Clovis, New Mexico

Clovis, New Mexico
The City of Clovis
—  City  —
Norman Petty's NorVaJak Music, Inc.

Location of Clovis, New Mexico
Coordinates: 34°24′45″N 103°12′17″W / 34.4125°N 103.20472°W / 34.4125; -103.20472Coordinates: 34°24′45″N 103°12′17″W / 34.4125°N 103.20472°W / 34.4125; -103.20472
Country United States
State New Mexico
County Curry
Incorporated 1909[1]
 – Mayor Gayla Brumfield jr
 – City Manager Joe Thomas
 – Total 22.5 sq mi (58.2 km2)
 – Land 22.4 sq mi (58.0 km2)
 – Water 0.1 sq mi (0.3 km2)
Elevation 4,268 ft (1,301 m)
Population (2010)
 – Total 37,775
 – Density 1,458.9/sq mi (563.3/km2)
Time zone Mountain (MST) (UTC-7)
 – Summer (DST) MDT (UTC-6)
ZIP code 88101 88102
Area code(s) 505, 575
FIPS code 35-16420
GNIS feature ID 0915815

Clovis is the county seat of Curry County, New Mexico, United States.[2] Its population was 32,667 at the 2000 census; according to 2010 Census Bureau estimates, the population had risen to 37,775.[3]

Clovis is located in the Llano Estacado and eastern New Mexico regions. The largely agricultural town is also noted for its role in early rock music history.[4] Nearby Cannon Air Force Base has a significant impact on the community.

It is the principal city of the Clovis Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is part of the larger Clovis-Portales Combined Statistical Area.



Clovis is located at 34°24′45″N 103°12′17″W / 34.4125°N 103.20472°W / 34.4125; -103.20472 (34.412509, −103.204611).[5] It lies at approximately 4,281 feet (1,305 m) above sea level (1304 m).[6]

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 22.5 square miles (58 km2), of which, 22.4 square miles (58 km2) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.26 km2) of it (0.44%) is water. This water area is primarily artificial ponds in Clovis' several public parks.

Portales, 17 miles (27 km) south, is home to Eastern New Mexico University and has a variety of restaurants, furniture stores, and specialty shops. Medical care in Clovis is provided by the Plains Regional Medical Center and in Portales by Roosevelt General Hospital.


The eastern New Mexico region was home to the prehistoric Clovis culture, an anthropologically significant early group of Native Americans. Historical remains have been found at the Blackwater Draw site (south of the Clovis, near Portales), which remains a historical and tourist site.

Clovis began in 1906, when the Santa Fe Railroad was being built through the area and railway engineers were ordered to choose a town site. At first known as Riley's Switch, it was renamed Clovis by the station master's daughter, who at the time was studying about Clovis, the first Catholic king of the Franks.[7][Full citation needed] The settlement built up quickly and in 1909 was incorporated.[7]


As of the census[8] of 2000, there were 32,667 people, 12,458 households, and 8,596 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,458.9 people per square mile (563.3/km²). There were 14,269 housing units at an average density of 637.3 per square mile (246.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 71.3% White, 7.32% African American, 1.02% Native American, 1.62% Asian, 0.13% Pacific Islander, 14.98% from other races, and 3.63% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino were 33.44% of the population.

There were 12,458 households out of which 36.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.8% were married couples living together, 14.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.0% were non-families. 26.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.57 and the average family size was 3.12.

In the city the population was 30.0% under the age of 18, 9.4% from 18 to 24, 28.1% from 25 to 44, 19.5% from 45 to 64, and 13.0% who were ages 65 or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 92.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $28,878, and the median income for a family was $33,622. Males had a median income of $26,586 versus $20,375 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,561. About 17.2% of families and 21.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.2% of those under age 18 and 14.6% of those age 65 or over.


On August 24, 2008, eight prisoners escaped from the Clovis Jail by shimmying up plumbing pipes. The escape was highlighted on the television show America's Most Wanted.[9]

Clovis celebrated its Centennial during 2009.

