POPULATION: approximately 5,500
ELEVATION: 4,085 ft
The Heart of the Mother Road, nestled on Historic Route 66! Tucumcari has more than 1200 motel rooms, two lakes within half-hour drives, a golf course, world-class Dinosaur Museum, Historical Museum, legendary Route 66 motels, National, State and Historic Scenic Byways, fabulous photo opportunities with beautiful murals, grand mesas, gorgeous sunsets, striking monuments, and so many special events.
"The Gateway to New Mexico" for travelers on I-40 and US 54, and the intersection of State 209 and 104, Mesalands Community College's Dinosaur Museum has the largest collection of bronze prehistoric skeletons in the world. These bronzes, unlike resin models in most museums, are very resilient and invite the visitor to interact by touching. The museum was the first in the world to exhibit the Torvosaurus dinosaur.
Ute Lake State Park
One of the longest lakes in the state, Ute Lake is 24 miles from Tucumcari. A warm-water lake with scores of inlets to explore, the lake abounds in bird and wildlife. Deer and antelope roam the surrounding plains and mesas.
Round-the-clock fishing is available all year. The staterecord small-mouth bass was caught here. You can also catch large-mouth bass, white bass, walleye, catfish, crappie, and perch. Ute Lake has primitive to full hook-up campsites and a full range of water sport activities. Call the Ute Lake State Park office at 505-487-2284.
Conchas Lake State Park
Conchas Lake, 34 miles from Tucumcari, includes miles of shoreline, secluded coves,canyons,sandy beaches, petroglyphs, and ancient rock formations dating back to the Dinosaur Age. Conchas has ample camping and picnicking facilities, boat ramps, marina, fishing supplies, food services, and playgrounds. You can catch walleye, largemouth bass, catfish, bluegill, and crappie. Call the Conchas Lake State Park office at 505-868-2270.
Don't miss the Mesalands Community College Dinosaur Museum, a first-class museum housing the world's largest collection of spectacular full-scale bronze dinosaur skeletons cast at our local foundry. Stop by the Tucumcari Historical Museum with its story-telling like exhibits, including a Route 66 exhibit to know the history of Tucumcari and Route 66.
Tucumcari, originally called Six Shooter Siding, was a tent city at the foot of 4,999-foot high Tucumcari Mountain for the Rock Island Railroad. Tucumcari owes its beginnings to a snowstorm and the railroad. In 1900 two men stayed with A.D. Goldenburg during a horrible three-week snowstorm. In return for A.D.'s hospitality, the two men told him that a railroad would soon be going through the area establishing a stop four miles from Goldenberg's home. Goldenburg, his brother Max and two other businessmen purchased property where they felt the railroad would have to lay its tracks. By 1902, four passenger trains, two mail trains and two freight trains made daily stops at the new city.
By 1910, almost 70 businesses had been established. When Route 66 was built through the town over 75 years ago, the community began to thrive. Modern-day I-40 runs through Tucumcari, continuing the traditional importance of transportation to good ol' Six Shooter Siding! Tucumcari Boulevard, the main street through the town, is now called Route 66 Boulevard. The neon lit signs down the Boulevard are just a few of the town's landmarks which continue as living legacies. The murals on the walls and in the buildings around town and the Tucumcari Rattler on the water tower are Tucumcari'snewest landmarks.
Races in Tucumcari:
Dec. 2009 cost of living index in Tucumcari: 78.5 (low, U.S. average is 100)
Males: 2,508 47.6%
Females: 2,760 52.4%
Median resident age: 39.4 years
New Mexico median age: 34.6 years
Zip codes: 88401
Estimated median household income in 2008: $28,159 (it was $22,560 in 2000)
New Mexico: $43,508
Estimated per capita income in 2008: $19,424
Tucumcari city income, earnings, and wages data
Estimated median house or condo value in 2008: $77,973 (it was $45,800 in 2000)
New Mexico: $165, 100
Mean prices in 2008: All housing units: $105,283; Detached houses: $106,625; Townhouses or other attached units: $134,935; In 2-unit structures: $427,669; In 3-to-4-unit structures: $111,859; In 5-or-more-unit structures: $419,324; Mobile homes: $32,374
Population in July 2008: 5,268. Population change since 2000: -12.0%
The "Route 66 Monument," on the other hand, is a more recent addition, a semi-whimsical tribute to the Mother Road. Artist Tom Coffin was commissioned by Tucumcari, the New Mexico Highway Dept., and the NM Arts Commission to create the sculpture, set on a sloping base that looks a bit like a Tex-Mex temple made of sandstone tires and serpentine, two-lane road outlines. Dedicated in 1997, it's topped with a chrome, Cadillac-like fin, tail lights, and a pair of tubular Hippie Font sixes -- all headed west.