Lordsburg, New Mexico

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Lordsburg, New Mexico
Hidalgo County Courthouse in Lordsburg
Hidalgo County Courthouse in Lordsburg
Location of Lordsburg in New Mexico
Location of Lordsburg in New Mexico
Lordsburg, New Mexico is located in the United States
Lordsburg, New Mexico
Lordsburg, New Mexico
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 32°20′49″N 108°42′26″W / 32.34694°N 108.70722°W / 32.34694; -108.70722Coordinates: 32°20′49″N 108°42′26″W / 32.34694°N 108.70722°W / 32.34694; -108.70722
CountryUnited States
StateNew Mexico
 • MayorRobert Barrera
 • Total8.43 sq mi (21.82 km2)
 • Land8.43 sq mi (21.82 km2)
 • Water0.00 sq mi (0.00 km2)
4,250 ft (1,295 m)
 • Total2,335
 • Density277.15/sq mi (107.01/km2)
Time zoneUTC-7 (MST)
 • Summer (DST)UTC-6 (MDT)
ZIP codes
88009, 88045
Area code575
FIPS code35-42180
GNIS feature ID0891335

Lordsburg is a city in and the county seat of Hidalgo County, New Mexico, United States.[3] Hidalgo County includes the southern "bootheel" of New Mexico, along the Arizona border.[4] The population was 2,797 at the 2010 census,[5] down from 3,379 in 2000.


Lordsburg was founded in 1880 on the route of the Southern Pacific Railroad. The Continental Divide Trail starts at the Crazy Cook Monument and travels through Lordsburg.[4] Local lore is that Billy the Kid washed dishes in Lordsburg hotel kitchens such as the Stratford Hotel, and La Fonda, the historic "inn at the end of the Santa Fe Trail" during his teenage years.[6]

New Mexico state song[edit]

Lordsburg is the birthplace of the official New Mexico state song, "O Fair New Mexico".[7] It was written by Lordsburg resident Elizabeth Garrett, the blind daughter of famed sheriff Pat Garrett. In 1917, Governor Washington Ellsworth Lindsey signed the legislation making it the official state song. In 1928, John Philip Sousa presented Governor Arthur T. Hannett and the people of New Mexico an arrangement of the state song embracing a musical story of the Indian, the cavalry, the Spanish and the Mexican.[8]

Lordsburg Municipal Airport[edit]

In December 1938, the Lordsburg Municipal Airport (KLSB) began operation.[9] It was the first airport in New Mexico.[10] In 1927, Lordsburg was one of the stops on Charles Lindbergh's transcontinental Spirit of Saint Louis air tour.[11] In the early 1950s the airport was served by the original Frontier Airlines (1950–1986) which flew DC-3s on a route from El Paso to Phoenix that included stops at Las Cruces, Deming, and Lordsburg, as well as Clifton, Safford, and Tucson, Arizona.[12] It is owned by the City of Lordsburg and is southeast, about one mile outside the city limits.[13]

World War II[edit]

Japanese internees from the Monterey, Salinas, and Watsonville areas of California, at Camp Lordsburg in New Mexico during World War II. 1942-43

Lordsburg held as many as 1,500 Japanese Americans in a Japanese American internment camp operated by the U.S. Army during World War II. On July 27, 1942, shortly after the Lordsburg Internment Camp was opened, Private First Class Clarence Burleson, a sentry at the facility, allegedly shot two Japanese American internees under questionable circumstances. One of the victims, Hirota Isomura, apparently died instantly. The other, Toshiro Kobata, died before dawn. After a military investigation and court-martial, Burleson was found to have lawfully killed the two men. The camp operated until July 1943.[14][15] The incident inspired an episode of the new Hawaii 5-0 series, "Ho'oani Makuakane", Episode 4/9 (original air date December 13, 2013).

The camp at Lordsburg also held captured German and Italian soldiers.[16]

Rest stop[edit]

For many years, Lordsburg has been a popular rest stop for people traveling to and from the West Coast by car on Interstate 10 and its precursor highway, U.S. Route 80. At 641 miles (1,032 km) from downtown Los Angeles, Lordsburg can comfortably be reached by car in less than one day. As Lordsburg had one of the few motels in the Southwest that would accept black guests (El Paso being a notable exception), it was especially popular with African American travelers in the mid-20th century during the end of legal segregation.[11]

There are 12 motels and hotels in Lordsburg. Over 300 rooms are available to guests.[10]


Lordsburg is in northern Hidalgo County, at the intersection of Interstate 10 and U.S. Route 70. I-10 leads east 60 miles (97 km) to Deming and 120 miles (190 km) to Las Cruces, while to the west it leads 155 miles (249 km) to Tucson, Arizona. US 70 follows I-10 to the east out of Lordsburg but leads northwest 153 miles (246 km) to its terminus at Globe, Arizona.

