What is the Real Roswell?
Roswell, New Mexico – the UFO Capital of the World is:
— A town of 50,000 (we keep claiming in spite of what the Census Bureau says).
— Anglos (meaning Caucasians) with Southern manners, conservative ideas, and a hint of Western individualism.
— Hispanics who are mostly just a few generations removed from Mexico, unlike those northern New Mexicans whose ancestors arrived from Spain in the 1600s.
— A scattering of African-Americans, Asians, and maybe an occasional Navajo or Mescalero Apache, but more likely a one-sixteenth Cherokee who drifted west from Oklahoma.
— A sprinkling of “arty” types, some UFO nuts, an occasional real cowboy, and a good chunk of Midwestern retirees who enjoy the low cost of living while playing golf all winter.
— An economy based on ranching and farming, oil and gas, and now tourism; plus enough medical, educational, professional, and business people to keep the place going, as the closest real city is two hundred miles in any direction.
In some ways Roswell hasn’t changed much since Sheriff Pat Garrett kept—or didn’t keep—the peace. Someone said, “They call it the Land of Mañana, but that really overstates the pace of life here.” You won’t find much excitement in Roswell, except of course when it rains and there’s water in the rivers—although it is usually deeper in the streets—or when all those UFO folks arrive every year in early July for the Festival.
Anyway, Roswell is a good place to raise a family: wholesome and safe, except for the occasional tornado or drive-by shooting. Roswell calls itself “the Pearl of the Pecos” and a pretty smart fellow named Will Rogers called it “the prettiest little town in the West.”
Roswell isn’t on the way to anywhere, except maybe Carlsbad Caverns if you’re driving the Mother Road—what’s left of Route 66—or if you are headed west from Texas to the skiing or horse racing in Ruidoso. You really have to want to be here to get here!
Roswell is a small (some say “backward”) town in the middle of nowhere. It isn’t a resort destination. If you can accept Roswell for what it is, you will be pleased with your stay, and maybe even learn a few things. Enjoy this outpost in the Land of Enchantment: seek out Roswell’s little pleasures, track down its footnotes to history, discover its quirks—like something that happened that July 1947.
To learn more about the people and culture of Roswell . . .
BUY the paperback or ebook edition of Lynn Michelsohn’s guidebook:
Roswell, Your Travel Guide to the UFO Capital of the World!
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