- Tucumcari, New Mexico
"This article is about the city in New Mexico, USA. For other uses see
official_name = Tucumcari, New Mexico
image_caption = Quay County Courthouse
mapsize = 250px
map_caption = Location of Tucumcari in
subdivision_type = Country
subdivision_type1 = State
subdivision_type2 = County
subdivision_name2 = Quay
leader_name = Antonio Apodaca
established_title = Founded
established_date = 1901
area_total_sq_mi = 7.6
area_total_km2 = 19.6
area_land_sq_mi = 7.5
area_land_km2 = 19.5
area_water_sq_mi = 0.0
area_water_km2 = 0.0
population_as_of = 2000
population_total = 5989
population_density_km2 = 306.5
population_density_sq_mi = 793.8
timezone = MST
utc_offset = -7
timezone_DST = MDT
utc_offset_DST = -6
latd = 35 |latm = 10 |lats = 10 |latNS = N
longd = 103 |longm = 43 |longs = 32 |longEW = W
elevation_m = 1247
elevation_ft = 4091
postal_code = 88401
area_code = 575
blank_name = FIPS code
blank_info = 35-79910
blank1_name = GNIS feature ID
blank1_info = 0915909
website = [http://www.cityoftucumcari.com City of Tucumcari]
Tucumcari is a city in Quay County,
New Mexico, United States. The population was 5,989 at the 2000 census. It is the county seatof Quay County.GR|6 Tucumcari was founded in 1901. Quay County was founded two years later. [ [http://www.usbr.gov/dataweb/html/tucumcari.html Tucumcari Project ] ]
In 1901, the Chicago Rock Island and Pacific Railroad built a construction camp in the western portion of modern-day Quay County. Owing to numerous gunfights, the camp became known as Six Shooter Siding. After it grew into a permament settlement, it was renamed Tucumcari in 1908. The name was taken from
Tucumcari Mountain, which sat nearby the community. [cite web|title=Photo Guide:T|publisher=Southwest Collection Library|url=http://www.swco.ttu.edu/Guide/Photo/Tph.htm|acccessdate=2008-09-18]
Tucumcari is located at coor dms|35|10|10|N|103|43|32|W|city (35.169453, -103.725488)GR|1.
According to the
United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 7.6 square miles (19.6 km²), of which, 7.5 square miles (19.5 km²) of it is land and 0.13% is water.
Jan_Hi_°F =52 |Jan_REC_Hi_°F =
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Year_Hi_°F =73 |Year_REC_Hi_°F =
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source= [cite web|title=Tucumcari, New Mexico|publisher=Weatherbase|url=http://www.weatherbase.com/weather/weather.php3refer=&s=4237|accessdate=2008-09-16]
As of the
censusGR|2 of 2000, there were 5,989 people, 2,489 households, and 1,607 families residing in the city. The population densitywas 793.8 people per square mile (306.7/km²). There were 3,065 housing units at an average density of 406.2/sq mi (156.9/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 75.87% White, 1.29% African American, 1.39% Native American, 1.20% Asian, 0.22% Pacific Islander, 17.10% from other races, and 2.94% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 51.41% of the population.
There were 2,489 households out of which 29.8% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.4% were married couples living together, 15.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 35.4% were non-families. 31.7% of all households were made up of individuals and 14.7% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.35 and the average family size was 2.93.
In the city the population was spread out with 26.0% under the age of 18, 7.5% from 18 to 24, 24.2% from 25 to 44, 24.8% from 45 to 64, and 17.5% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 39 years. For every 100 females there were 90.9 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 86.8 males.
The median income for a household in the city was $22,560, and the median income for a family was $27,468. Males had a median income of $25,342 versus $18,568 for females. The
per capita incomefor the city was $14,786. About 19.1% of families and 24.8% of the population were below the poverty line, including 29.5% of those under age 18 and 16.7% of those age 65 or over.
