Clovis, New Mexico

MS word XL

Clovis, New Mexico was created by the AT & SF Railroad as a terminal on the Belen Cutoff in 1906/1907. Actual construction was started east from Belen in 1902 when the Eastern Railway of New Mexico was formed to construct a railroad between Amarillo and Belen through Abo Pass. This new route saved the AT & SF Ry. about one half of a mile; however, this one half of a mile was nearly straight up over the Glorietas and Raton Pass. Money problems of 1903 stopped construction for a short time (approximately six months).

The first train on Hagerman's line, Pecos Valley and Northeastern Railway operated through Texico, Portales, Roswell, Eddy(Carlsbad) about 1899.

AT & SF engineers were having substantial problems in locating an eastern terminal for the Belen Cutoff. Locations considered were Melrose, Texico, Blacktower, and even Portales thought they might be chosen. In 1906 these communities were in Roosevelt County. These locations were not chosen.

Eastern Railway Company of New Mexico; TIME TABLE No. 1, in effect March 12, 1906, at 12:05 A. M. This Time Table shows the following stations west of Texico listed in this order: TEXICO; CLOVIS; BLACK TOWER (later changed to Portair then Gallaher); ST. VRAIN; MELROSE; CANTARA; IDRIA (later changed to Krider); TAIBAN; La LANDE; and SUNNYSIDE (later changed to Ft. Sumner).

On Sept. 1, 1906, W. B. Storey was appointed chief engineer of the AT & SF Railroad. One of his first official acts after taking over as chief engineer was to wire the engineers at Texico, "to located and buy the first level section of land west of Texico for a townsite and facilities for the eastern terminal", of the Belen Cutoff. The first level section of land west of Texico on the line that was considered was Section 18, Township 2, Range 6 east. The SE quarter was owned by Jack Blackwell; the SW quarter was owned by Oliver Todd; The NE quarter was owned by Clayton Reed, and Clayton Reed's sister, Nellie Reed, owned the NW quarter. This section of land was purchased in October 2nd of 1906, and work started immediately to construct railroad facilities and the townsite for Clovis. Clovis was in Roosevelt County when it was created by the AT & SF Railroad .

Clovis, New Mexico Main Street  in 1907.  Starting where Second Street is now looking North. 


AT&SF Railroad Coal Chute built in 1907.

AT&SFR Railroad Depot built in 1907.  One of the Riley grandkids said that his grandpa Riley was on top of the building. 

The first Saloon in Clovis build by H.  A.  (Doc) Jenkins in 1907.


The above original townsite of Clovis was bordered on the south by Brady Street, on the east by Prince Street, on the north by Seventh Street, and on the west by Thornton Street. The actual town was laid out to the north of the AT & SF tracks and facilities. The approximately one half section south of the tracks was used for railroad shops , feed and shipping yards, and other railroad facilities. 

On May 1, 1907, the Santa Fe Land and Improvement Company opened sale on lots for the townsite of Clovis.

Clayton Reed is reported to have built the first business in Clovis, a real estate office, in May of 1907. (Clayton Reed was kind enough to have left us a Biography of his life and also several descendants who still live in Clovis.)

At a meeting of the Roosevelt County commissioners April 6, 1908, in a regular meeting ordered and decreed that the town of Clovis, said county (Roosevelt), be a duly and regularly incorporated town. Shortly thereafter it was recorded:

Whereas at said meeting, the said county, ordered and decreed that an election be held in said town of Clovis on the sixteenth day of May, A.D., 1908 for the purpose of electing a board of five trustees of the said town of Clovis. Said election was held in accordance with such order and decrees and the following persons elected, and qualified as such board of trustees, to wit: R. C. Reid, chairman; W. B. Cramer; E. R. Hart; B. F. Craig; and W. L. Mansfield. (R. C. Reid was the first Mayor of Clovis.) (F. T. Tully was appointed clerk.)

The Belen Cutoff which was built from Belen, NM to Texico, NM at the Texas State line was started when the Eastern Railway of New Mexico was incorporated on October 30, 1902 and was completed in February 1, 1912, when it was taken over by the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railway.

New Mexico Governor Curry wrote, " the bill came to my desk on February 25, I signed it promptly. There was considerable opposition to the Curry County bill, in part over location of the county seat, for which there were several contenders and also opposition because of the new county's then low assessed valuation, at that time only about $1,750,00.....". Curry County was named for Governor Curry. 

A mystery!!! Many of the old timers refer to Clovis as Riley Switch. The question most everyone wants to ignore is that Mr. R. C. Reid who represented the Santa Fe Land and Improvement Company, bought four (4) quarter sections of land that had been homesteaded on. A timetable for the Eastern Railway Company of New Mexico in effect March 12, 1906 at 12:05 A. M lists stations west out of Texico as Clovis, Blacktower, St. Vrain, Melrose, Cantara, Idria, Taiban, La Lande, Sunnyside (later changed to Ft. Sumner). There were sidings at each of these locations.

Question: If Clovis is listed 8.4 miles west of Texico in March of 1906, where does Riley Switch come into play? According to Post Office records there was a post office by the name of Riley in service for approx. six months in 1906-1907. Riley Post office was located in a box car on the ground approximately 150 yards east of what is now known as the corner of Prince street and Tatum Av. There was a switch, of course, and this is what is referred to as Riley Switch.

Collected and compiled by Harold Kilmer, President of the HIGH PLAINS HISTORICAL, FD. in May of 1995.

For more history on Clovis see Curry County History, published in 1978.