Sheriff Pat Garrett and Billy the Kid Day

Thursday, October 1, 2009 - 12:00am

historicsffoundationBilly the KidOn Thursday, October 1st at 11:00AM, the Historic Santa Fe Foundation will unveil a plaque marking the site of the jail that held Billy the Kid for three months in 1880-1881. Representatives from the Historic Santa Fe Foundation will be joined by Mayor Coss and Santa Fe County Sheriff Greg Solano, as well as historians and descendants of Sheriff Pat Garrett.

From 5:00 to 6:00PM, KSFR radio will broadcast live from Collected Works Bookstore with host Diego Mulligan and "The Journey Home". Diego will interview Bob Ross, who did the research behind establishing the jail's correct location.

At 6:00PM, Collected Works will host a reading by Fred Turner and Michael Wallis. Turner will read from Michael Ondaatje's The Collected Works of Billy the Kid and Walter Noble Burns's The Saga of Billy the Kid. Wallis will read from his book, Billy the Kid: The Endless Ride. Michael has been nominated three times for the Pulitzer Prize and was also a nominee for the National Book Award. He has won many other prestigious awards, such as the Will Rogers Spirit Award, the Western Heritage Award, the Oklahoma Book Award, and the Best Western Non-fiction Award from the Western Writers of America. Michael is also well-known as the voice of the Sheriff in the Pixar movie Cars.

Pat GarrettIt was previously claimed that the Santa Fe County Jail was on San Francisco Street in 1880, in the basement of the building which was Collected Works' home for thirty years, and where the building's owner had placed a plaque marking the erroneous jail site. But recent research by amateur historian Bob Ross has proven that the jail was in fact on the corner of Water Street and Galisteo, which is the new home of Collected Works Bookstore. The jail itself was torn down ca. 1906, but an investigation of maps and photographs from the era confirms Bob Ross's findings that the jail was on Water Street. The ghost of Billy the Kid seems to be haunting the bookstore!

Almost 130 years after Billy the Kid drew his six-shooter for the last time, the Kid's presence can still be felt in Santa fe. The Kid was captuered when Sheriff Pat Garrett and his posse trapped him while he was huddled in a cabin with some fellow outlaws at Stinking Springs, east of Fort Sumner. Since Santa Fe had the most secure jail in the area, Garrett brought Billy the Kid here to await trial. He was convicted of murder at Mesilla and transported to the Lincoln County Jail, where he was to be hanged one month later. True to form, Billy the Kid escaped by murdering his two prison guards and went on the lam one last time. Garrett pursued him, and the Sheriff finally killed him in a chance encounter at Fort Sumner, NM.

The Historic Santa Fe Foundation works to preserve Santa Fe's historic properties and to provide historic preservation education. The Foundation owns and maintains eight historic properties to ensure their preservation and for the education and enjoyment of the public. It also sponsors research on the history of each property, both as a contribution to Santa Fe's heritage and to guide future preservation.

Endless Ride