A Brief History

On the Mesilla Plaza, three miles southwest of Las Cruces, is the National Registered Historical Building that is now the site of the Double Eagle and Peppers Restaurants. First constructed in the late 1840’s, the building has witnessed many colorful and historical events, including the Mexican-American War of 1846, the confirmation of the Gadsden Purchase on the Plaza in 1853 and the Secessionist Convention declaration of Mesilla as capital of the Arizona Territory in 1861. (It was destined to be the only territory of the Confederacy). Also, notorious Billy the Kid was jailed by Sheriff Pat Garrett and tried here in 1881.

In 1972, the private residence was acquired by Robert 0. Anderson. The year 1984 saw major restoration completed by the present owner, C. W. “Buddy” Ritter, a fifth generation Mesilla decedent. Antiques, many of which have their equal only in the finest museums, were painstakingly collected by well-known designer John Meigs.

Upon passing through the post-Civil War, 1,000 pound cast iron and gilded gates, patrons are surrounded by a vast assortment of antiques. The divider separating the entry and the Imperial Bar has two rolled-glass panels etched with water lilies and cattails, framed with oak-turned columns and spindle fretwork. The large cherry and walnut German cupboard is in the style of Empire Revival and has a French polished veneer finish with a pullout serving tray. The 12-foot gold-leafed pier mirror is carved with a shell and acanthus leaf pattern. A shadowbox protecting the ornate solid gold-framed print of a reclining “Dame with Pussy” is American, circa 1930, numbered 902 and signed V. Curws.

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