Our towns: Elida is close-knit kind of town

Alisa Boswell

A community of support and acceptance is how many Elida residents would describe their town.

Resident Lela Jo “Red” Halliday said the town thrived with business once upon a time with a service station, cafe, movie theater, drug store, dry goods store, hotel, newspaper office and more.

“When I was a kid, my parents had businesses on the west side of the town that were advertised as Roosevelt County’s biggest and finest,” Halliday said. “On Saturdays, the town would be full because people would bring their eggs and their cream to town to trade them.”

Halliday said Elida was built before both Clovis and Portales, which made it, at one time, the place to go for supplies.

“Mother used to tell me that there was a bar on every corner back in the day,” Halliday said.

Halliday said John Gee was one of the original founders of Elida and there is more than one story of how he named the small town.

She said one of the stories says Gee had two daughters named Ella and Ida and he combined them to make the town name. The other story is he found a stake in a lumber yard which said Elida on it.

“Nobody is really sure which one of those stories is right,” Halliday said.

Halliday said she has lived in Elida 50 years and has always known the people of Elida to be close-knit.

“More than half the people here have lived here more than half their lives or most of their lives,” Halliday said. “Most of the people are real close and real civic minded. Everybody just jumps in and helps. The kids start out real young helping.”

Elida Municipal Schools Principal Larry Gregory said another major aspect to Elida is the town puts a lot of pride and effort into their school district.

“I would say it’s the hub of Elida. The extracurricular activities are well supported by residents.”

“A lot of people are very loyal to the school and support the school,” Gregory said. “There’s not a lot to do except come to the extra curricular activities at the school, but the community is very supportive.”

He said Elida has won the Director’s Cup for the 2010-11 school year, which is a competition which combines academics and extra curricular activities.

“It’s just kind of a catch-all. The school makes itself available for the community,” Gregory said. “The school’s facilities are available for community events. People support the church, the school and they are certainly very supportive of their children.”