Doņa Ana County Historical Society
Las Cruces, New Mexico
Committed to encouraging and promoting a greater appreciation and knowledge of the historical and cultural heritage of Southern New Mexico since 1963.

About Us
Annual Review
Awards Luncheon
Contact Us

Calendar Of Events / Programs                                                                              
Meetings are held at the Las Cruces Good Samaritan Village in the Stucky Auditorium downstairs in the main activites building, 3011 Buena Vida Cir., at 7 p.m. unless otherwise specified. Monthly programs are free and open to the public.
Feb. 21
David Lee del Norte
Hope stories. The DACHS gave a grant to David to help transcribe his oral histories from the Hope Village in Las Cruces. He will report.
Mar 21
Jim Eckles
Robert Oppenheimer, A Timely Genius. Jim will talk about Oppenheimer's life, just in time before the April Trinity Site Open House.
Apr 18
Dave Thomas
David will talk about the documentary film recently made about Giovanni Maria de Agostini, the Hermit of La Cueva. David was an advisor as he has written about the hermit that lived and died in our own backyard.
May 16
Dr. Dwight Pitcaithely
New Mexico, Slavery and the Confederate Cause.
Sep 19
Troy Ainsworth
Historic Preservation In Arid America. Troy is the Historic Preservation Specialist for the city of Las Cruces.
Oct. 17
Dr. Nicholas Natividad
The Juarez-El Paso area is a major passageway for human migration. He will examine the various policies affecting migration, some of which predate the country. CANCELLED due to auditorium conflict. Will reschedule in 2020.
Nov. 21
Judy Messel
Dorothy Heller Mechem:  New Mexico's First lady through four terms and one of the founders of the Dona Ana County Historical Society
Jan 25,
Annual Awards Event
At the NM Farm and Ranch Museum from 1-3 p.m. We'll have heavy hors d'oeuves during the first hour so don't eat lunch. In the second hour we'll have a presentation by Holly Radke on protecting and preserving your artifacts & history. Also, we'll present awards. The $25 price includes food, admission to the museum and the Antique Treasures show in the museum that day. Reservations required.

Quick Links
Our History and Mission
How we started in 1963 and what we do. Logo background.
Join Us
Membership form. Print it and fill it out by hand. Mail it with your check or bring to a monthly program.
Monthly Newsletter
Newsletters as PDFs going back to 2006.
Southern New Mexico Historical Review
Annual collection of articles covering the history of Southern New Mexico. The Review as PDFs going back to 1994.
Awards Luncheon Program
An event program is printed for the annual luncheon.  The luncheon programs as PDFs going back to 2013.
Scholarships / Grants
The DACHS has a fund to help support area history researchers. An application form is available for the different grants and / or scholarships.
A variety of publications the DACHS has available. GO HERE for a suggested reading list of books covering Southern New Mexico's rich history -- from conquistadors to V-2 rockets.
Award Categories & Forms
The DACHS has numerous awards that are available for places and people each year. Some have small cash awards associated with them. To see all Past Awards, GO HERE.
Who We Are
The board of directors and officers.
How To Contact Us
Addresses for snail mail and email.
Reference Materials
Links to other resources and postings of materials by the Dona Ana County Historical Society.
Member Activities/Photos
See what we've been up to

The Doņa Ana County Historical Society's Stagecoach

DACHS stage coachThis coach was identified by Kenneth Wheeling, editor of the Carriage Journal, as a “hack passenger wagon, model 209,” manufactured by the Abbot-Downing Company.  The company was most famous for its Concord coach but made over 40 different wagons and carriages.

This one belongs to the Doņa Ana County Historical Society and is on loan to the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces, N.M. The coach is believed to have been used to carry passengers from El Paso (Franklin City), Texas to Parral, Mexico from 1852 to 1871. Hugh Milton believed it was used on the Santa Fe to Chihuahua route.

Around 1972, Dr. Paul Jones bought the coach after it was found in an old army garrison south of Chihuahua, Mexico. The coach was restored prior to its appearance in the 1976 Las Cruces bicentennial parade with money raised by the high school students of both Las Cruces and Mayfield.

The coach was donated by Dr. and Mrs. Paul Jones to the historical society in December 1975.

In 2013, DACHS member George Helfrich spearheaded an effort to repair and restore the coach’s four wheels.  Much of the wood was rotten and it was getting dangerous to try and roll the coach from its display position. The work was completed in May 2014.

The cost to repair the rear wheels was $1,736 making the total cost to rebuild all four wheels $3,270. Repair efforts involved complete disassembly of the wheels, replacement of most spokes with new hickory spokes and replacement of the felloes (the wood sections bolted to the steel rims) with new sections made of ash wood. The steel rims and the composition hubs were cleaned and tightened as needed. George painted the wheels locally.

Now the coach can be safely moved in the exhibit hall as needed. Also, it may be possible to move the coach to offsite locations for display in the future.

George and wheelGeorge Helfrich displays one of the restored coach wheels after he painted it.