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Known as the 'City of the Crosses', Las Cruces serves as the county seat of Dona Ana County and lies 10 miles west of the spectacular Organ Mountains, a popular outdoor recreation area. El Paso, Texas, is a mere 43 miles southeast, and the Mexican border lies 60 miles south of the city. The large selection of museums found here include the New Mexico Farm and Ranch Heritage Museum, which tells the history of industry in the area. In addition, the Branigan Cultural Center relays local history through paintings, poetry, photographs and sculptures.
Major roadways in the city include Interstate 10, which runs south to El Paso, Interstate 25, which goes north into Albuquerque, and US Route 180. The city-owned RoadRUNNER transit bus system has nine routes throughout the city and also makes trips to El Paso.
The Manso and Mescalero Apache people were the original inhabitants of the region. Spaniards arrived in 1598 and colonized the area. Mexico gained ownership until the territory became the property of the United States in 1848. The community experienced slow growth until the opening of the New Mexico University and various government installations. The arid climate found here produces hot summers and mild winters with a chance of precipitation all year long.
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