Legend surrounding the area
Legend has it that Apache Chief Wautonomah was nearing the end of his time on earth and was troubled by the question of who would succeed him as ruler of the tribe. In a classic portrait of love and competition, his two finest braves, Tonopah and Tocom, were not only rivals and sworn enemies of one another, but were both vying for the hand of Kari, Chief Wantonomah's daughter. Kari knew her heart belonged to Tocom. Chief Wautonomah beckened Tonopah and Tocom to his side and announced, "Soon I must die and one of you must succeed me as chief. Tonight you must take your long knives and meet in combat to settle the matter between you. He who survives shall be the Chief and have for his squaw, Kari, my daughter."As ordered, the two braves met, with knives outstretched, in mortal combat. Unknown to either brave was the fact that Kari was hiding nearby. When Tonopah's knife found the heart of Tocom, the young squaw rushed from her hiding place and used a knife to take Tonopah's life, as well as her own.
When Chief Wautonomah was shown this tragic scene, heartbreak enveloped him and he buried his daughter's knife deep into his own heart, crying out in agony, "Tocom-Kari"!
A slight variation of the Chief's dying words live on today as "Tucumcari", and the mountain which bares this name stands as a stark reminder of unfulfilled love.
Some credit this folktale to Geronimo. More skeptical and less romantic historians believe the word "Tucumcari" is a derivation from the Comanche word "tukanukaru", which means to lie in wait for something. There's historical veracity to this explanation, since the mountain (actually a
mesa) was known to be a Comanche lookout many years ago.
Tucumcari in popular culture
*Many of the scenes in the
televisionshow "Rawhide" (1959-1966) starring Clint Eastwoodwere shot in the Tucumcari area. [ [http://jcgi.pathfinder.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,869242,00.html Aloha & Ballyhoo - TIME ] ]
*One of the killers in
Truman Capote's 1965 book "In Cold Blood" asks about the travelling distance to Tucumcari. This scene appears in the 1967 film version of the novel.
*Tucumcari is the setting of one of the first scenes in
Sergio Leone's 1965 film " For a Few Dollars More", starring Eastwood, Lee Van Cleef, and Gian Maria Volonte. However, this is an unfortunate goofsince Tucumcari was founded many years after "For a Few Dollars More" takes place.
*A scene in the 1971 movie "
Two-Lane Blacktop", starring James Taylor, Dennis Wilson, and Warren Oates, was filmed at a gasoline service station on U.S. Highway 54 just northeast of Tucumcari. Tucumcari Mountain is clearly visible at the beginning of this scene.
*The city is mentioned in the 1988 film "
Rainman" by the character played by Tom Cruise. However, the location in the scene is clearly not Tucumcari.
*In the 2005 episode "Bugs" of the television show "Supernatural", the character played by
Jensen Acklesstates they will pass through Tucumcari on the way to Bisbee, Arizona.
*Tucumcari is portrayed as a harsh trade town in the post-apocalyptic role-playing game,
Tucumcari is mentioned in several songs, including:
* "Coyote" recorded by
Better Than Ezraon "Deluxe" (1993)
* "Goodbye Tennessee" recorded by
* "Last Hobo" recorded by
John Denveron "All Aboard!" (1997)
* "Route 40" recorded by
Leslie Fishon "Limelight" (1990)
* "(Get Your Kicks on) Route 66" written by
* "Tucumcari" recorded by
Cexon " Actual Fucking" (2006)
* "Tucumcari" recorded by
Freedy Johnstonon "The Trouble Tree" (1990)
* "Tucumcari" recorded by Jimmie Rodgers (1959)
* "Tucumcari Here I Come" recorded by Dale Watson on "More Songs Of Route 66" (2001)
* "Willin'" recorded by
Little Featon "Little Feat" (1971)
Tucumcari Tonite/Route 66
For many years, Tucumcari has been a popular stop for cross-country travelers on
Interstate 40(formerly U.S. Route 66in the area). It is the largest city on the highway between Amarillo, Texasand Albuquerque, New Mexico. Billboardsreading "TUCUMCARI TONITE!" placed along I-40 for many miles to the east and west of the town invite motorists to stay the night in one of Tucumcari's "2000" (later changed to "1200") motel rooms. The "TUCUMCARI TONITE!" campaign was abandoned in favor of a campaign which declared Tucumcari, "Gateway to the West". However, on June 24, 2008, Tucumcari's Lodgers Tax Advisory Board, the group responsible for the billboards, voted to return to the previous slogan. [ [http://www.abqjournal.com/abqnews/content/view/7713/39 "Albuquerque Journal" 'Tucumcari Tonite' Returns to Billboards] ]
Old U.S. Route 66 runs through the heart of Tucumcari via Route 66 Boulevard, which was previously known as Tucumcari Boulevard from 1970 to 2003 and as Gaynell Avenue before that time. Numerous businesses, including gasoline service stations, restaurants and motels, were constructed to accommodate tourists as they traveled through on the Mother Road. A large number of the vintage motels and restaurants built in the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s are still in business despite intense competition from newer chain motels and restaurants in the vicinity of Interstate 40, which passes through the city's outskirts on the south.
