Area Events of Note

Don McAlavy

Events that helped the area…

–1901-1907 – The Santa Fe Railway building the 250-mile Belen cut-off from Texico to Belen and founded Clovis. The railroad made possible the great influx of homesteaders from 1903-1912.

–1907-present: Clovis created a 5,000-square-mile trade area that became a major factor in our growth.

–1909 – The creation of Curry County, with Clovis winning the county-seat site.

–1929-31 – The Golden Age of major building in Clovis, and an airfield west of Clovis for 1929 T.A.T. train-plane travel across United States, which eventually assured us of a major factor in growth, with the airfield becoming Clovis Army Air Field in 1942, where B-17, B-14 and B-29 bomber crews trained.

After World War II, the field was reactivated in 1951 for the Korean War and in 1957 named Cannon Air Force Base, which became one of the major jet fighter training sites for U.S. defense forces.

–1935 – The livestock auction and selling business founded in the stockyards area of Clovis, becoming a major horse- and cattle-selling business.

–1949-present: Deep-well irrigation made possible 40-60 bushels an acre grain production and an expanded agribusiness industry in Clovis.

–1954-present: A remarkable music industry was founded by Norman Petty, remarkable in that a small recording studio could produce so many No. 1 hits that rocked the music world.

–1956-present: The business that employs more people than any other commercial business in New Mexico located its headquarters in Clovis in the late 1950s, with some 350 stores in New Mexico, Texas and Oklahoma, Allsup’s Convenience Stores became one of Clovis’ biggest assets. Hires more people in New Mexico than any other commercial business employer.

Events that hurt the area:

–1906 – The Great Prairie Fire that destroyed many homesteads and left an area from Fort Sumner to Hereford, Texas, from the Caprock north of Clovis to within 10 miles of Melrose.

–1916 – present: The many armed conflicts from the Pancho Villa raid on Columbus incident in 1916, to World War I, World War II, Korean Conflict, Vietnam War, Desert Storm and the other many foreign conflicts that Americans, including many Curry County citizens, lost their lives to keep us free.

–1918 – The deadly Spanish Influenza epidemic that took 10 times as many lives in America as did WWI.

–1931-1938 – The Great Depression and the famous “Dust Bowl” period. The only positive result of this period was the New Deal program that put some 30 million Americans back to work, and the 1935 Social Security Act that put a safety net beneath our elderly citizens, many of whom had no other means of income or support in their retirement. (The downside: The free aid received made many generations dependent on government welfare, leading many to fall into drug abuse, and criminal acts to support their addition which fueled a giant world-wide illegal drug industry which stifles our country today.)

–The depletion of our water (the Ogallala Aquifer) in the last 50 years is the biggest problem we presently face.

Man-made tragedies that took lives of our citizens by accident or on purpose:

–The Tate-Bohannan Feud that stretched from 1921 to 1934 with three killings.

–The 1926 Hassell killings when the mother and her 8 children were hacked to death.

–1917 -The tar-and-feathering of innocent T. Smith in Clovis.

–1941 – Fire burns to death four members of a Clovis family.

–1972 (Dec. 26) – 19 people, including students, driver and sponsors, die in a collision of a school bus and a cattle truck on the narrow highway bridge west of Taiban.

–1955 (July 5) – Head-on collision of two trains.