Directories shed light on past

If we take the time to read some of the early day city directories, we learn a lot about our history. For instance, while reading the 1909-1910 directory, I learned that we already had 5080 residents and were planning for more because of the many opportunities available here.

According to the John F. Worley Directory Co., “In older sections of our country Tucumcari would be considered a ‘new town,’ but in the great West things change rapidly, and when a town has developed into a city with paved and graded streets, cement sidewalks, stone school buildings, magnificent stone churches, and all the other accessories, necessities and conveniences of civilization and refinement, then we do not look upon it as ‘new.’ We count accomplishments rather than age.”

Our town had been founded in 1901 and had become quite a place in almost a decade, just before we entered statehood.

Having begun as a tent city, Tucumcari grew rapidly to become a well-known railroad center even during the territorial days. Because of that railroad, more people moved to the area faster than had our earlier pioneers who traveled in wagons.

Many of us have heard from our grandparents that travel by wagon was a slow and dangerous process. They mentioned how they would have enjoyed traveling by train to reach this area in which they were to remain for the rest of their lives.

Although we almost tripled in size during the years, we have now become nearer the size we were in those early days. But we still have many of the same hopes and dreams for our lives here that those early people had.

They, of course, had the opportunity of watching the new growth and prosperity. They had the chance to build this “city in the wilderness” and to give it a look of permanence as they built the many stone and brick buildings, platted the town, and named the various additions.

They felt the excitement of seeing the entire county grow to become a great place in which to live.

As we look at many of our street names, we are aware of the history behind

those names and are pleased to have known some of the people for whom they were named. We also enjoy reading early accounts about the pride taken in the building of our town.

Those of us who still call this place home have retained that same pride and tend to get just a little excited when negative remarks are made about our beginnings.

We have seen many changes, but we have yet to see more progress than was seen in those early years.