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First News Summer 2005

A History Lesson
Explore the Trail ... The Santa Fe Trail Interpretive Center & Museum

   Springer is located in a picturesque and historical part of northeastern New Mexico at the junction of Interstate 25 and US Highway 56. With a history as colorful as the buildings that line its streets, Springer found its beginnings in the turbulent days of the Maxwell Land Grant.
As the Santa Fe Trail era was winding to a close and the Santa Fe Railroad made its way through Springer in 1879, the town quickly became a shipping and transportation center for northeastern New Mexico and parts of west Texas. Shortly after, Springer became the third county seat of Colfax County from 1882-1897. Completed in 1882, the handsome structure known as the Old Courthouse still stands, its yellowish exterior a nostalgic monument. In early 1897, massive coal reserves turned Raton into a hub of commerce and the county seat was relocated leaving the Old Courthouse vacant. For years, the building served various functions. By 1967, the Springer Historical Society leased the building from the town of Springer and established the Santa Fe Trail Museum. During 1987, the Old Courthouse was approved for the National Register of Historic Places. After an application process in 1996, the National Scenic Byway Program awarded a $211,000 grant for the construction of a Santa Fe Trail Interpretive Center to be housed within the building.

   The exhibits, designed by an advisory committee of individuals with special knowledge and vested interests in Santa Fe Trail history and cultural heritage, tell the story of those exciting times. On the walls of the Santa Fe Trail Interpretive Center are colorful panels full of information from the wonderful era that started with the Santa Fe Trail and ended with the coming of the railroad. Other rooms are filled with equipment and materials used during the late 1800ís and early 1900ís. Itís a wonderful local history lesson. The Santa Fe Trail Interpretive Center & Museum is open from April 1st until October 31st. Business hours are 10:00 a.m. to 4:00 p.m., Tuesdays through Saturdays.

The Santa Fe Trail Museum
606 Maxwell Avenue
Springer, NM  87747
505/ 483-5554


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