The Wagon Mound, “the last great natural landmark on the Santa Fe Trail.” For more than 60 years covered wagons passed by to and from Santa Fe – the western trade route of the 19th century, the Trail blazers became fond of the mound and the lush, green meadows, the waters abound. Some stayed.
A settlement reborn. The ancients, the natives, the conquistadors, the trailblazers, all valued the land, worked the land and left it behind for a new culture to explore. The ancient animal paths which turned to into Indian trails, then into regular roadways and eventually main highways bisected the town. Aboard the coved wagon caravans were the future ranchers and businessmen. They were destined to create history. Over the same trails came the notorious outlaws and colorful characters of an unsettled time.
They first named it Santa Clara, after “Los Ojos de Santa Clara”, a name given by the poblanos due to the meadows and abundant waters. The settlement, at the foot of the present-day Santa Clara Hill, was renamed Pinkerton in the late 1870s and moved the main settlement into “town” where the railroad was expected to roll through. Pinkerton lasted one short year and the founding fathers settled on naming the community Wagon Mound. When the railroad arrived in 1879 the flotsam and jetsam of the world came or passed by on their way “out west”. Half of Europe, or it seemed, pressed westward to establish ranches, grab land, seek fortunes, or go broke! Wagon Mound witnessed the whole gaudy parade; there was an egress and ingress of interesting human beings around Wagon Mound. Some stayed.
The valley, between the two mounds, was no longer an isolated or peaceful place. When the caravans of easterners began to arrive, eager to settle, a new town was built. There the brooks and streams from the bountiful springs above in the canyon could be diverted and harnessed (as we do today) to please the newcomers. The town flourished, in fact it boomed! Wagon Mound became another important frontier town. Several hotels were built, soon other businesses opened. There was no stopping progress as the railway station was located just a short walk from the center of town, which made it very appealing to those aboard the train. Later, the train brought scientists, geologists, paleontologists and archaeologists looking for fossils, oil, gold or anything of value that could be wrestled from the virgin land.
Soon, Wagon Mound became a stopping point, a rest stop for the travelers on their way to Las Vegas, the town known as the “Wildest of the Wild West.” The train was a pleasant way to travel to the big town. Las Vegas was the destination, Wagon Mound was a necessary stop on the way there. The village offered every convenience a traveler of the day could want. Many on the way to Montezuma to the famous hot baths; the natural hot springs were highly advertised in eastern cities. The influx of people to Wagon Mound and the west consisted of wealthy easterners, the idle rich, railroad executives, fortune hunters, opera singers, actors and actresses, philanthropists, outlaws and of course many law-abiding citizens. Some stayed.
Into the 20th Century the village was incorporated in 1918, eight years after the birth of the Harvest Jubilee, or Bean Day in modern terms. In 2018, the community celebrated the Centennial, 100 years of an official village named Wagon Mound.