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Tucumcari, NM - 1913

Tucumcari, New Mexico, by P. Clinton Bortell, 1913. Vintage photo restored by Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

A wild and wooly railroad town when it got its start in 1901, Tucumcari was nicknamed "Six-Shooter Siding" in its early days due to the quickness of its residents to solve their disputes with pistols. Within a year, the settlement had a number of businesses which supported the local ranching and railroading population.

Though a number of small area towns died during the depression era, Tucumcari hung on, especially with the many businesses created when Route 66 barreled right through the center of town. In 1940, when the South Canadian River was dammed, it created some 60,000 acres of irrigated farmland, further diversifying the town's economy.

Today, with a population of over 6,000, Tucumcari provides a number of area attractions including The Mesalands Dinosaur Museum, The Tucumcari Historical Museum which includes a historic Route 66 exhibit, and Ute Lake State Park. It also supports a number of vintage Route 66 businesses, restaurants and stores, along with their brightly lit neon signs along its historic Main Street.
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Tucumcari, NM - 1913