By Milan Simonich // New Mexico became the 47th state on Jan. 6, 1912. The state is full of good stories from its first century. Here are 100 of them â€” one for every year since statehood.
Created by lascrucessunnews on Dec 29, 2011
Last updated: 12/30/11 at 04:14 PM
New Mexico Centennial: 100 facts about New Mexico as it marks century of statehood has no followers yet. Be the first one to follow.
Flash flooding causes more than $20 million damage around Ruidoso. Raging waters ripped out nearly a dozen bridges. About 900 people had to be rescued, and one died in the floodwaters.
The Las Conchas Wildfire, which burned for nearly a month and threatened the town of Los Alamos, is mostly contained. It destroyed 63 homes and burned 156,593 acres.
Gov. Susana Martinez signs a bill making it illegal to claim that chile grown elsewhere is from New Mexico.
The state Legislature, after days of rancorous debate, agrees to expand Katieâ€™s Law. It requires that DNA samples be collected in every felony arrest. The law is named for Katie Sepich, raped and murdered by a stranger at age 22 in Las Cruces.
Scandal shakes the border town of Columbus. Its mayor, police chief and a village trustee were among 11 people indicted on suspicion of smuggling firearms to Mexico.
On his last day in office, Gov. Bill Richardson decides not to pardon Billy the Kid. The case involved the killing of a sheriff more than a century earlier. Richardson reviewed whether territorial governor Lew Wallace reneged on a promise to pardon the Kid in return for grand jury testimony in another case.
Mine That Bird, a 50-1 long shot, wins the Kentucky Derby. The gelding for a time was stabled at Sunland Park. His owners were from Roswell.
Gov. Bill Richardson signs a bill outlawing the death penalty. New Mexico was the 15th state to ban capital punishment.
A woman out for a walk on Albuquerqueâ€™s West Side finds a human bone protruding from a trail. Police investigate and discover the skeletal remains of 11 women and one unborn child in makeshift graves. The killings remain unsolved.
Four former football players who sued New Mexico State University for religious discrimination receive a $165,000 settlement. Coach Hal Mumme said neither he nor his staff did anything wrong, but the school paid the money to dispose of the case.
New Mexico outlaws cockfighting. It was a triumph for state Sen. Mary Jane Garcia, D-Dona Ana, who for 18 years introduced bills seeking the ban. Louisiana was left as the only state where cockfighting was legal.
David Iglesias, U.S. attorney for New Mexico, announces that he has been forced to resign. An appointee of President George W. Bush, Iglesias said Republicans looking for a political advantage were behind his ouster. Iglesias said U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici and U.S. Rep. Heather Wilson called him before the 2006 election to ask whether he would be indicting a Democrat.
The Rail Runner begins service between the Downtown Albuquerque, Los Ranchos and Sandoval County stations. The trainâ€™s routes would expand from Belen to Santa Fe. In all, the project cost more than $380 million.
The Legislature approves the hot-air balloon as the official state aircraft. This is a tribute to the annual Hot Air Balloon Fiesta in Albuquerque, which began in 1972 and is the largest air show of its kind in the world.
State Sen. Gerald Ortiz y Pino argues that El Paso, Texas, should be part of New Mexico, based on old surveying errors. His proposal died, keeping his hometown of Albuquerque as New Mexicoâ€™s largest city.
Bill Richardson, the Democratsâ€™ candidate for governor, shakes the hands of 13,392 people at the New Mexico State Fair and a UNM football game against Baylor. Richardsonâ€™s feat made â€śRipleyâ€™s Believe It Or Not.â€ť He won the election seven weeks later.
The first federally funded memorial to soldiers in the Bataan Death March is dedicated. â€śHeroes of Bataan,â€ť an eight-foot bronze statue at Las Cruces Veteransâ€™ Park, features the cast footprints of march survivors.
Roberto Estrada of Las Cruces set a Guinness world record for making the largest enchilada. His was 10.5 feet in diameter. The record has since been broken.
A natural gas pipeline explosion kills 12 members of a family camping along the Delaware River south of Carlsbad. The explosion, caused by a corroded section of pipeline, becomes a catalyst for safety improvements.
President Clinton becomes the first sitting U.S. president to make an official visit to the Navajo Nation. He met with residents of Shiprock.
DNA from an animal led to a murder conviction for the first time in U.S. history. A hair from a reddish-brown pit bull mix was in the sock of Elizabeth Ballard, a Ruidoso woman who was strangled and left in the desert. The hair connected the murder to the dogâ€™s owner, Charles Martinez, 41.
After years of studies and protests, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant opens in the Chihuahuan Desert outside Carlsbad. WIPP is an underground repository for nuclear waste.
For the first time since its founding in 1891, a woman leads the Corps of Cadets at the New Mexico Military Institute. She was Heather Christensen of Roswell.
The Georgia Oâ€™Keeffe Museum opens in Santa Fe, 11 years after her death. It is the first art museum dedicated to the work of a woman artist of international stature.
Casino gambling is legalized in New Mexico. The law permits electronic gambling devices and â€śhigh-stakes gamblingâ€ť in casinos on Indian reservations, such as Inn of the Mountain Gods in Mescalero. Slot machines are allowed at horse tracks.
