History of Roswell

Believe it or not, the story of Roswell doesn’t begin on that famous day in 1947. No, it begins almost 70 years earlier during the time of frontier living, Apache Indians, Billy the Kid and the Lincoln County War. It seems that even in those days, Roswell was a place where worlds often collided.

Roswell is deeply rooted in the cattle industry. In the 1880s, cattle baron John Chisum’s large ranch with more than 100,000 head of cattle helped sustain Roswell’s early economy. Like many towns in southern New Mexico, Roswell was often visited by the famed outlaw Billy the Kid, adding to the lore of this one-of-a-kind city.

In the 1930s, Roswell was the place where Robert H. Goddard attempted to defy gravity. Known as the Father of Modern Rocketry, Goddard did some of his most influential work during his time in Roswell while working with notables such as Charles Lindberg and Harry Gugenheim. Fittingly, the local planetarium bears his name today.

July 6, 1947 – it was a day that forever changed Roswell, the world and maybe even the galaxy. This was the day when one local rancher told the Roswell authorities about an object that had crashed. Investigating officials at the Roswell Army Air Field first reported that they had discovered a “flying disk.” A few hours later, they revised their story and said that it was not a UFO, but rather a weather balloon. The mystery surrounding what really landed in that field is still being debated.

With a thriving downtown, a variety of recreational activities, fun attractions and tons of lodging options, today’s Roswell is a great place for visitors to discover a mystery of their own.