Fort Stanton was built in 1855 by the 1st Dragoon and the 3rd and 8th Infantry Regiments of the United States Army to serve as a base of military operations against the Mescalero Apaches. Numerous campaigns were fought from 1855 until the 1880’s. It was established to protect Hispano and White settlements along the Rio Bonito in the Apache Wars. Kit Carson, John "Black Jack" Pershing, Billy the Kid, and Buffalo Soldiers of the 9th Cavalry all lived here.
Officers Quarters at Fort Stanton
|Location||7 mi. SE of Capitan near U.S. 380|
|Nearest city||Capitan, New Mexico|
|Area||195 acres (79 ha)|
|Architectural style||Colonial Revival, Mission/Spanish Revival|
|NRHP reference #||73001142 (original)|
|Added to NRHP||April 13, 1973|
|Boundary increase||January 14, 2000|
|Designated NMHS||August 9, 2007|
|Designated NMSRCP||May 23, 1969|
Confederate forces occupied the outpost in 1861, at the beginning of the American Civil War. This U.S. military fortification was abandoned with the withdrawal of U.S. forces in 1896.
The fort was originally established in part as the Mescalero Apache reservation. In 1873 the reservation was moved 30 miles southwest to its current location. In 1899, President William McKinley transferred Fort Stanton property from the War Department to the Marine Hospital Service, converting the military reservation to America's first federal tuberculosis sanatorium.
During World War II, Fort Stanton was used as a detention center for German and Japanese Americans arrested as "enemy aliens," and 411 German nationals taken from the luxury liner Columbus in 1939 (officially recorded as "distressed seamen paroled from the German Embassy" since the U.S. was still technically neutral at the time of their capture). The "enemy aliens" were mostly immigrant residents of the U.S. who had been taken into custody as suspected saboteurs shortly after the U.S. entered the war, despite a lack of supporting evidence or access to due process for most internees. The 31 German American internees, labeled "troublemakers" by the Department of Justice, were kept separate from the 17 Japanese Americans (also deemed "troublesome" by authorities) who were transferred to Fort Stanton on March 10, 1945. These new arrivals were deported to Japan later that year.
In 2008, New Mexico governor Bill Richardson announced plans to establish Fort Stanton as a living history venue, Fort Stanton State Monument, and funds to renovate headquarters, officers quarters, and stables.
In 2009, the area around Fort Stanton and Fort Stanton Cave was designated by the U.S. Congress as a National Conservation Area (NCA), with more than 25,000 acres in order to protect a unique cave resource, Snowy River Passage in Fort Stanton Cave National Natural Landmark. Snowy River was discovered in 2001 by members of the Fort Stanton Cave Study Project. The new NCA, called Fort Stanton – Snowy River Cave, is managed by the Bureau of Land Management, Roswell Field Office. The NCA has over 90 miles of multi-use trails for horseback riding, mountain bike riding and hiking. It is the venue of an annual endurance riding event that has grown to be 6 days long. The NCA is joined on its south and northeast boundaries by the Smokey Bear Ranger District of the Lincoln National Forest.
In 2012, members of the Southwestern Region of the National Speleological Society completed a restoration project on the second floor balcony of Building #9, located on the Fort Stanton Quadrangle.
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World War II Internment Center
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- Fiset, Louis (Spring 2001). "Return to Sender: U.S. Censorship of Enemy Alien Mail in World War II". Prologue Magazine. Washington DC: National Archives and Records Administration. 33 (1). Retrieved May 2, 2012.
- McBride, James J. (1996). Interned: Internment Of The SS Columbus Crew During World War II. University of New Mexico.
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- "Stores and Germans "Sever Relations"", Spokane Daily Chronicle, p. 7, April 29, 1941
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- "Posse Recaptures Fugitive Germans: Ranchers and Cattlemen Round Up Quartet From New Mexico Camp", The Montreal Gazette, CLXXI (264), p. 20, November 4, 1942
- "Kuhn Goes On Hunger Strike: Increased Recreational Facilities Sought", The Telegraph-Herald, p. 9, August 30, 1944
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