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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
Country United States
State New Mexico
County Hidalgo
Founded 1880
 • Mayor Arthur Clark Smith
 • Total 8.4 sq mi (21.7 km2)
 • Land 8.4 sq mi (21.7 km2)
 • Water 0.0 sq mi (0.0 km2)
4,250 ft (1,295 m)
 • Total 3,379
 • Density 402.3/sq mi (155.7/km2)
Time zone UTC-7 (MST)
 • Summer (DST) UTC-6 (MDT)
ZIP codes
88009, 88045
Area code(s) 575
FIPS code 35-42180
GNIS feature ID 0891335

Lordsburg is a city in and the county seat of Hidalgo County, New Mexico, United States. The population was 3,379 at the 2000 census.


Lordsburg was founded in 1880 on the route of the Southern Pacific Railroad.

New Mexico state song

Lordsburg is the birthplace of the official New Mexico State song, O Fair New Mexico. 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.

Lordsburg Municipal Airport

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

World War II

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. 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.

Rest stop

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 just over 600 miles from 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.

There are currently 12 motels and hotels located in Lordsburg. Over 300 rooms are available to guests.


According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 8.4 square miles (22 km2), all land.


Lordsburg has a cool semi-arid climate (Köppen BSk), just avoiding designation as a cool 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 an on an average of 111.4 afternoons during a full year. 100 °F or 37.8 °C is exceeded on average during 22.8 afternoons each year, and the record high of 114 °F (45.6 °C) was set during a notorious southwestern heatwave on June 27 of 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 though 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 121.3 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 (1971 to 2000; 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) 59.3
Average low °F (°C) 25.1
Record low °F (°C) −9
Rainfall inches (mm) 0.92
Avg. 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: National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration


Historical population
Census Pop.
1920 1,325
1930 2,069 56.2%
1940 3,101 49.9%
1950 3,525 13.7%
1960 3,436 −2.5%
1970 3,429 −0.2%
1980 3,195 −6.8%
1990 2,951 −7.6%
2000 3,379 14.5%
2010 2,797 −17.2%
Est. 2015 2,531 −9.5%
U.S. Decennial Census

As of the census of 2000, there were 3,379 people, 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

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.

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

In 1965, The movie "Apache Uprising" was mentioned again as the main town for this western film starring Rory Calhoun, Corinne Calvet, Lon Chaney Jr. Gene Evans and DeForest Kelley.

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.


Public transportation

Greyhound lines maintains a terminal in Lordsburg. Amtrak has two train lines which stop at the Lordsburg station.


  • Lordsburg Municipal Airport, private, charter and military. (First airport in NM)
  • El Paso International Airport, 160 miles (260 km) east of Lordsburg, is the nearest public airport with scheduled passenger flights.
  • Tucson International Airport, 155 miles (249 km) west of Lordsburg.

Major highways


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