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Lincoln Historic Site

Walk in the footsteps of Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett, and other famous and infamous characters of the Wild West. See the Old Lincoln County Courthouse with museum exhibits that recount the details of the Lincoln County War.

Location:

Southeast of Albuquerque, NM in Lincoln, NM

The Scoop

A walk down Main Street in Lincoln really is the real deal-a step back into the Wild Wild West. This is the home of Billy the Kid (William H Bonney) and where rival factions battled for control in Old West conflict. How cool is it to walk in the footsteps of Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett, and other famous icons of the wild west. Lincoln was at the center of the Lincoln County War from 1876-1879 and much of the town remains intact.

We explored Lincoln for a couple of hours en route to Ruidoso, NM. We parked at the visitor's center and received a map detailing the historic buildings along Main Street. We spent a bit of time walking thru the old Lincoln County Courthouse enjoying the museum exhibits along the way. The kids especially enjoyed seeing the jail cell where Billy the Kid was housed as well as the gun used in gunfight. We ended in the court room which begged for a mock trial. This was extra silly, as my son's name is Will. Poor After Will was "released" from his cell, we worked our way thru town exploring other 19th century preserved buildings on Main Street with exhibits.

In addition to the courthouse, the kids enjoyed the replica school room with costumes available for dress up, cattle roping area, and the gift shop. Some buildings were closed on this March week day, but I imagine they are just as interesting. We were sad the Tunstall store was closed, as we had heard it still displays unopened goods from the 19th century. We only encountered a few other visitors during our visit which really felt as if Lincoln was a ghost town. I am sure it is busier on weekends and during the summer months. They do have a Junior Ranger Program here, as well.

Old Lincoln Days, an annual festival held the first weekend of August offers s a parade, living history demonstrations, performances, arts, crafts, food, and much more. I am not surprised Lincoln County Historic Site is the most widely visited state monument in New Mexico with it's well preserved 19th century wild west landmarks.