According to the United States Census Bureau, Lordsburg has a total area of 8.4 square miles (21.7 km2), all land.[5]


Lordsburg has a semi-arid climate (Köppen BSk), just avoiding designation as a desert climate (BWk).

Typical for the more southerly and lower elevations of the Intermountain West, summers are extremely hot during the daytime, with maxima above 90 °F or 32.2 °C for over four months on an average of 122 afternoons during a full year. 100 °F or 37.8 °C is exceeded on average during 30 afternoons each year, and the record high of 114 °F (45.6 °C) was set during a notorious southwestern heatwave on June 27, 1994. Humidity in early summer is very low, but increases in late summer due to the monsoon, which, between July and early October brings the majority of the year's limited precipitation. From October temperatures cool off rapidly, and by November most mornings are below 32 °F or 0 °C, but afternoons remains comfortable to warm all through the winter, with only 10.1 afternoons failing to reach 50 °F or 10 °C and only one afternoon every two years not topping freezing. Minima fall below freezing on an average of 108 mornings, but 0 °F or −17.8 °C has been reached only during two exceptional cold waves in January 1962 and December 1978, when the record low of −14 °F or −25.6 °C was reached on the 9th.

Except for the freakishly wet December 1991 when 4.55 inches (115.6 mm) fell from a series of subtropical cyclones, monthly rainfalls above 4.00 inches or 101.6 millimetres are restricted to the monsoon season: the wettest month between 1971 and 2000 was July 1981 with 5.34 inches (135.6 mm). The wettest day has been June 28 of 1981 with 3.00 inches or 76.2 millimetres. Snowfall is very rare; the median for the year is zero and the mean only 3.5 inches or 0.09 metres; with the heaviest snowfall between 1971 and 2000 being of 11.0 inches or 0.28 metres during Christmas and Boxing Days, 1987.

Climate data for Lordsburg 4 SE, New Mexico (1991 to 2020; extremes 1948 to 2001)
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 80
Average high °F (°C) 60.5
Average low °F (°C) 25.2
Record low °F (°C) −9
Average rainfall inches (mm) 0.88
Average snowfall inches (cm) 1
Average rainy days (≥ 0.01 inch) 4.7 4.2 4.2 1.7 2.1 2.2 8.0 7.5 4.8 4.6 2.9 4.2 51.1
Source 1: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration[17]
Source 2: Weather Atlas[18]


Historical population
Census Pop.
U.S. Decennial Census[19][2]

As of the census[20] of 2000, there were 3,379 people (2,398 est. 2019[21]), 1,220 households, and 854 families residing in the city. The population density was 403.1 people per square mile (155.7/km2). There were 1,414 housing units at an average density of 168.7 per square mile (65.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 80.70% White, 0.56% African American, 0.77% Native American, 0.50% Asian, 13.97% from other races, and 3.49% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 74.43% of the population.

There were 1,220 households, out of which 36.9% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 46.5% were married couples living together, 18.6% had a female householder with no husband present, and 30.0% were non-families. 27.3% of all households were made up of individuals, and 12.4% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.70 and the average family size was 3.31.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 31.9% under the age of 18, 8.5% from 18 to 24, 25.6% from 25 to 44, 18.9% from 45 to 64, and 15.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females, there were 94.8 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 89.4 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $21,036, and the median income for a family was $28,026. Males had a median income of $25,952 versus $18,177 for females. The per capita income for the city was $10,877. About 28.6% of families and 32.7% of the population were below the poverty line, including 47.5% of those under age 18 and 19.3% of those age 65 or over.

Cultural references[edit]

Lordsburg is the final destination in Stagecoach, the 9th greatest Western film of all time according to the American Film Institute, starring John Wayne in his breakthrough role as the Ringo Kid, and directed by John Ford. In 1995, this film was deemed "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" by the United States Library of Congress and selected for preservation in their National Film Registry.[22]

Lordsburg is also the final destination in Apache Uprising, the 1965 film starring Rory Calhoun, Corinne Calvet, Lon Chaney Jr. Gene Evans and DeForest Kelley.

The town of Lordsburg is mentioned some 20 times in the movie Comanche Station, but not visited once.

