Tucumcari still friendly, welcoming community

Lynn Moncus

As we continue to review some of the history of the territorial days, we note the comments by the John F. Worley Directory Company regarding the development of agriculture in our county.

“The evolution of the vast and fertile plains around Tucumcari from grazing to agriculture is yet in its infancy but has progressed beyond the experimental point and is producing profitably Indian corn, wheat, milo, maize, kaffir corn, millet, fruits, melons, etc. As this agriculture development in her territory continues, Tucumcari will grow in population and prosperity.”

To enable various kinds of development, the two main banks in town seemed pleased to advertise their businesses. The First National Bank of Tucumcari, New Mexico, showed capital, surplus and profits of $65,000. The Federal Banking Company was the county depository and had capital of $50,000. Their loans made the opening of businesses, the purchasing of farming equipment, the building of new homes, and other additions come to fruition.

We had two weekly newspapers furnishing both local and national news in 1910, Tucumcari News and The Tucumcari Sun. Those papers kept people in touch with all the major happenings in both the town and county and were popular reading material for all ages.

Other reading materials could be found at Wells Fargo Book Store and Elk Drug Store. The latter also advertised that they filled prescriptions accurately sold drugs and drugs sundries as well a Kodaks, toilet articles, fancy goods, paints, oils, and wall paper. Their soda fountain was also a major gathering place for both town and country folk. It was also a center at which people could leave messages for others and be assured they would be delivered.

It seems that grocery stores were on every comer as eleven retail establishments and one wholesale place advertised their wares. Whitmore & Company said they were “headquarters for staple and fancy groceries, fruits, vegetables, flour, and feed.”

Isaac Jones and Tucumcari Meat Market specialized in sales of meat and poultry although most of the grocery stores had small meat markets as well. Some of those food businesses provided services to local and county customers to allow them more time to tend to other errands by accepting their grocery lists either by phone or in person and by having those lists filled when those customers came in to pay for or charge their food. A few of those businesses also provided home delivery to enhance the lives of the homemakers.

Our town and county became known for our friendliness and desire to welcome new inhabitants. We still have those same characteristics and are not afraid to use them whenever we so desire.