Clovis — city of the plains


"Clovis Man" sculpture at Clovis Community College. Photo by Phyllis Eileen Banks.

The city’s history goes back thousands of years earlier to the "Clovis Culture." In 1932, A. W. Anderson of Clovis first discovered evidence of human occupation about 11,000 years ago at the Blackwater Draw site. Now the Blackwater Draw Museum presents evidence of the remarkable "fluted" points (a New World invention) and other stone and bone weapons. They occur in association with extinct Pleistocene age megafauna such as mammoth, ancient bison, horse and large turtles. Recovered bones of these mastodon are also on display. A state museum, it is under the direction of Eastern New Mexico University at Portales and is located 12 miles southwest of Clovis on U. S. Highway 70.

Clovis is at the crossroads of U. S. Highways 70, 60 and 84 on the high plains of eastern New Mexico at an elevation of 4,200 feet. An annual rainfall of 17 inches with a mean temperature of 57 degrees and 335 days of sunshine makes pleasant days and cool nights for the 37,000 people who live there.

Cannon Air Force Base, eight miles to the West, adds to the community’s economy and available work force. The cultivated cropland produces corn, wheat, sorghum, cotton, hay, potatoes and other vegetables. The range land and climate make Clovis an ideal location for its nine dairies with average herds of 1,500. Other dairy related industries include implement dealers, feed mills, commodity brokers, trucking firms, weekly livestock auctions and construction companies with dairy building experience.

Clovis boasts many area attractions. Among them is the Norman Petty Studios, known worldwide as the place where Buddy Holly recorded the smash hit, "Peggy Sue," as well as 18 other hits. The Clovis Model Train Museum is in the old Clovis Santa Fe Passenger Depot, now listed on the National Register of Historic Places. The Hillcrest Park Zoo adjacent to Hillcrest Park houses 500 animals. Most are exhibited in their natural habitat.

Ned Houk Memorial Park is 6 1/2 miles north of Clovis on State Highway 209. Covering 3,320 acres, it has large shade trees and 400 acres of mowed and irrigated grass around four stocked fish ponds. The Old Homestead Museum, created by and dedicated to H. A. "Pappy" Thornton, is also located in the park. There is a farming equipment display made prior to 1926, two typical old farm dwellings and a Model T Ford truck. The Ned Houk Motor Sports Complex is located on the Southwest corner of the park, and offers stock car (dirt) racing Saturday nights from May to late October.

Many activities keep the folks at home. There is the Curry County Fair, Pioneer Days, the Old Lyceum Theatre and its productions, Pioneer Days Rodeo and the Clovis Community Band. Clovis Community College satisfies those with a lifelong pursuit of learning.

About Phyllis Eileen Banks