Saturday, December 22, 2007

Since one of our propane tanks was empty, we took it down to the local propane dealer to get it filled up. After bringing it back and installing it, we drove down to the Pancho Villa State Park Visitor/Education Center.

The park is located at the site of the Columbus military post, Camp Furlong. In the early morning hours of March 9, 1916, Pancho Villa and his guerrillas attacked Columbus, killing many people. In retaliation, General John J. "Black Jack" Pershing led the Punitive Expedition down into Mexico chasing the Villista raiders. While Pershing succeeded in dispersing the Mexican forces that had attacked Columbus, Pancho Villa vanished into the Mexican back country and was never captured (gee, does that sound familiar?).

A few buildings dating from the time of Villa's raid still stand in Columbus, including the adobe Hoover Hotel, the restored Columbus railroad depot (where the Columbus Museum is housed), the old U.S. Customs Service building, plus several sites of historic interest located among the extensive cactus gardens of the park.

The Punitive Expedition was the first U.S. military operation to employ mechanized vehicles including automobiles, trucks, and airplanes, though fuel for these vehicles often had to be transported on pack mules.

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