Lt. Delos Bennett Sacket commander of local U.S. Forces used rawhide ropes and stakes to conceptualize what would become residential lots, a plaza and a church in a town known as Las Cruces when the nearby settlement of Dona Ana become overcrowded. This original site is now known as the Mesquite District.
Many of the buildings still remain from the early days of the settlement of Las Cruces. The Nevarez House was built in 1913 by Jesus Nevarez, a county clerk. It became a popular destination for eloping couples from Texas seeking marriage forms. Another surviving building it the Santa Rosa Rico house. It is a territorial style adobe house built by a freighter who had survived a wagon train massacre a few years before. In his later years he worked in the county sheriff's office.
Elsewhere we have the Jesus Medina house. Mr. Medina was a renound local artist and sign painter who built the house himself in 1907. Contrasting with some of the other adobes in the area the Medina House has large arches and a recessed porch which was more typical of Mexican architecture. Medina was also a veteran of the Spanish-American war.
Next up is the Barncastle House and Store. Tony Barncastle was a well-known merchant in Las Cruces and in the 1920s served the town as a trustee. A descendent of John Barncastle who came to New Mexico with the California Column in the 1860s, Tony lived and worked in this well preserved New Mexico vernacular structure. Of special interest is the soft rose color of the plaster and the truncated hip roof covered with corrugated metal.
These are only a small number of buildings that still exist from when Las Cruces was a small settlement. For more information on the founding and history of Las Cruces check out the online exhibit brought to you by the Branigan Cultural Center. You can also just head down the Mesquite District and see up close and in person the history of Las Cruces.
To learn even more about Las Cruces Arts and Culture visit our