Most of Tucumcari's oldest buildings lie along or near Main Street in the Historic Downtown area. These include:
* Crescent Creamery (vacant)
* Federal Building, commonly known as Sands-Dorsey Drug (fire damaged and vacant) [ [http://www.myhighplains.com/content/fulltext/?sid=0ca431e3b0e979602b966c63c2005703&cid=3138 MyHighPlains.com - Tucumcari Fire ] ]
* Masonic Temple
* Odeon Theater
* Princess Theater (fire damaged and vacant)
* Rock Island - Southern Pacific Train Depot
Also located in the downtown area are the concrete arches that once surrounded the Vorenburg Hotel, which was demolished in the 1970s after being damaged by fire.
The city has the honor of having a
United States Navyhydrofoil name after it. The USS Tucumcari (PGH-2) was built by Boeing. It began service in 1968 and ended service in 1972 after running aground in Puerto Rico.
Tucumcari Early Head Start and
Head Start(non-public daycare and preschool)
Tucumcari Elementary School (public Pre-K through fifth grade)
Tucumcari Middle School (public sixth grade through eighth grade)
Tucumcari High School (public ninth grade through twelfth grade)
Mesalands Community College(community two-year institution of higher learning)
People and events
Tom "Black Jack" Ketchum and his associates robbed a post office and store in Liberty, NM, a community that dissolved after the railroad bypassed it. Many of Liberty's residents moved to the nearby railroad siding that eventually became Tucumcari.
Bob Scobeywas born in Tucumcari in 1916. [ [http://www.mmguide.musicmatch.com/artist/artist.cgi?ARTISTID=600911 MUSICMATCH Guide: Bob Scobey ] ] The following year, American character actor Paul Brinegarwas born in Tucumcari as well.
In December 1951, a water storage tank collapsed in the city. Four were killed and numerous buildings were destroyed.
Tucumcari High School graduate
Stan Davidwas a star safety for the Texas Tech Red Raiders and played 16 NFL games for the Buffalo Billsin 1984. He was listed as number 48 in the " Sports Illustrated" list of "The 50 Greatest New Mexico Sports Figures." [ [http://sportsillustrated.cnn.com/magazine/features/si50/states/new_mexico/greatest SI.com - SI 50th - New Mexico - The 50 Greatest New Mexico Sports Figures - Wednesday July 09, 2003 04:11 PM ] ]
The buildings at Metropolitan Park (locally known as "Five Mile Park" because it is located about five miles outside of town) were designed by Trent Thomas, adapted from his design of La Fonda Hotel in Santa Fe. The park once featured New Mexico's largest outdoor swimming pool. Owing to deterioration, Metropolitan Park was named to the New Mexico Heritage Preservation Alliance's list of Most Endangered for 2003. [ [http://www.nmheritage.org/endangered/2003.php?ID=75 NMHeritage.org: Resources: NM Preservation Resources ] ] The cost for complete renovation is estimated at ten million dollars.
Each year since 1992, the town has held the Tucumcari
Air Show. The show held on October 4, 2006, was cancelled after one hour when a single-engine plane crashed, resulting in the pilot's death. [ [http://www.kvii.com/news/news_story.aspx?id=18603 Fatal accident at air show : News : KVII ] ]
Rex Maddaford, who competed for the
New Zealandteam in the 1968 Summer Olympics, has been a long-time Tucumcari Public Schools faculty member. He is currently a teacher at Tucumcari High School. [http://www.qcsunonline.com/engine.pl?station=quay&template=storyfull.html&id=1340]
* [http://www.cityoftucumcari.com City of Tucumcari]
* [http://www.tucumcarinm.com Tucumcari Chamber of Commerce]
* [http://www.epcaa.org Eastern Plains Community Action Agency (Early Head Start and Head Start)]
* [http://mesalands.edu Mesalands Community College]
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