In October of 2013, a small group of concerned citizens founded Friends of Historic Lincoln to support the restoration and preservation of the Lincoln Historic Site as part of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs. By the fall of 2014, the paperwork was approved for the group to achieve its non-profit, tax-exempt status.
Membership is growing, and to-date we have received over $25,000 in donations or through the sale of membership and commemorative bricks that are placed in the courtyard of the Anderson-Freeman Visitors Center and Museum. We also generate income through the sale of detailed maps of Old Lincoln, sale of ads for the program for “The Last Days of Billy the Kid,” and soon we will have decorative license plates and posters for sale.
Friends of Historic Lincoln has used these funds to support a variety of projects the State has not budgeted for, including purchasing entry grates for the museums, light-blocking curtains to protect the archives, artists’ work and period-specific toys for the new children’s exhibit which opened in May of this year, restoration of the stairs in the San Juan Mission and Music in the Park, a once-a-month activity that will occur throughout the summer. We’ve paid for repairs to make road-worthy the utility trailer the staff of the Site use. We’ve paid the fees for Rangers to take an on-line class offered by the American Association of Arts and History. As a gesture of good will to support the Site’s artist/historian in residence programming, we made a donation to the Museum of New Mexico Foundation. We also donated to support a Chautauqua performance, specifically an appearance by Bob Estes who does a presentation called “Me and Billy the Kid.”
Of late, our largest and most recent commitment is to fund more markers for historically significant places and events in Lincoln, including the site of Sheriff Brady’s murder. To inform and entertain our tourists, this effort, which may cost upwards of $10,000, will add to the knowledge and experience of over 60,000 visitors a year.
We are reaching out today to invite you to join Friends of Historic Lincoln in restoring and preserving Old Lincoln by becoming a member. If you walk what President Rutherford B. Hayes, during the Lincoln County War, once called “the most dangerous street in the United States,” you will realize the rehabilitation these buildings need. To keep these buildings “alive,” the cost may run into the millions of dollars, but we are dedicated to doing whatever we can to help.
Our board members, all of whom live in the historic district, are:
Rory McMinn, President
Gary Stilwell, Vice President
Lonie Kewley, Secretary
Adele Karolik, Treasurer
Ginger E. Moore, Special Projects Manager
Lee K. Abbott