The city of Roswell and Chaves County have been important historical sites throughout the history of human habitation in North America. Roswell, situated at the confluence of three rivers--the Spring, the Hondo, the Pecos--was established in 1870 by Van Smith, although the first historically documented settlement (1867) in the area was a settlement of crude adobe huts at "Rio Hondo," the present day neighborhood of Chihuahuita. The Roswell and Chaves County area was contained within the original homeland of the Mescalero Apaches and overlapped the hunting grounds of the Comanche’s and became the campsite on the Goodnight-Loving Trail, which opened in 1866. The trail brought the ranching industry to the area, which flourishes to the present day.
Visitors to the city will find a plethora of cultural activities. For example, museum and art lovers of every age and interest can explore four outstanding museums: the Anderson Museum of Contemporary Art, featuring a wide ranging collection of modern art; the Roswell Museum and Art Center, with its collection of paintings by Peter Hurd, Henriette Wyeth, Georgia O’Keefe, as well as the fabulous Rogers Aston Indian Gallery; the Historical Center for Southwest New Mexico, located in the James Phelps White stately home filled with antiques, artifacts, and a changing gallery of exhibits; and the International UFO Museum, featuring UFO phenomenon exhibits and The Alien Caffeine Espresso Bar. Information for these museums can be obtained by visiting www.roswellnm.org or calling the Roswell Visitors Center at 575-624 7704.