Wednesday, November 30, 2011

Main Streets in Raton and Clovis, New Mexico

Raton means rat or mouse in Spanish. I'm not sure why anyone would want to name a town after a rodent, and this doesn't even look like a place where rats would want to be (no harbor!). What a main street though! It doesn't look quite as lively today, though some of the old buildings are still standing. Raton currently has a population of about 7,200.

And here we have Clovis, another New Mexico town with a great main street. The Hotel Clovis, on the left-hand side, is still standing. And while I don't know how Raton got its name, I can tell you how Clovis was named. The town was originally called Riley's Switch, because it was a Santa Fe railroad town and it must have been the place where Riley controlled the railroad switch.

The name of the current town reportedly came from the station master's daughter who was studying Clovis, King of the Franks at the time. Isn't that sweet? - a schoolgirl gets to name a town (current population of approximately 38,000) after something she's interested in. It ended up going far beyond that though. Years later, when Indian artifacts were unearthed near Clovis, researchers named the pre-historic Paleo Indian culture after the nearby town. When you hear of the Clovis culture or the Clovis Indians (thought to be the first human inhabitants of the new world), think of that little girl. Had she been studying Napoleon at the time, they might have been called the Napoleon Indians. Had she been reading Flaubert or Emily Bronte, they might have had yet another name.

Here are the backs of the cards in the same order.


  1. Interesting cards, especially the town with all the cars parked in neat rows....street names, names of cities some of them are truly worth discovering how they got named...some explain how they were named, like "Show Low" a small town in Arizona, named after a card game of course!....

  2. The city fathers in those days had a lot of foresight.
    Look at the broad roads that hey have made.

  3. What a great story! Somehow, "Flaubert" Indians doesn't sound as cool as "Clovis," does it? it's always fun reading each card's history! I wish I had enough time to visit you more often!

  4. fabulous postcards!!
    love how the cars park on the streets that way. so many towns don't have that anymore..i love the look of it..just seems more warm and friendly!!
    love the history behind these!!

  5. Interesting cards and very neatly laid out streets. I like the idea of a little girl being given the responsibility of naming.

  6. Love this! It's great to see how these towns looked when Main Street was the hub of activity. I even shared it on my blog.

  7. I've always had an irrational love of street views that include plenty of those great old cars. that view of Raton is nice!



Related Posts with Thumbnails