Roswell's first building was erected near this spot. Built by James Patterson, the 15 by 15 foot trading post was a rest stop along the Goodnight Loving Cattle Trail. The trading post was later acquired by Van C. Smith who, around 1870, added onto the structure, turning it into a saloon, restaurant, casino, and hotel. After Smith departed Roswell, the building was acquired by Captain Joseph C. Lea, a Confederate Civil War veteran, who turned Roswell into a tamer, more agreeable place to live. The Smith-Lea building stood until 1913 when Wildy Lea, the Captain's son, tore it down to make room for new commercial buildings.
Funding support provided by Lawrence C. Harris, the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, and the 2012 Centennial Committee