It was a beautiful day when I got up this morning so I drove the 16 miles from Sumner Lake State Park into Fort Sumner.
Fort Sumner is a very small town, no big-name grocery stores, no fast food restaurants, and definitely no Walmart. I didn't drive around the whole town of course but I was on the 2 main roads in town and I didn't see any of these things, maybe there on the main road leaving town so I guess I'll find that out when I leave.
The town looks a bit shabby and dead which is made worse by the tourist season being over and no one walking around in the town. My guess is Fort Sumner is a "one trick pony" kind of town just like Tombstone Arizona. Without Wyatt Earp and the OK Corral Tombstone would probably be a ghost town. Just like without, Henry McCarty, alias William Bonney, alias Billy the Kid. Fort Sumner would be just another ranching town in the middle of nowhere with two gas stations and a restaurant called the Feed Bag. Which reminds me in a couple of days I'll be going to the King of "one trick pony" towns, Roswell New Mexico. A town that probably wouldn't even exist if it wasn't for the belief that a flying saucer full of Martians nosedived into the ground near their 60 or 70 years ago.
But nonetheless Fort Sumner it is a historic town and it does have a couple of museums, and it was the location of a real Army fort named Fort Sumner, of which there is nothing left except the forts Cemetery which is where Billy the Kid and others are buried. And there is a memorial there called the Bosque Redondo dedicated to the plight of the Apaches that were forced to live there for a while. And other than that there's not much else going on. But at least that's more than most farming and ranching towns have and it's enough to keep the town alive.
I was planning on visiting the Bosque Redondo Memorial while I was in town but when I pulled in I found out they were closed on Tuesdays, who'd a thunk it? So I guess tomorrow I'll make the 16 mile trip again, it's tough being a tourist.
Sign at Billy the Kid's grave
There are two others buried next to Billy the Kid. It shows what can happen if you hang around with the wrong crowd. Choose your friends wisely.
Billy the Kid's traveling headstone
Headstone for Billy the Kid and his pals. For many many years people would chip off a piece as a souvenir