Columbus, New Mexico

Columbus, New Mexico
Columbus, New Mexico

Columbus is most famous as a result of the Pancho Villa invasion of the United States and a raid on the town in 1916. 500 Mexican soldiers took part in the attack. They seven or eight soldiers and burned part of the town before retreating back into Mexico. That led to the United States sending 10,000 troops under the command of General "Black Jack" Pershing into northern Mexico in pursuit of Villa. They failed in that they never found Villa but they succeeded in that they demonstrated the US Army was not prepared for warfare. That lesson was instrumental in President Woodrow Wilson's push to modernize the Army before the United Stated entered World War I the next year.

Columbus also achieved a bit of fame when the village mayor, police chief, a village trustee and nine other people were indicted in Federal Court in a gun smuggling scandal in 2011. Of the eleven people charged, ten pleaded guilty and one remains at large. That led to the dissolution of the village police department.

Columbus is located about three miles north of the Mexican border. The village of Puerto Palomas, Chihuahua is on the other side. The situation is unique in that the teachers at Columbus Elementary are required to be fully bilingual and courses are taught in both Spanish and English. Some 90% of the students come from homes where Spanish is the main language. Part of that is because the Deming Public School District buses students living in Puerto Palomas from the border crossing to the school in Columbus. Once they move on to Middle and High School, the students are bused the 25 miles north to schools in Deming every day.

Columbus is home to Pancho Villa State Park on the grounds of the former Camp Furlong (a National Historic Landmark District). Columbus is also home to City of the Sun, an intentional community begun in 1972 with the intention of "serving the Divine Purpose in community living with other Light Seekers."

The population of Columbus is down about 6% since 2000.

Fast Facts about Columbus, New Mexico
Columbus, Luna County, NM 88029
Latitude: 31.83076°N
Longitude: 107.641558°W
Founded: 1891
Elevation: 4,068'

High School or Higher: 35.2%
Bachelor's Degree or Higher: 7.9%
Graduate or Professional Degree: 2.0%
Cost of Living Index for Columbus: 85.6

2014 Estimates:
Median Household Income: $17,600
Median Home Value: $65,100
Median Resident Age: 33.9 Years
Major Industries:
Agriculture, Lodging & Food Services, Construction, Transportation & Warehousing, Retail Trade, Waste Management Services, Manufacturing, Natural Resources
Unemployed (August 2014): 13.1%
Population Demographics: 2010
Total Population 1,664
Males 833
Females 831
Population by Age
Under 18 559
18 & over 1,105
20-24 88
25-34 149
35-49 280
50-64 265
65 & over 277
Population by Ethnicity
Hispanic or Latino 1,430
Non Hispanic or Latino 234
Population by Race
White 1,085
African-American 5
Asian 2
Native American 19
Hawaiian or Pacific Islander 0
Other 519
Two or more 34