The town of Mesilla has as much history as any community in New Mexico. Residents can trace their family roots back more than 100 years and some still live on the family homestead in the original home.

Mesilla was the first territorial capital of New Mexico and where the Gadsden Purchase was signed.

There are few new homes in Mesilla. Living in the community puts one in line with some very strict architectural guidelines. Even an ancient two-bedroom adobe home with no frills can run more than $150,000.

Mesilla is a favorite destination for tourists interested in soaking up history and culture. Mesilla was where William H. Bonney, a.k.a. Billy the Kid, was tried for murder and convicted, only to escape shortly after the trial.

So little has changed in Mesilla that farms and ranches still surround most of Mesilla. The streets are so narrow there is barely room for two vehicles to pass.

Mesilla also is a favorite spot for students from nearby New Mexico State University looking for a place to hear live music and something cold to drink. The only difficulty is finding a place to park.

For many, living in Mesilla Park offers a distinct change from old Mesilla. The tree-lined streets of Mesilla Park make up the nearest unincorporated community to Mesilla. Construction on homes in Mesilla Park began in the early 1960s.

Many of the homes in the small neighborhood are substantial. Politicians and corporation CEOs are among those who live in Mesilla Park. An annual tradition is Christmas lights and home decorations.

Generations of southern New Mexicans have made a special point of driving through Mesilla Park to see the lights on Christmas Eve. The decorations are stunning and some who decorate their homes need two weeks or more to get everything in place.

Finding a home in Mesilla Park is not difficult. Finding a home in Mesilla is not an easy task, but worth every minute of the time having a look around.

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