Style: Victorian-Queen Anne
Downtown Roswell Historic District
Original houses in the Roswell area were made of adobe or even sod. Log cabins were rare as the closest trees grew in the mountains 75 miles to the west, until settlers began planting them around their new homes. The arrival of the railroad in 1894 allowed building materials like brick, glass, and lumber to be brought in more easily, and newly arriving Roswell residents then began to build with these new materials in the familiar styles of their hometowns farther east: Georgian, Queen Anne, Colonial Revival, California Mission, Hipped Box, Mediterranean, Prairie, and Greek Revival among others.
As Roswell grew during the late 1800s and early 1900s, patterns of settlement emerged. Hispanics generally lived south of the Hondo River on the east side of town. The small number of African-Americans tended to cluster along the Hondo River east of Main Street, but some lived interspersed in mainly Hispanic or Anglo areas. Working-class Anglos lived close to the business district, while wealthy Anglo merchants, bankers, and cattlemen built their larger, more expensive homes along wide avenues farther west.
As the business district expanded in the second half of the Twentieth Century, homes in some of these residential areas, such as the 300 and 400 blocks of North Pennsylvania and North Kentucky Avenues, were replaced by businesses, but most of the area remains residential: today's Downtown Historic District. Broad lawns and stately cottonwood, elm, poplar, mulberry, and pecan trees give the Downtown Historic District a Midwest feel and create a friendly habitat for birds and the squirrels whose ancestors early Pecos Valley developer J.J. Hagerman reportedly imported from back east. White-winged, Mourning, and Inca Doves are common here.
In March and October Turkey Vultures gather for migrations in large numbers, often roosting in trees in the Downtown Historic District or riding thermals over the pecan orchards, creating a sometimes eerie atmosphere. Sidewalks in the Downtown Historic District stamped with dates like 1909, 1910, and 1914 are in pretty fair condition for something that has been walked on for almost 100 years. The older ones have a brownish cast. Is it from age, or just different materials? A walk along the alleys as well as the sidewalks gives a different perspective on some of the houses and uncovers a few hidden gems.
8th St., N. Pennsylvania Ave., N. Kentucky Ave., Missouri Ave., Richardson Ave. | Roswell, NM 88201
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