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 settlements name to honor his father, Roswell Smith.
However, it wasnt 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 Leas control and
influence, Roswell began an era of stability and growth that has continued for over a
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
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; its
the best part that needs constant attention.