Roswell is located southeast of the state of New Mexico and a city and seat of Chaves County that sits along the Hondo River that is nearby Pecos River. The area where the present-day Roswell stands was founded in 1871 as a trading post by Van C. Smith and named the site after his father, Roswell. Smith established and developed the area as a ranching and agricultural center that is being supported by the irrigation. The site's surrounding areas produce various agricultural products such as cotton, truck crops, livestock, and alfalfa. Roswell's growth was spurred upon the discovery of the natural gas and oil during the 1950s, and as well as the establishment of the Walker Air Force Base in 1941. Roswell was rumored as the site of an extraterrestrial aircraft in 1947 and has drawn thousands of visitors during the annual UFO Encounter Festival that is held every July.
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