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Southwest Adventure, Living & Travel


Deming, New Mexico

City of Windmills

Deming, located in southwestern New Mexico on Interstate Highway 10, was settled about 1880, around the time the first railroad crossed the Southwest. The town was, in fact, named for Mary Ann Deming, wife of Charles Crocker, one of four men who built the first rail line through Deming plus three other lines for the Southern Pacific Railroad.




In the early days, Deming was called "the city of windmills," reflecting the community’s use of wind energy to pump water from large aquifers. The aquifers were formed over time by streams which drained the mountains to the north and sank into the sandy fill of the desert basin.

A neatly laid-out city, Deming lies amidst irrigated fields and desert grasslands, all set against the backdrop of the Florida Mountains. The agricultural community raises chili, onions, cotton, pecans, wine grapes, feed crops and cattle. Pumps and deep wells, which replaced the early windmills, now produce the pure water that serves for irrigation and city services. As in many areas in the Southwest, Deming’s water supply requires careful management because it is now being used faster than the aquifers can be recharged naturally.

Deming, the county seat of Luna County, benefits from its location on Interstate Highway 10. Approximately half way between Tucson and El Paso, it is like an oasis in the long drive between the two major cities. It has more motel rooms than one would expect for a town its size. It attracts many winter visitors, who are drawn by the moderate seasonal climate, laid-back atmosphere and favorable location. It is a jumping-off place to the great Gila Wilderness and Mimbres Valley to the north and to Columbus and the Mexican border to the south.

Population / Elevation

  • 14,000 people / 4,331 feet above sea level

Weather / Climate

 Deming, New Mexico - Monthly Climate Normals
   Year  Jan  Feb  Mar  Apr  May  Jun  Jul  Aug  Sep  Oct  Nov  Dec
 Avg °F

 60

41

 46

51

58

67

77

80

78

72

61

49

42
 Rain

9.4

0.5

0.4

0.4

0.2

0.3

0.5

0.2

1.9

1.3

.8

0.4

0.6

Click for Deming, New Mexico Forecast


History

Long before Deming, about 800 to 1100 years ago, the Mimbres Indians – who belonged to a branch of the Mogollon Tradition – lived in agriculture hamlets along the Mimbres River to the north. Their craftsmen produced pottery which would become world famous in modern times. The Mimbres disappeared with scarcely a trace during the 12th and 13th centuries. In the 17th through the 19th century, Spanish, then Mexican, then U. S. soldiers and miners patrolled and explored the area. They were met by the Apache Indians, who waged fierce campaigns to drive the invaders from their land.


Just before the Civil War, the Butterfield Overland Stagecoach line ran north of Deming, changing mule teams at a way station near a spring at the foot of Cooke’s Peak. The U. S. Army built Fort Cummings near the spring in 1863 to defend the area against famed Apache raiders Cochise and Mangas Coloradas. The military abandoned the fort in 1886, after the Indian threat ended.

The arrival of the railroad in 1881 – the nation’s second transcontinental railway – was commemorated by the driving of a silver stake, and it proved to be a defining event for the community. A Harvey House was built to serve train passengers, and it became a social center for Deming. The building also served as the dormitory for the Harvey Girls. Part of the original building is still standing next to the Amtrak train depot. Indeed, Deming’s downtown business area still has various brick buildings which exhibit the architecture of the late 19th century.

On March 9, 1916, Deming was shaken by events 32 miles to the south, in the border town of Columbus. In the early morning of that fateful day, the legendary Mexican combatant Pancho Villa and around 1000 of his men crossed the border from Mexico and struck Columbus and the 13th Cavalry at Camp Furlong. It was the first time since the War of 1812 that a hostile foreign force had dared to invade the United States. President Woodrow Wilson sent General John J. Pershing into Mexico in pursuit with a punitive force of 10,000 troopers. Although Villa escaped capture, Pershing’s expedition field-tested new military equipment and tactics, which would soon be put into use in Europe in World War I.

During the same period, the War Department built Camp Cody near Deming for using in training soldiers. After the war, the camp was converted to a tuberculosis sanitarium. During the next world war, the military returned, building another base which was used for training bombadiers of the U. S. Army Air Corps.

Nowadays, it is Deming’s annual Great American Duck Race, a long-standing event, which makes history, on the last week-end of every August. Duck-owners are encouraged to participate in the main event. If you don’t own a fast, thoroughbred duck, you can participate in highly competitive tortilla tosses and outhouse races.


Things To Do

For a small town, Deming offers a visitor a lot of options. You can walk downtown to examine the architectural details of the late 19th and early 20th century buildings. You can visit the Deming Luna Mimbres Museum at the old Armory to see exhibits of the famed Mimbres pottery and other artifacts, rock and mineral collections, pioneer and ranching life, and even a 1907 REO automobile in pristine condition. You can play an 18-hole golf course, hunt domestic and exotic game in season, and enjoy wine-tasting at the St. Clair Winery.

You can drive southeast of Deming for about eight miles to Rock Hound Park, where you can camp, explore the rocky hills, and collect agate, jasper, quartz and geodes. You can drive about 32 miles south of Deming, to Columbus, where you can camp at Pancho Villa State Park, visit the local museum and explore the village. Just south of Columbus, you can cross the international border into Palomas and enjoy enchiladas and shopping, or you can drive farther south into Mexico’s state of Chihuahua, visit the historic Spanish missions at Janos and explore the stunning prehistoric Puebloan ruins at Casas Grandes, or Paquime.

You can take loop tours from Deming to the mountains to the north to visit historic mining areas which were once raided by the Apaches; the Gila National Forest, where you can hike and camp in true wilderness settings; and City of Rocks, where you can camp and picnic and climb strange and spectacular rock formations.

Hotels/Motels

There are hotels and motels in Deming, NM with something for every taste and price range. For more information and a complete list. Click Here. (Rates, availability and reservations online)

RV accommodations in or near Deming.

Resources & Nearby Attractions

Resources


Cities, TownsParks, & Monuments

  • Las Cruces - 60 miles east
  • Columbus/Palomas, Mexico - 32 miles south
  • Silver City - 53 miles north
  • Lordsburg - 60 miles west
  • Gila National Forest - 60 miles north
  • Gila Cliff Dwellings National Monument - 90 miles north
  • Rockhound State Park - 14 miles southeast
  • Spring Canyon Park - 15 miles south
  • City of Rocks State Park - 29 miles northwest

Additional Information

Deming/Luna County Chamber of Commerce
P. O. Box 8
Deming, New Mexico 88031
Ph. 1-800-848-4955

 


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