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ROSWELL HISTORY

Roswell began as a crossroads where several springs provided cattle herds with water. The Chisum Trail began near Roswell and was used by cowboys driving longhorn cattle to the railhead at Las Cruces.

In 1869 Roswell began to take shape with the arrival of Van C. Smith, a professional gambler.

Mr. Smith filed his claim in the spring of 1871, and changed the settlement’s name to honor his father, Roswell Smith.

However, it wasn’t until Captain Joseph C. Lea took hold of the little cowtown that Roswell turned into a community. Many consider Captain Lea to be the true "Father of Roswell." Under Lea’s control and influence, Roswell began an era of stability and growth that has continued for over a hundred years.

In 1890, a vast artesian water supply was discovered beneath Roswell and ditches were dug to divert the water into vegetable fields. That same year the First National Bank was established. And in 1891, the town of Roswell was incorporated. That same year, the Roswell Dispatch, now known as the Roswell Daily Record, began its long history of providing the news to the Roswell area, as well as the establishment of the Goss Military Institute, later known as the New Mexico Military Institute.

Roswell continued to prosper, and even during the depression, economic growth was maintained with the help of WPA projects which strengthened the community and planted seeds for cultural growth.

Today Roswell is a town with a mission. A mission to not only remain, "The prettiest little town in the west," as Will Rogers once said, but also to be one of the best little towns in the West. The pretty part comes easy; it’s the best part that needs constant attention.


City of Roswell Roswell Convention & Visitors Bureau

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