Lordsburg is also cited in the 1954 film Dawn at Socorro. In it, the character played by Piper Laurie tells the Rory Calhoun character that she had seen him in Lordsburg killing someone in a shoot-out. Thus, Rory Calhoun was in two western movies that used the "town" of Lordsburg.

In the book 'When the Emperor was Divine', the father is mentioned as having been taken away to the Lordsburg internment camp during World War II.

In the book Interred with their Bones, by Jennifer Lee Carrell, the city of Lordsburg is mentioned as near the ghost town of Shakespeare, which ends up being part of the protagonist's search. At one point in the story, the characters fly into the airport in Lordsburg.

Lordsburg is cited as the place where an important event takes place in the fiercely honest and deeply empathetic experiences of a border patrol agent, in the book "The Line Becomes A River", by Francisco Cantu.

In Solar (novel), a novel by Ian McEwan, the main protagonist Michael Beard visits Lordsburg several times. In his quest for a type of experimental solar-based renewable energy production, he and his partner are building a solar power plant in Lordsburg.


Lordsburg High School's mascot is the Maverick. Its school colors are orange and black. Students compete in football, volleyball, boys' basketball, girls' basketball, cheer, and boys' and girls' track and field, baseball and softball.


Lordsburg once had two radio stations. During the 1960s KLHS broadcast on 950 kHz AM with 1,000 watts days. This station later moved to Bayard, 55 miles (89 km) northeast of Lordsburg. The FCC later assigned 97.7 to KXKK in the 1980s, now KPSA-FM; this station has since moved to 98.5.



Greyhound Lines maintains a terminal in Lordsburg.


  • Lordsburg Municipal Airport, private, charter and military (first airport in New Mexico)
  • Tucson International Airport, 150 miles (240 km) west of Lordsburg, is the nearest public airport with scheduled passenger flights.
  • El Paso International Airport, 170 miles (270 km) east of Lordsburg

Grant County Airport,(49 miles) northeast of Lordsburg.

Major highways[edit]



  1. ^ "ArcGIS REST Services Directory". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved October 12, 2022.
  2. ^ a b "Census Population API". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved Oct 12, 2022.
  3. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  4. ^ a b "Lordsburg-Hidalgo Chamber of Commerce". Lordsburg-Hidalgo Chamber of Commerce.
  5. ^ a b "Geographic Identifiers: 2010 Census Summary File 1 (G001): Lordsburg city, New Mexico". American Factfinder. U.S. Census Bureau. Archived from the original on February 13, 2020. Retrieved August 24, 2017.
  6. ^ KELLER, TEDDY. "ON THE TRAIL OF BILLY THE KID". Sun-Sentinel.com.
  7. ^ Lordsburg Archived 2009-06-18 at the Wayback Machine, New Mexico Tourism Department
  8. ^ "New Mexico State Song" (PDF). Archived from the original (PDF) on August 29, 2008.
  9. ^ http://www.airnav.com/airport/KLSB AirNav website
  10. ^ a b "Lordsburg :: New Mexico Tourism Department". Archived from the original on 2007-10-19. Retrieved 2008-02-24. New Mexico Tourism Department
  11. ^ a b Lee, Kurtis (2020-09-23). "The museum closed first. As in many states, New Mexico's small towns bear the brunt of the pandemic". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2020-09-24.
  12. ^ Frontier Airlines timetable: November 1, 1950
  13. ^ "Lordsburg Municipal Airport :: New Mexico Tourism Department". Archived from the original on 2004-09-07. Retrieved 2008-02-24. New Mexico Tourism Department
  14. ^ "Department of Justice and U.S. Army Facilities".
  15. ^ "Lordsburg Revisited: A Closer Look at the Lordsburg Court-martial". www.manymountains.org.
  16. ^ "New Mexico's Prisoner of War Camps". Archived from the original on February 14, 2009.
  17. ^ "Climate Lordsburg - New Mexico and Weather averages Lordsburg". Climate Lordsburg - New Mexico using data from the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA). Retrieved January 22, 2018.
  18. ^ "Lordsburg 4 SE, New Mexico, USA - Monthly weather forecast and Climate data". NOAA. Retrieved 4 May 2021.
  19. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  20. ^ "U.S. Census website". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  21. ^ "Population and Housing Unit Estimates". United States Census Bureau. May 24, 2020. Retrieved Dec 16, 2020.
  22. ^ "Stagecoach," in the Internet Movie Database, retrieved January 28, 2022

External links[edit]