Place:Las Cruces, Doña Ana, New Mexico, United States

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NameLas Cruces
TypeCity
Coordinates32.32°N 106.765°W
Located inDoña Ana, New Mexico, United States     (1848 - )
Contained Places
Cemetery
Hillcrest Memorial Gardens Cemetery
source: Getty Thesaurus of Geographic Names
source: Family History Library Catalog


the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

Las Cruces is the seat of Doña Ana County, New Mexico, United States. As of the 2010 census the population was 97,618, and in 2015 the estimated population was 101,643, making it the second largest city in the state, after Albuquerque. Las Cruces is the largest city in both Doña Ana County and southern New Mexico. The Las Cruces metropolitan area had an estimated population of 213,676 in 2014. It is the principal city of a metropolitan statistical area which encompasses all of Doña Ana County and is part of the larger El Paso–Las Cruces combined statistical area.

Las Cruces is the economic and geographic center of the Mesilla Valley, the agricultural region on the floodplain of the Rio Grande which extends from Hatch to the west side of El Paso, Texas. Las Cruces is the home of New Mexico State University (NMSU), New Mexico's only land-grant university. The city's major employer is the federal government on nearby White Sands Test Facility and White Sands Missile Range. The Organ Mountains, to the east, are dominant in the city's landscape, along with the Doña Ana Mountains, Robledo Mountains, and Picacho Peak. Las Cruces lies south of Albuquerque, northwest of El Paso, Texas and north of the Mexican border at Santa Teresa.

Spaceport America, which has corporate offices in Las Cruces, operates from to the north, and has completed several successful manned, suborbital flights. The city is also the headquarters for Virgin Galactic, the world's first company to offer sub-orbital spaceflights.

History

the text in this section is copied from an article in Wikipedia

The area where Las Cruces rose was previously inhabited by the Manso people, with the Mescalero Apache living nearby. The area was later colonized by the Spanish beginning in 1598, when Juan de Oñate claimed all territory north of the Rio Grande for New Spain and later became the first governor of the Spanish territory of New Mexico.[1]

The area remained under New Spain's control until September 28, 1821, when the first Mexican Empire claimed ownership. The area was also claimed by the Republic of Texas during this time until the end of the Mexican–American War in 1846–48. The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo in 1848 established the United States as owner of this territory, and Las Cruces was founded in 1849 when the US Army laid out the town plans.[1]

Mesilla became the leading settlement of the area, with more than 2,000 residents in 1860, more than twice what Las Cruces had.[1] When the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway reached the area, the landowners of Mesilla refused to sell it the rights-of-way, and instead residents of Las Cruces donated the rights-of-way and land for a depot in Las Cruces.[1] The first train reached Las Cruces in 1881.[1] Las Cruces was not affected as strongly by the train as some other villages, as it was not a terminus or a crossroads, but the population did grow to 2,300 in the 1880s. Las Cruces was incorporated as a town in 1907.[1][1]

Pat Garrett is best known for his involvement in the Lincoln County War, but he also worked in Las Cruces on a famous case, the disappearance of Albert Jennings Fountain in 1896.[1]

New Mexico State University was founded in 1888, and it has grown as Las Cruces has grown. Growth of Las Cruces has been attributed to the university, government jobs, and recent retirees. The establishment of White Sands Missile Range in 1944 and White Sands Test Facility in 1963 has been integral to population growth. Las Cruces is the nearest city to each, and they provide Las Cruces' work force many high-paying, stable, government jobs. In recent years, the influx of retirees from out of state has also increased Las Cruces' population.

In the 1960s Las Cruces undertook a large urban renewal project, intended to convert the old downtown into a modern city center.[1] As part of this, St. Genevieve's Catholic Church, built in 1859, was razed to make way for a downtown pedestrian mall.[1] The original covered walkways are now being removed in favor of a more traditional main street thoroughfare.

The exact origin of the city's name is unknown. In the 18th century, a party consisting of a priest, bishop, colonel, captain, 4 trappers and 4 choir boys were attacked at the nearby Rio Grande. Multiple crosses were erected in their honor, providing for the name of El Pueblo del Jardin de Las Cruces, (the City of the Garden of Crosses) which then evolved and shortened to Las Cruces. Later, a group of about 40 travelers coming along the Camino Real de Tierra Adentro died nearby, resulting in a similar group of crosses. Similarly, crosses on a hillside marking the graves of bandits echo an old tale of the valley of "Los Hermanos". The name may also be a mistranslation of the Spanish for "crossing" or "crossroads", as cruce, the singular form of "crossroad", is masculine and the phrase would be Los Cruces.

The Las Cruces Bowling Alley Massacre occurred in Las Cruces on February 10, 1990.

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