Land of Enchantment REVIEWING Ruidoso Countryside: The Early Days

I recently was able to make two trips to the Ruidoso, New Mexico area. When I last went into my local library, I noticed a book that provided a brief outline of the history of that area and decided to check it out. This is not a very popular book, as it did not even have a record on Goodreads (I made one for it), so if anyone is interested in it, I recommend going to WorldCat and seeing if there is a copy by you, or doing an interlibrary loan for a copy if at all possible (some books are not in traveling condition or are used only as reference and thereby cannot be mailed out for interlibrary loans; it depends on the library policy and item availability).

NOTE: WorldCat is a giant, online library catalog. It can tell you which libraries have different books and contains collection records for around 17,900 libraries around the world in at least 123 countries that participate. If I'm looking for a quick to read book that my local library doesn't have and I am going to be traveling out of town with a slight chance of stopping at another library, I will check to see where other copies of a book exist. You can also sometimes do interlibrary loans, in which your local library will request another library mail out their copy to yours, so you can check it out. I haven't done this yet with a physical item, but it is a service generally offered. I highly recommend doing either option when possible if you really want to read something.

Here is a link to the WorldCat entry for this particular book if anyone is interested: Ruidoso Countryside

Ruidoso Countryside: The Early Days

Author: Herb Seckler
Illustrator: Ken Hosmer 
Genre: History
Year: 1987


A brief history of the development of areas in Southeastern New Mexico, focused on Lincoln County and Otero County.

Lincoln County coverage includes Ruidoso Country from Alto to Hondo, Lincoln-La Placita, Fort Stanton, White Oaks, Capitan, Bonito and Nogal.

Otero County coverage includes the Mescalero Apache Reservation, Round Mountain and Tularosa, Three Rivers, Alamogordo, Cloudcroft, La Luz, and White Sands.

This book features ten illustrations by Ken Hosmer.


Having been out in Ruidoso, I found this book to be very informative and enriching. The preface states that this book was created after a friend told Seckler that there was not much he could tell guests he had about the area when they would come to visit. There were many legends, with some inaccuracies, and people wanted to know about what they were seeing. He wondered why there wasn't a book about the area that provided quick information like that, and so, Seckler wrote it. 

The book begins by covering the Lincoln County area of New Mexico. Lincoln County was the site of the well-known Lincoln County War, which involved famous outlaw Billy the Kid. Ruidoso Countryside includes a very brief overview of what the war entailed, and goes on to talk about the way that other places in the area developed. Next, the book covers Otero County and how things developed there. 

Each section is rather brief, consisting of around 3-11 pages of information per place. The book can be read rather quickly, as it is only 94 pages long. What I like most about this book is that it is highly accessible. While being a book focused on history, it does not use the language of a dry historical text the way many would perceive history as often being relayed or discussed. The book is written at a very easy to understand level and is straightforward in its telling of different events. At times, I even found Seckler's relation of events to be rather humorous. A lot of the book presents which people settled in different areas, various major business dealings, and industries that changed the areas of both counties, such as the arrival of the railroad. 

As included in the synopsis, there are ten illustrations in this book. The illustrations are black and white sketches of various locations in their respective sections. For example, there is an illustration of the Hoyle House in the White Oaks section, since it is located in White Oaks (a New Mexico ghost town). The illustrations are nicely done and while they aren't the most elaborate images, they fit the style of the book very well and help to provide visuals for the areas being discussed. 

Overall, I think this book is very interesting and helpful. It is a brief, easy to comprehend overview of history for the Lincoln and Otero counties of New Mexico. It doesn't go too far into detail, so it leaves a lot of room for digging further into different aspects should you choose to (I definitely will be doing so in the future). It also helps to provide a better picture of the area when you have been to it. I'm looking forward to eventually getting back out to the area and being able to recognize more things as a result of reading this book. For New Mexican residents of these areas, history lovers, or anyone who visits this area and wants to know more about it, this is a pretty good book to flip through. For my personal interest and how much I got out of it, I say this one earns a Lone Star rating of: ✯✯✯✯✯. It may not be easy to locate in many places and it isn't going to be a popularly read book, but it is a nice hidden gem if you're ever able to encounter it and give it a look. It also isn't the longest or most in-depth book, but I think it achieves the goals it intended to when it was written.