Ruidoso’s oldest building, Dowlin Mill, is one of those landmarks that visitors to Ruidoso remember long after leaving. The iconic large-scale water wheel that greets visitors is one of the only remaining operable water wheels in the Southwest. The Old Dowlin Mill still turns the massive stones used to grind wheat to this day.
The building itself also speaks to its native heritage with its adobe and rock walls, wood floors, and tin roof. In fact, in its earlier days, it served as the perfect backdrop for dinner parties and dances, with such notable guests as the infamous outlaw William Bonney, or “Billy the Kid.” Furthermore, Billy was well-liked by the Dowlin and Lesnet families. It was even said that in order to escape capture at the mill, the young Annie Lesnet helped hide him in a flour barrel as the posse approached.