Smokey Bear - Capitan, NM
316 Smokey Bear Blvd.Capitan, New Mexico
"The original birthplace of Smokey Bear"

 1-800-SMOKEY- B



Billy The Kid Scenic Byway

Capitan History

Area History

Chamber of Commerce

Ruidoso Chamber Of Commerce

Area History

The Town Of White Oaks
Located About 30 Miles From Capitan


A native of Missouri, John J. Baxter had been luckless on the coast and remembered New Mexico. Knowing enough Spanish to understand the locals, Baxter made his way to the area. There, after combing around the gulches and arroyos, he found some of this 'free gold'. The year was 1878, and the beginning of the White Oaks legend had begun.

Baxter was unable to keep his discovery quiet, however, for by 1879, the word had spread to Jack Winters and John E. Wilson, both of whom were panning Baxter Gulch, as it was now known. The two commenced to hard work, every morning transporting the water necessary to wash the dirt on the backs of mules from the spring two and a half miles away. Then, in the evening, they would pack in all of the pay dirt possible back to their cabin located at White Oaks Spring. This was done all summer, the men finding enough nuggets to make their efforts worthwhile. Still, no vein had yet been discovered.

The arrival of a certain Tom Wilson would change all that.    White Oaks

Valley Of Fires...