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LV hosting history conference

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250 expected to attend

By Martin Salazar

History buffs from around the state will be in Las Vegas from Thursday through Saturday for the 2014 New Mexico History Conference.

“Some of them are historians. Some are wannabe historians. Some are just people who are interested in some of the history in different parts of the state,” said Rudy Laumbach, president of the local Citizens Committee for Historic Preservation, which is helping to coordinate the conference.

“It gives us an opportunity to showcase what we have in Las Vegas,” he said.

With 250 participants expected, the conference will have local hotels busy, providing a boost to the local economy.

City Manager Timothy Dodge said that besides the immediate boost to the economy, people who attend will often go back and tell family members and colleagues about Las Vegas.

He said Las Vegas is rich in history and that’s a niche the area is trying to tap into with tourists.

“It’s great,” Dodge said of the conference. “There’s great immediate impact and then there’s longterm impact that occurs.

The conference is put on by the Historical Society of New Mexico. Besides CCHP, the city of Las Vegas and New Mexico Highlands University are helping out with the event.

According to CCHP, the three-day conference will include more than 60 lectures by experts on topics ranging from military, homesteading, trails and other topics related to eastern New Mexico and San Miguel County.

Lectures, vendors, exhibits and sessions will take place at Highlands University’s new Student Union Building. The Plaza Hotel, which was built in 1882, will be the conference’s main lodging facility, although the El Fidel, another landmark hotel, is also hosting conference attendees. Other area hotels are accommodating conference attendees because the Plaza and El Fidel don’t have enough rooms to house all of the attendees.

Laumbach said events are also planned for Ilfeld Auditorium and the Montezuma Castle, two other area landmarks.

Doyle Daves, a member of the CCHP board, also sits on the board of directors of the Historical Society of New Mexico, and he played a key role in getting the conference to come to Las Vegas.

Laumbach said the sessions are open and free to students at all levels, from grade school on up to the university level.

“They just need to show up and they will be admitted in,” Laumbach said.   

The schedule is available at: www.hsnm.org/Las_Vegas_2014.pdf