A report on the "Taos Hum" is released but sheds no light on the cause of the unexplained sound residents have complained about for years. The low-pitched hum was described as similar to the noise of a distant diesel engine. Its origin remains a mystery.
A seemingly healthy man living on the Navajo Nation collapses and soon dies of acute respiratory failure. His girlfriend died that same week under similar circumstances. Scientists identified the disease that killed them as hantavirus. It would cause 45 deaths in the Southwest between 1993 and 1995.
Two gunmen kill four people in a morning robbery at a Las Cruces bowling alley. Three others were wounded. Those who died were 26, 13, 6 and 2 years old. The killers were never caught.
Three inmates escape from the Penitentiary of New Mexico in a helicopter. The girlfriend of one prisoner hired an unsuspecting pilot, then pulled a pistol and ordered him to fly into the prison yard. The prisoners were soon caught. The state charged the pilot as an accomplice, but attorney F. Lee Bailey got him an acquittal.
Jim Valvanoâ€™s North Carolina State team upsets Houston, 54-52, to win the NCAA basketball championship in Albuquerque. The game, at UNMâ€™s Pit, was part of the last Final Four played on a university campus.
A jury in Las Cruces decides 10-2 that the Albuquerque Journal did not libel William Marchiondo. Marchiondo, an attorney, claimed the newspaper defamed him in 1977 when it published a photo of him playing cards with a headline saying â€śOrganized crime showing interest in New Mexico.â€ť
With sales of denim jeans in decline, Levi Strauss & Co. announces it will close its plants in Clovis and Hobbs. The Clovis factory employed 235 people and the one in Hobbs had 180 workers.
The Space Shuttle Columbia lands at Northrup Strip near Holloman Air Force Base. It was the first and only time a space shuttle landed in New Mexico after a mission.
Thirty-three inmates die in rioting at the New Mexico State Penitentiary near Santa Fe. Other prisoners killed them, claiming they were snitches.
The University of New Mexico fires basketball coach Norm Ellenberger after an investigation shows a playerâ€™s academic transcript was falsified. The scandal widened and became known as Lobogate.
Four members of the Vagos Motorcycle Club are freed from New Mexicoâ€™s death row. They were wrongly convicted in the 1974 kidnapping and murder of a student at the University of New Mexico.
The white-sided jackrabbit is listed as an endangered species by the New Mexico Department of Game and Fish. Today, about 60 of these jackrabbits exist in the United States. All of them live in Hidalgo County, the New Mexico Bootheel.
The Hobbs High School basketball team averages an incredible 114 points a game for the season. These high-flying Eagles finished 26-1 and won the state championship under legendary coach Ralph Tasker.
The burned and beaten bodies of two Navajo men were found in Chokecherry Canyon. Another Navajo manâ€™s body was discovered later. Three white Farmington High School students were prosecuted as juveniles in the murders. They did short stays in reform school.
The first Peanut Valley Festival is held on the campus of Eastern New Mexico University in Portales. New Mexico now produces 46 million pounds of peanuts a year, according to the state Department of Agriculture.
Goddard High School in Roswell allows Nancy Lopez to join the boysâ€™ golf team. Goddard has no girlsâ€™ team, but Congress passed the Title IX law mandating gender equality in school athletics. Lopez helps Goddard win two boysâ€™ state championships, then goes on to a hall-of-fame professional career on the womenâ€™s tour.
Silver Cityâ€™s Harrison Schmitt walks on the moon. Schmitt was one of three astronauts on Apollo 17, the last American lunar mission.
Catherine Carr, 18, of Albuquerque wins gold medals in the 100-meter breaststroke and the 4x100 meter medley relay at the Summer Olympics in Munich.
The Albuquerque Dukes become a triple-A farm team of the Los Angeles Dodgers. The Dukes manager that season was a quotable up-and-comer named Tommy Lasorda.
President Nixon signs a law returning 48,000 acres, including Blue Lake, to Taos Pueblo Indians. The U.S. government had taken the property in 1906.
The University of New Mexico is a powder keg as Vietnam war protesters and the National Guard face off. National Guard soldiers had shot and killed four students at Kent State University in Ohio four days earlier. UNM President Ferrel Heady defuses the tension by meeting with students for hours and then walking alongside 1,500 war protesters.
Columbia Pictures releases â€śEasy Rider,â€ť starring Dennis Hopper, Peter Fonda and Jack Nicholson. The Las Vegas jailhouse was a prominent location in the movie about two bikers on a trek from Los Angeles to New Orleans.
The state creates a film office to attract moviemakers. Gov. David Cargo said this was the first economic development department in the country targeting Hollywood.
Bobby Unser becomes the first member of his Albuquerque-based family to win the Indianapolis 500. His brother, Al, and nephew, Al Jr., also would become Indy champions.
President Lyndon Johnson rejects a portrait by New Mexico artist Peter Hurd. Instead, it is donated to the Smithsonian museum, and a joke takes hold at the White House: â€śArtists should be seen but not Hurd.â€ť