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Pancho Villa State Park, NM

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Pancho Villa State Park is located in Columbus, NM, very close to the Mexican border about 70 west of El Paso, TX. The park, then known as Camp Furlong, and the town were the site of Pancho Villa's raid on 9 March 1916. There was a massive military buildup after the raid in preparation for General J J Pershing's pursuit of Villa in Mexico.

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We visited Pancho Villa in early December and were a bit surprised at how few campers were here. Being the southern-most park in New Mexico, we expected it to be fairly busy. We had no problem getting a site; here we are on site 9.

Date of visit: Dec 2013

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The sites here all look pretty much alike. Here are sites 14-17.

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Almost all the sites here are pull-throughs; this is site 22.

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Sites 12 and 13 have a low stone wall partway around their cabanas.

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Along the west edge of the park are 6 sites with water-only hookups, sites 58 -63.

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Down at the south end of the park, furthest from the park entrance are sites 38-35. Site 37 is a double site with two sets of hookups.

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Sites 51-55.

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There is an area for tent-only camping.

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Here on site 57 I found this very unusual RV based on a Toyota mini-pickup. I looked it over carefully, but could not find any marking to hint of its manufacture.

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There are two bathhouses in the campground, both are heated and providing hot showers.

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There is a large playground in the center of the campground. Apparently it is covered during the summer months to provide some shade for the kids.

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At the north end of the park is Cootes Hill, from which one gets this overall view of the campground.

I'm not quite sure what would attract folks to spend much time here - it's a pretty barren location and is not near a lake, river or mountains.

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The park has preserved some historic buildings from the old Camp Furlong. This is the Recreation Hall.

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Protected by a canopy is the old Headquarters Building. The old JAG office and jail is under a similar shelter.

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I learned some interesting things about the Army while here. Pershing's pursuit of Panco Villa was the first US Army use of motorized vehicles. This is the first operational grease rack built by the Army in 1916.

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Pershing's mission into Mexico had a another first - the first use of airplanes in combat operations. This is a replica of the Curtiss JN-3 aircraft that were based at the Army's first combat airfield in Columbus. This replica is among displays in the park's museum.

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Located in the northeast corner of the park is the 1902 Custom House.

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Across the street from the Custom House is the former El Paso & Southwestern Railroad depot, also built in 1902. The last train departed Columbus in December, 1961. The station fell into disrepair, but in recent years has been restored by the Colombus Historical Society and is open for a few hours every day. It has a lot of information about Pancho Villa's raid and the eight soldiers and ten civilians that were killed that day. Some 200 of the bandits were killed as well.

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On display beside the museum is this old outside-braced Rock Island RR caboose. In 1938 it was built using an old 1915-era boxcar. The center section of the car, where the loading doors were, was cut out, shortening the length of the caboose to only twenty-nine feet.

Amenities

63 sites: 57 with W/E - $14, 6 with water-only - $10

Dump station

Showers

Good VZW coverage

Coordinates: 31.827431 North, 107.641685 West

Elevation: 4083'