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Historically Speaking: The New Mexico Military Institute

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Photo Courtesy of the Historical Society for Southeast New Mexico Archives The captions reads, "NMMI cadets in fair parade, possibly in 1892 according to NMMI records. Note on back of photo says 1900."

By Janice Dunnahoo

Special to the Daily Record

Oftentimes in doing research, I run across articles that describe certain aspects of Roswell that I feel are interesting. Such is true of the following article about the New Mexico Military Institute (NMMI). There are still many similarities to the Institute of the past, as well as differences in the NMMI of today.

The following article was written in 1899 — 121 years ago. What a record. What an institution. Something Roswell has always been proud of.

Santa Fe New Mexican

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July 14, 1899

“The Military Institute

“Colonel Meadows Visits Northern New Mexico and Gives Out Information

“Colonel J.G. Meadows is in the northern tier of counties interesting the people in the New Mexico Military Institute at Roswell, of which he is superintendent.

“In his trips over the country Mr. Meadows has hit up on the happy idea of clenching his arguments, and advocacy of the school and its methods, by means of albums filled with photographs of the school, interior and exterior views, and rendered further valuable by quite a large number of photographs showing the magnificent resources of the country in about Roswell.

“The Institute did not issue a catalog this year, but had printed a large number of slips giving the following information relative to the school: New Mexico Military Institute is owned and supported by the Territory of New Mexico, and was first opened for students in September 1898.

“The Institute is located at Roswell, 3,700 feet above sea level, in the best watered region between Indian Territory and California. The climate is perfection — little rain or snow during the season, dry atmosphere and perpetual sunshine.

“The school receives about $12,000 annually from the territory, and during the session 1898-99, earned $9,500 additional in tuition fees, enrolling 105 cadets.

“Buildings, etc., cost $30,000 thoroughly furnished and equipped; four stories, gas lighted and steam heated; hot and cold water on all floors; complete system of water works, sewer and fire apparatus. Everything new and modern.

“Five men instructors who are graduates of the best colleges. Health and development of students carefully looked after; ample facilities for all athletic exercises; daily drill, regular sleep, diet and exercise; surgeon regularly employed. No better subsistence department in the union; good, abundant food, clean rooms and beds.

“Course of study embraces eight years, and includes English, Spanish, Latin, German, French, mathematics and natural sciences. Instruction in bookkeeping, typewriting and stenography, in both English and Spanish.

No politics, no sectarianism, no extravagance. Students must remain within enclosed limits day and night. Excellent discipline and moral training.

“Three terms of three months each. Examinations and reports to guardians at the end of each term.

“School is reached by the Pecos Valley & Northeastern railway, from Pecos, on the Texas and Pacific Railway, or from Amarillo, on the Fort Worth and Denver City railway, or by star route from Lincoln or Fort Sumner.

“Session begins Sept. 6, 1899, and ends May 31, 1900.

“The commissioners of each county in New Mexico appoint one cadet annually to the New Mexico Military Institute. Appointee receives board and tuition free. He must deposit on entrance $50 for laundry, medical attendance, breakage and incidentals.”

JANICE DUNNAHOO FOOTER