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Columbus Historical Society prepares for raid day memorial

Memorial pays respects for 18 American lives lost during Pancho Villa’s raid

The Columbus Historical Society is preparing to mark the102nd anniversary of the raid on the village of Columbus, which was carried out by the rag-tag army of Mexican revolutionary, Pancho Villa.

Before dawn on March 9, 1916, Villa and several hundred of his men attacked the village burning several buildings and looting stores. During the raid, 18 U.S. citizens were killed. The Society will hold a memorial service at 10 a.m. on Friday March 9, 2018 to honor them.

I hope the film will help to elevate the often overlooked yet vital work of historical societies throughout the borderlands

To preserve the memory of those who died

Since the 1970s, the CHS has been responsible for maintaining artifacts and archives to preserve the memory of those who died and the time period in which they lived. Each year, the Society sponsors a memorial service on the grounds of its museum located at the junction of NM Highways 9 and 11.

This year’s guest speaker, Cathy Crane, is an Associate Professor of Cinema at Ithaca College in New York and is an award-winning filmmaker. She is currently working on a short documentary about Columbus and the how the history of the raid shaped the town’s identity.

“I hope the film will help to elevate the often overlooked yet vital work of historical societies throughout the borderlands,” Crane stated. “The work of these societies is preserving crucial details of a history missing from institutional archives.”

The Society purchased the depot into a museum

The building that houses the museum was originally the El Paso and Southwestern Railroad depot built in 1912. The Society purchased the depot, refurbished it and transformed in into a museum that consists of three display rooms and a gift shop. Each display room has objects that focus on a main theme. One room is dedicated to railroad memorabilia, and another displays everyday objects from the turn of the last century including tools, toys and kitchenwares. The room at the west end of the building is dedicated to the period of the raid and the men of the 13th Cavalry who defended the town against the attackers.

The memorial service will honor both the soldiers and civilians who died. According to Columbus Historical Society president, Richard Dean, light refreshments will be available at 9:45 a.m. and the memorial will begin at 10 a.m. with an invocation by Bruce de Salas.

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