When you think of New Mexico, you probably think of the desert – dry, arid land with no water around for miles. So, while you’re driving down Roswell, New Mexico’s West 2nd Street and you pass by the Crane Motel, you might think it’s a little weird having what is typically considered a water bird as a mascot here in the middle of the desert.  (Then again, this is Roswell – a place where a lot of things can seem a little weird.)

Look! Up in the Sky!

Yep, those are alien street lamps here on Roswell’s Main Street you’re looking at.
Image by Phil Campbell – originally posted to Flickr as Main Street, Roswell, CC BY 2.0

Upon closer examination, however, you’ll discover the town of Roswell isn’t actually in a desert. In fact, it’s located in the southeastern New Mexico’s High Great Plains.  Still, when a group of Missouri pioneers first arrived there around 1865, they had to abandon their idea of settling this part of New Mexico due to a lack of water. By 1871, however, businessman Van C. Smith built two adobe buildings here that became the town’s first general store, post office and hotel of sorts. By 1873, it was officially named Roswell, after Smith’s father.

In the decades after, the town remained relatively quiet even after nearby Walker Air Force Base was built in 1941. That would soon change in the summer of 1947, however, when something happened that would change the quiet and normal town of Roswell forever. 

The front page of the Roswell Daily Record reporting on the “flying saucer” captured by the Roswell Army Air Force from July 8, 1947.
Public Domain

On July 8, 1947, Roswell Army Air Field issued a press release stating that they had recovered a “flying disc” sometime in late June or early July. However, soon realizing their mistake, they quickly retracted their statement, saying instead that it was simply just an ordinary, everyday weather balloon that they recovered. Still, that didn’t stop the rumors and conspiracy theories about aliens, flying saucers, and government cover-ups that persist until today. In fact, whether the stories are true or not, the town is still capitalizing off the event 75 years later with tourists interested in UFOs, aliens, and other science fiction still flocking to the town in search of extraterrestrial life.

However, the only thing that has fallen from the sky in Roswell since 1947 has been Felix Baumgartner who successfully attempted a record-breaking skydive on October 14, 2012 by jumping from  a height of approximately 24 miles into the stratosphere  and then parachuting to Earth.

It’s a Bird!

Since Roswell is not actually located in the desert, but rather in a plain, it does have quite a few bodies of water around it (even if those early Missouri pioneers couldn’t find it).

Just 14 miles southeast of town is Bottomless Lakes State Park and Bitter Lake National Wildlife Refuge  on the Pecos River is just about 12 miles northeast of Roswell.  And, of course, these areas are home to all kinds of indigenous wildlife including the Sandhill Crane. 

So, naming a hotel in the middle of a New Mexico town after a waterfowl doesn’t seem so strange after all, does it?

It’s a Plan!

Nowadays, people who visit Roswell aren’t always watching the skies for flying saucers and migrating birds. In fact, some come to take selfies a bird of a different feather all together.

Of course, we’re talking about the beautifully kitschy neon sign that stands outside of The Crane Motel. Roadtrippers, vacationers, birdwatchers and ufologists alike flock to the 20-odd something foot-tall bird to take pictures of their visit to Roswell.

Some of them even stay in the motel, built sometime in the mid-seventies, while they are out and about during the day enjoying the wildlife or out and about at night looking for extraterrestrial life elsewhere. They leave their stay at motel with mixed reviews according both Yelp! and Tripadvisor. Still, like many things you hear and read about in Roswell, sometimes you just have to find out for yourself.

So the next time you’re planning a road trip to Roswell and want to take a selfie at the sign, the motel is located at 1212 W 2nd Street in Roswell.  For those who also would like to spend the night, reservations can be made through various hotel booking websites or by calling +1 575-623-1293. 

While you’re watching the heavens in Roswell, don’t forget to pick up some of our most divine pecan candy on your way there– Stuckey’s Pecan Divinity.

For a limited time, take $5 off selected boxes of our delicious Pecan Divinity when you order online.

While you’re there, go ahead and order some of our other famous pecan treats like our delicious pecan pralines and the classic road trip snack – Stuckey’s Pecan Log Rolls. All this and more only from stuckeys.com!

Stuckey’s – We’re Making Road Trips Fun Again!