Friday, April 9, 2010

Roswell, New Mexico

Thur/Sun - April 1 - 4

Roswell, the home of the UFO and alien sightings. John has been so excited to get here, so he could finally meet the rest of my family, he says. I was a bit disappointed in the UFO Museum. There were a lot of newspaper articles and pictures and documents about sightings and cover-ups, which may be all true, but nothing really that you probably haven't seen on a TV special.

John Chisum, "Cattle King of the Pecos", was the largest cattle producer in the 1870s with a herd of 80,000. He was a good friend of John Tunstall and at first befriended Billy the Kid. He later selected Pat Garrett to rid the area of him.

This is the Chavez County Courthouse in Roswell. We walked inside just to look around and there were two security guards on duty and a security screener to walk thru. However, the real problem was the dress code. John had on swishees and they don't allow sweat pants. However, since it was Good Friday and there was no court in session, they allowed us to walk into the main foyer and have a look at the architecture of the dome from inside.

This is the Roswell Museum and Art Center, including the Robert H. Goddard Planetarium. He was the "Father of Modern Rocketry". They have an extensive collection of American West and Indian and military stuff back to the 1500s and lots of sculptures, paintings and photography of all types. This is a really good museum. Someone at our campground told us the Museum of Contemporary Art was also very good.

These are just a couple of houses on the historic walking tour. The second one is actually the Historical Center Museum. It is free and very much worth going thru.

We spotted this little fellow right on the sidewalk as we were doing the walking tour. He was about two inches long and almost an inch thick, but very much dead. He is the only one we have seen and I was very glad he was dead.

On Sunday we drove to Sumner near the Pecos River to see Billy's grave. They used to say that west of the Pecos, there was no law and order except Judge Roy Bean. Remember the movie with Paul Newman? Anyway, Billy was shot at a house only a couple 100 yards from the cemetery where a couple of his pals had been buried the year before, so he was buried with them. Some caring person decided he should have a head stone and made one. Unfortunately it was stolen and was missing for a number of years. When it was found and returned, there was a big ceremony when it was replaced and it was fenced in with chain link fence. However, it was stolen again, and after a few years found and returned again. This time they wanted to make sure no one could steal it again, so I guess Billy is destined to be locked up for eternity. There aren't very many graves in the cemetery and only one since the 1940s. It is a veteran buried there in 2004. He made a special request to be buried there with his parents. His grandfather was a pall bearer at Billy's funeral.

More tomorrow,


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