Fort Selden Historic Site | New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs

Fort Selden Historic Site

Established in 1865 in an effort to bring peace to south central New Mexico.

As early as 400 AD, Mogollon Native American farmers lived on the land that would become Fort Selden centuries later. Fort Selden was built in the Mesilla Valley in 1865 to protect settlers and travelers from escalating hostilities as settlers encroached on the Mescalero Apache homelands. Fort Selden housed the famous Buffalo Soldiers, the name given to African American regiments by the Native Americans. In 1880, the Chiricahua Apache leader Geronimo fled the confines of the San Carlos Reservation in Arizona to launch the final years of the Apache Wars. The military, fearing the worst, reoccupied Fort Selden, which they had abandoned just two years earlier. During the next decade, Fort Selden was the home of a boy who would become a famous warrior himself — Douglas MacArthur, whose father was post commander. By 1890, hostilities had calmed, and in 1891, troops again were withdrawn from the fort.

Today, Fort Selden Historic Site preserves more than 1400 years of history. Ghostly adobe footprints are all that remain of Fort Selden, offering visitors a glimpse of another time. The visitor center hosts an exhibit on frontier and military life and showcases historic artifacts and photos. 

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