Economics and industry

Like most of east-central New Mexico and west Texas, the vicinity hosts agriculture and ranching, including peanut and cotton farming and cattle ranching, for meat and dairy production. Several processing plants exist for these products. In 2004, construction began on the Southwest Cheese Company plant geographically located between Clovis and Portales, which commenced operations in late 2005 providing a substantial boost to the local economy employing over 200 personnel. It is one of the largest plants of its type in the world, processing in excess of 2.3 billion pounds of milk yearly, provided by the numerous local dairies.

A high proportion of local residents are employed in the services sector. Dillard's and Wal-Mart have a large impact among retail consumption in the community, though smaller stores including regional and national supermarket chains do exist. The convenience store Allsup's is headquartered in Clovis. Railroad transport formerly contributed to economic growth in the early years of the towns development and like many small towns still maintains an important role in the economy. In the finance sector, large national and regional institutions such as Bank of America and Wells Fargo are present and manage a large portion of the financial needs of local businesses and individuals. The Curry County Chamber of Commerce hosts many events annually that seek to contribute to local economic growth, while the Clovis Industrial Development Corporation works toward the successful union of development and industrial expansion. Cannon Air Force Base and a small Army National Guard unit exist in Clovis. Clovis has recently had an economic boom with many new stores and restaurants as well as new hotels opening in the northern and mid-town areas of the city due to new industry being present and the idea of expansion of the Cannon Air Force Base.[citation needed]

Clovis is adjacent to Cannon Air Force Base, a special operations base. This military installation has a large impact on the community and typically receives a great deal of support from local civic and business leaders. Clovis hosts a local organization, the Committee of Fifty, whose stated purpose is to express support for Cannon AFB. The nearby community of Portales also has a similar organization, the Military Affairs Committee.[citation needed]

BRAC 2005

Formerly, Cannon was an Air Combat Command base featuring the F-16 fighter aircraft, and was named the 27th Fighter Wing.[citation needed] Now, 27th Operations Wing. Thanks to the BRAC and heavy politics, Cannon AFB is the primary reason for a prosper Clovis economy.

Health care

Plains Regional Medical Center is the primary hospital serving Clovis. It is part of the Presbyterian Hospital system based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. There are numerous private physician practices, as well as nursing homes, home health care firms, and other medical practitioners, including at least one traditional Hispanic healer (consejero de salud).[citation needed]


Southwest, Spanish Mission, or Adobe architectural styles are prevalent, being considered representative of New Mexico. Much of Clovis architecture is indistinguishable from the group of styles prevalent throughout the United States' small cities and suburbs since the 1930s.

The Hotel Clovis, a local landmark, opened on October 20, 1931. At the time of its construction it was the tallest building between Albuquerque and Dallas, Texas. The hotel was designed by architect Robert Merrill, combining an Art Deco exterior with Southwestern Indian interior. The elegant ballroom hosted such names as Louis Armstrong, Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, and Hank Williams. The nearby train depot supplied the hotel with most of its business. Hotel Clovis closed its doors shortly after the Santa Fe Railroad discontinued passenger train service to Clovis. The building is currently unused and frequently vandalized.

Clovis is also home to the aesthetically significant, Art Deco-style Lyceum auditorium and the State Theater. The Lyceum auditorium has been restored and often hosts plays and shows.[citation needed]

Climate and landscape

Flooding caused by a thunderstorm, downtown Clovis (1980)

The climate is relatively temperate with low humidity. Summers are warm with few extremes of heat and winters are cool with few extremes of cold. Severe thunderstorms are frequent in the spring. Rainstorms are prevalent in the summer, typically in the evening. A few snowfalls occur each winter.Landscape of the town and surrounding area is stereotypically flat, though to the south, near Portales, undulating hills are found. Most open land is grassland, much of which has been converted into grazing land. Much land is also farmed, with a high degree of irrigation use.[citation needed]

Climate data for Clovis, New Mexico
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Average high °F (°C) 51
Average low °F (°C) 25
Precipitation inches (mm) 0.48
Source: The Weather Channel[10]


Private schools

Public education

Clovis is served by several public schools making up the Clovis Municipal Schools:

