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Lincoln State Monument

Lincoln State Monument was established in 1937 as a New Mexico State Monument, and is a part of a historic district in the tiny hamlet of Lincoln, New Mexico.  Seventeen of the forty-eight structures in town are protected as part of the monument.  Properties comprising the monument include Wright House, Dr. Wood's Office, Watson House, Curry Saloon, Wortley Hotel, Penfield Shop and Home, Tunstall Store, Old Mill, Ellis Store, Old Courthouse, Montano Store.

The entire town (including the remaining privately-owned structures) is part of the Lincoln National Historic District that extends along U.S. Route 380 for 10 miles.  The district was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1960.  The National Park Service reviewer of the site, who visited in 1974, believed, then, that it was the best preserved cow town in the United States.

Lincoln Historical  Marker

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Lincoln Courthouse - Murphy-Dolan Store
Lincoln State Monument is unique in that it manages most of the historical buildings in the community of Lincoln.  This most widely visited state monument in New Mexico is part of a community frozen in time—the 1870's and 1880's. Through a gift from the Hubbard Family Trust, the monument now includes 17 structures and outbuildings, 4 of which are open year round and 2 more seasonally as museums. Most of the buildings in the community are representative of the Territorial Style of adobe architecture in the American Southwest.

Lincoln is a town made famous by one of the most violent periods in New Mexico history. Today's visitors can see the Old Lincoln County Courthouse with museum exhibits that recount the details of the Lincoln County War and the historic use of the "House" as store, residence, Masonic Lodge, courthouse, and jail. Walk in the footsteps of Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett, and other famous and infamous characters of the Wild West. Trace the events of 1878 through the Courthouse and the Tunstall Store, with their preserved 19th-century atmosphere.

Remarkably, the Tunstall Store contains displays of the original 19th-century merchandise in the original shelving and cases! Continue your walk through history by visiting the Dr. Woods House, defensive torreón (tower) for the village, the San Juan Mission Church (you can also enjoy holiday Episcopal and Catholic Mass here), and the Montaño store. The Anderson-Freeman Museum features historical exhibits in a timeline starting with American Indian prehistory and ending with the Lincoln County War. A 12 minute video about the Lincoln County War and the community is shown throughout the day.

The importance of this community and the significance of the Bonito Valley in the prehistory and history of the Territory of New Mexico are interpreted within some of the 17 structures that comprise Lincoln State Monument. These historic adobe and stone buildings are preserved as they were in the late 1800s and represent the factions involved in the Lincoln County War, 1878-1881.

A small park is available for picnicking, and there is ½ mile hiking trail along the Rio Bonito.

Lincoln is a community frozen in time. Lincoln State Monument, a National Historical Landmark, preserves numerous historical buildings much as they were during one of the most violent periods of New Mexico history.

President Rutherford B. Hayes called Lincoln’s main street “the most dangerous street in America.” In this quiet one-street community visitors can walk in the footsteps of Sheriff Pat Garrett, Billy the Kid, and other infamous characters involved in the Lincoln County War, 1878-1881.

  • The Old Lincoln County Courthouse traces the events as a store, residence, Masonic Lodge and eventually courthouse and jail.

  • The Tunstall Store's original 19th century merchandise is on display.

  • The Torreon, a defensive tower, continues to stand watch in the middle of town.

  • The Montano Store contains exhibits on adobe construction and the Hispanic culture that was prevalent during the Lincoln County War.

  • The San Juan Mission Church is open to the public and is still used for services today.

  • The Anderson-Freeman Visitors Center, the only non-historical building open to the public, has exhibits in a timeline starting with American Indian pre-history and ending with the Lincoln County War.

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