wide by ten miles long. Visiting the Museums reveals Lincoln County history and how our forefathers once lived in this attractive village. Lincoln remained the county seat until the coming of Statehood in 1912, when the seat was moved to Carrizozo, a young and growing railroad town.

Start of the Lincoln County Wars

In 1877, an Englishman named John Tunstall came to town to create competition for the local monopoly that owned the main store and had a corner on the lucrative contracts to deliver cattle to the military.

History has revealed in his letters home that he planned to put his competition out of business and then create a monopoly of his own. Tunstall never had the opportunity, since he grossly underestimated the ruthlessness of the lawless West.

The prominent partner in the competing Murphy store, Lawrence Murphy, and his most ambitious young partner, Jim Dolan, had Tunstall killed on February 18, 1878. Tunstall's employees who had escaped Tunstall's fate wanted revenge. The most notable of these was a youth of sunny disposition that would become known as Billy the Kid.Tunstall's death set into motion the Lincoln County War that caused as much as a quarter of the population of Lincoln to be murdered over the next 5 months. This conflict came to a head over four days in the middle of July, when the two warring factions barricaded themselves in local houses and stores and shot it out. There was actually very little blood shed, until the US Army showed up and took sides with the ex-army cronies of the Murphy/Dolan camp.
 

After Tunstall's death, a young lawyer named Alexander McSween led what became known as the Regulators. When the US Army showed up, the Regulators were hold up in McSween's adobe house. The house was slowly burning from being torched.

At this point, a dispirited McSween gave up all hope and an enthusiastic Billy the Kid took charge. Billy and a group of volunteers created a diversion to allow the others hold up in the house to escape. Although successful in creating a diversion, the others waited too long. They finally did make a run for it, and they were all shot. Only a badly wounded 15-year-old managed to escape. Only one of Billy's group died, a young law student who had ironically come out west for his health.

This shoot out basically ended the Lincoln County Wars; both sides ended up losing. There was tremendous bloodshed on both sides, Tunstall was dead, and Dolan was bankrupt. The citizens of Lincoln put down their arms and made peace with each other.

Hondo, New Mexico

The settlement was original called La Junta (junction) because it was at the confluence of the Bonito and Ruidoso rivers. The community formed at the homestead claim of W. L. Coe, cousin of Frank and George Coe who figured prominently in the Lincoln County War.

The Cole brothers claimed land farther upriver. Earlier, the Coe ranch had been occupied by Dick Brewer, who imported apple seeds from Missouri. The Coe family took over the orchards. Today, fruit and vegetable growing is the backbone of Hondo's economy.

There are packing sheds, refrigeration facilities, and a trucking company. Roadside fruit stands dot the highway. The Rio Hondo Bridge was originally built in 1902 over the Pecos River. It was later moved to this site. The pratt truss type bridge is the longest and oldest of its kind remaining in New Mexico.

Oscuro, New Mexico

Oscuro is located on Highway 54, approximately 16 miles south of the intersection of Highway 380 and Highway 54 in Carrizozo. The community began in 1899 as a pumping station for the railroad. In 1906 E.G. Rafferty of Chicago purchased land an laid out a town site. He drilled for oil without success and Oscuro settled in an uneventful future.

Westward out of Oscuro, a wispy road traces 45 miles across the Mal Pais, past Oscuro Peak and through the Mockingbird Gap to Trinity Site. There, on July 16, 1945, the first atomic bomb was exploded. White Sands Missile Range was created in 1945. The Fort Bliss Military Reservation and the White Sands Missile Range occupies most of the land between Oscuro and El Paso, Texas. Access is closed to the public. Nearby peaks bristle with antennas to track missiles that periodically stain the turquoise sky with contrails.

Nogal, New Mexico

Nogal is located on Highway 37, approximately 4 miles south of the intersection of Highway 380 and Highway 37. Today there is no trace of the large hotel which accommodated eager miners and fortune hunting adventurers in 1879 when prospectors found gold. They called it Dry Gulch then.

For a time, the growing village was also called Galena because of lead in the area, and it was named Parsons for a miner who made a strike in 1892. The name was finally changed to Nogal, because of the large walnut trees growing in town. In 1900 the Secretary of the Interior included the Nogal mining district in his Annual Report.

Among the more productive mines might be noted the American, where its original locator, Billy Gill, ground out a fortune with the aid of a mule and a few hand tools, the Helen Rae, from which old man Rae carried a gunny sack of ore down to his cabin daily and pounded out enough yellow metal in a mortar to wear a silk hat and a syndicate smile the remainder of his days, and then sold the claim to St. Louis parties for $10,000. The land which once yielded gold now grows orchards, and summer homes are sprinkled about the area.

Ruidoso Downs, New Mexico

During the 1930's Heck Johnson sold lots and water rights around Hale Spring. The community was called Palo Verde. When application was submitted for a post office in 1946, the Post Office Department translated the name to Green Tree because there was already a Palo Verde in New Mexico.

In the meantime, Ruidoso Downs Race Track had developed across the road. It started with contests between friends and developed into a nationally known track featuring the All-American Quarter Horse Futurity, billed as the richest horse race in the world. One hundred-thousand dollars goes to the winner. Eugene V. Hensley, originator of the race, persuaded the town to change its name to Ruidoso Downs so the race track would have a postmark.

Fox Cave

The rocks of Fox Cave were formed millions of years ago and eroded by the Ruidoso River. Historically known as Ice Cave, it was the most perfect campsite for hundreds of miles.

The ancient Americans used the cave long before modern pioneers and settlers came upon the scene. The caves most famous visitor was William Bonney, alias Billy the Kid. The Fox Cave is located six miles east of Ruidoso Downs on East Highway 70.

The Old Dowlin Mill on Sudderth Drive in Ruidoso

The Old Dowlin Mill, at Ruidoso, New Mexico is over 100 years old. The twenty foot high overshot wheel is still turned by water and you can still see corn and wheat being ground on flint stones inside the building. Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett and General Pershing were some of its more colorful visitors.

Trinity Site, New Mexico

The first atomic-bomb test operation was known as Project Trinity. It took place early on Monday morning, July 16, 1945, in the lonely desert country some forty miles west of Oscuro. The area was a bombing and gunnery range.

A one-hundred foot steel tower had been constructed at a point designated Ground Zero. The bomb was brought from the laboratory at Los Alamos. Scientists called it the thing or gadget. Assembly of the active nuclear materials started on July 12 in the McDonald ranch house. The thing was installed atop the tower on Saturday, July 14, and installation of the detonators was started.

Technicians installed seismographic and photographic equipment at varying distances from the tower. Other instruments were set up to record radioactivity, temperature and air pressure. Three wooden shelters protected by concrete and earthen barricades were located 5.7 miles from Ground Zero. The on south of the tower was the control center. It was occupied by Dr. J. Robert Oppenheimer, head of the Los Alamos laboratory. The Atomic Age had begun.

Michael Jones, Volunteer

Sources for Tidbits paraphrased and capsulated from documents including the following. Corona History and general reference, A History of Lincoln County Post Offices, Audrey Owens, concluded by Mary Frances F. Fuller, 1976; General reference, Lincoln County Loop pamphlet; Wortley Hotel, Lincoln NM; History and general reference: The Lincoln County War, Documentary History, Frederick Nolan, 1992; Merchants, Guns & Money--The Story of Lincoln County and Its Wars, John P. Wilson, 1987; Billy the Kid--The Robin Hood of Lincoln County; George Shumard, 1969.

2005