A stop in Columbus, New Mexico gave me a fun history lesson. Pancho Villa invaded Columbus and attacked killing 19 people on March 19, 1916. The attack was likely a retaliation towards President Woodrow Wilson who had pulled support of Villa the previous year, but the real reason is truly unknown. The previous years of Pancho Villa’s life included supporting others in the overthrow of the Mexican Government. Lots of fighting! Pancho Villa even had a movie contract in 1913, hence why his popularity.
Interesting fact: This attack is the only attack within the 48 states in addition to Sept 11, 2001 on New York City.
General John J. (Black Jack) Pershing came to the rescue of Columbus and searched for Villa in Mexico but he was never captured. Villa retired as a Mexican Revolutionary in 1920 and was found dead in 1923 at the age of 55.
March 12, 2016, brought a celebration in Columbus which is located at the Mexican border, south of Deming, NM. The day was filled with activities at Pancho Villa State Park as well as a full schedule of events in the town park of Columbus. The downside this day was the wind was a steady 30 mph with gusts higher.
Columbus sits at 4073 feet of elevation, mostly flat terrain with desert mountains nearby. This tiny town has some great character and I hear the Mexican town on the border, Palomas has some nice offerings. You can park on the US side and walk over for shopping, pharmaceuticals and dentists.
The State Park has an exhibit hall, historic structures that tell the story of the Pancho Villa raid and there is a historic military camp named Camp Furlong. The campground has 75 electric sites, 4 additional dry, all with a covered picnic table and ample room. 6 of these sites are reservable online, the others are first come first serve and you can find a site on most days. In the park you will find 2 group areas, very nice showers/bathrooms and a playground for kids. There are trees that provide a little shade. You can walk to the main part of town from the park.
The park exhibit hall and historic structures capture the history of the Pancho Villa Raid and historic Camp Furlong. The large campground offers utility hookups for campers with RVs, and a playground for the kids. There are no true trails in the park as it is right in town, but there is ample area to walk with your dog in the park and in town.[mapsmarker marker=”1″]