    • Arts Academy at Bella Vista
    • Barry Elem.
    • Cameo Elem.
    • Highland Elem.
    • James Bickley Elem.
    • La Casita Elem.
    • Lockwood Elem.
    • Los Ninos Pre-School
    • Mesa Elem.
    • Parkview Elem.
    • Ranchvale Elem.
    • Sandia Elem.
    • Zia Elem.
  • 3 Middle schools
    • Marshall Middle School, Yucca Middle School and Gattis Middle School
  • 1 Junior High
    • Clovis High School Freshman Campus
  • 1 High school
    • Clovis High School
  • 1 Private School
    • Clovis Christian School

Post-secondary education

For post-secondary education, there is one community college, Clovis Community College (CCC). Eastern New Mexico University in nearby Portales, New Mexico, is the nearest four-year college/university. Many local high school graduates attend the University of New Mexico in Albuquerque, Texas Tech University in Lubbock, Texas (90 miles away), or New Mexico State University in Las Cruces.

  • Clovis formerly had a Catholic K-8 school as part of Sacred Heart Parish


Clovis gave its name to stone-age spear points that were found locally in 1929. Clovis points are the characteristically-fluted projectile points associated with the North American Clovis culture. They date to the Paleoindian period around 13,500 years ago.[11]

The arts

Performances, including music, drama, and other content, take place at Clovis Community College and nearby Eastern New Mexico University in Portales. Some Performances are also held at the Lyceum auditorium. The Clovis Music Festival is a high-profile event held annually at the beginning of September. The Festival has featured many artists who recorded at the Norman Petty Studios and generally 50s Rock'n'Roll or Country acts. The Clovis Civic Center has hosted this and some other entertainment events. A Special events center has been built adjacent to the county fairgrounds. The Special events center will hold events such as rodeos, auctions, and concerts.

Popular music

Norman Petty Recording Studios in Clovis

The town achieved some fame in the 1950s as it is home to the Norman Petty Recording Studio, founded by early pop musician Norman Petty, at which rock pioneers Buddy Holly & The Crickets and other prominent early pop music artists recorded. In fact, The Crickets trademark #1 song, "That'll Be The Day" was recorded in Clovis.

Currently there are several local musicians performing in the area: Johnny Mulhair (engineer and producer on LeAnn Rimes first hit "Blue"), Andy Mason, and Sansietch (known for songs written about the Clovis area). It is also the home of Blues Farm Records which supports several New Mexico acts including Sansietch, Gary Gorence, Mark Kelley and Tim O'Rourke.


Locally tunable stations have wide variety of content relatively typical of most of the United States, including music and talk broadcasting. Due to religious demographics of the area, Contemporary Christian music, as well as preaching (typically Protestant Christian) and other religious-themed broadcasts are common on local radio. Several Spanish-language stations are tunable, broadcasting largely Mexican music and a proportion of Christian-themed content, mostly music. Several stations are rebroadcast to Clovis, such as Albuquerque's M88 (KLYT) found at 88.1 MHz.

Notable natives

  • Shane C. Thurman, United States Air Force, co-founder of NBDz (Benjamin Carney), local legend.


  1. ^ "About Clovis, NM". Retrieved October 6, 2007. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07. 
  3. ^ "Table 4: Annual Estimates of the Population for Incorporated Places in New Mexico, Listed Alphabetically: April 1, 2000 to July 1, 2007 (SUB-EST2007-04-35)". US Census Bureau, Population Division. December 3, 2008. Retrieved July 15, 2008. 
  4. ^ "History of Petty Studios, Clovis, NM". 
  5. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. 2011-02-12. Retrieved 2011-04-23. 
  6. ^
  7. ^ a b
  8. ^ "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved 2008-01-31. 
  9. ^ Johnson, Sharna. "'America's Most Wanted' to air inmate escape Saturday." Clovis News Journal, September 3, 2008. Retrieved on Sep. 21, 2008.
  10. ^ "Average Weather for Clovis, NM – Temperature and Precipitation". Retrieved April 4, 2011. 
  11. ^ "A Clovis Spear Point". Archaeological Research Center. South Dakota State Historical Society. February 13, 2004. 
  12. ^
  13. ^
  14. ^
  15. ^

External links

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