“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”

New Mexico Facts and Figures

Gleaned from the Historical Marker Database


on December 3, 2020

1876 artwork by Henry Mitchell, via Wikipedia Commons

 New Mexico ranks 41st among states and provinces with markers in this database. New Mexico is a state in the United States of America located in the American Mountains. It is also in the Southwest region. New Mexico is some 122 thousand square miles in size with a population of around 2.1 million people. The state is divided into 33 counties and all of them have entries in this database. In New Mexico we have discovered historical markers in 182 cities and towns lying in 180 different ZIP Codes.

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There are at least 804 historical markers in New Mexico, by our count. We have cataloged 730 historical markers and 16 war memorials—each individually presented on 745 illustrated, annotated, and searchable pages of the Historical Marker Database. In addition, we are reasonably certain of another 74 historical markers in New Mexico that we don’t yet have, and instead show on our Want List. Our correspondents have been finding and adding hundreds of markers a month to the database from all over the world, so next time you visit this page you will probably find that the numbers here have changed.

The first New Mexico marker in the database, Casa de Armijo, was added November 21, 2006. It was photographed in Albuquerque in Bernalillo County. The last one added was submitted on November 30, 2020, and titled Senator Clinton P. Anderson Scenic Route. It is near Los Alamos in Santa Fe County and had been erected in 1972. Keeping in mind that the erection date of many markers in the database is not known, the earliest historical marker we know of in New Mexico was erected in 1868. It was this one: To the Heroes, and one of our correspondents found it in Santa Fe in Santa Fe County on August 4, 2011.

New Mexico Historical Topics
247 • Settlements and Settlers
130 • Native Americans
85 • Industry and Commerce
80 • Forts or Castles
70 • Women
69 • Roads and Vehicles
52 • Exploration
47 • Notable Places
38 • Natural Features
38 • Churches and Religion
    ... and others ...

New Mexicans don’t want to forget their Settlements and Settlers history. How do we know? Because there are more historical markers in the database from New Mexico about Settlements and Settlers—247 of them—than about any other historical topic. It is followed by Native Americans with 130 markers.

The first marker added to the database with the Settlements and Settlers topic was also Casa de Armijo, added November 21, 2006. It had been erected in Albuquerque in Bernalillo County. The last one submitted was submitted on October 17, 2020, and titled Rio Grande Means Life. It had been erected in Radium Springs in Doña Ana County. The earliest marker erected with the Settlements and Settlers topic that we have listed was erected in 1922. It is In This Plaza Were Enacted, found in Albuquerque in Bernalillo County on July 30, 2011.

What is the most interesting historical marker in New Mexico? What we know is that Old Fort Sumner and “Billy the Kid’s” Grave is the most viewed entry in the database from New Mexico since it was added in 2009. It is located near Fort Sumner in De Baca County. This year so far, the most viewed New Mexican entry is located in Glencoe in Lincoln County. It is John H. Tunstall Murder Site.

Counties, Cities and Towns

The New Mexico county with the most historical markers listed in this database is Santa Fe County, with 83 of them. It is followed by Lincoln County with 61 markers. The Santa Fe area of Santa Fe County has the highest number of markers within its limits, 65. In Lincoln County the area with the most markers, 23, is Fort Stanton.

Historical Markers in These
New Mexico Counties
83 • Santa Fe County
61 • Lincoln County
51 • Doña Ana County
47 • Mora County
37 • Socorro County
36 • Bernalillo County
33 • Grant County
33 • Rio Arriba County
29 • Chaves County
26 • Sandoval County
    ... and others ...

Checking the database for the city or town in New Mexico with the most markers we again find Santa Fe at the top of the list with 65 markers in or near it. It is followed by Watrous in Mora County with 41 markers. For the ZIP Code with the most markers it’s 87501 at the top of the list with 53 markers in its delivery area. (ZIP Code 87501 is assigned to Santa Fe NM including the Agua Fria, Chupadero, Cuyamungue, Hyde Park Estates, Jacona, Nambe, Pojoaque, San Ildefonso Pueblo, Seton Village, and Tesuque Pueblo delivery areas.) It is followed by ZIP Code 87753 with 41 markers. (87753 is assigned to Watrous NM.)

Historical Markers Near These
New Mexico Cities and Towns
65 • Santa Fe
41 • Watrous
31 • Albuquerque
26 • Roswell
23 • Fort Stanton
18 • Las Cruces
15 • Lincoln
14 • Las Vegas
14 • Taos
12 • Deming
    ... and others ...

Getting back to Santa Fe County, the first marker added to the database from there, San Miguel Church, was added January 6, 2008. in Santa Fe. The last one submitted—also the last one submitted in all of New Mexico—was uploaded on November 30, 2020, and is titled Senator Clinton P. Anderson Scenic Route and was erected in 1972, near Los Alamos. The earliest marker erected in Santa Fe County that we have listed was erected in 1868. It was To the Heroes, found in Santa Fe on August 4, 2011.

Latest entry from New Mexico. Click to go there
By Cosmos Mariner, May 23, 2015
Latest Entry from New Mexico
“Senator Clinton P. Anderson Scenic Route”

And finally the first, last, and oldest markers from Watrous. The first: Fort Union National Monument / Santa Fe Trail, was added August 8, 2011. The last: Trail Sites to the North and East added on September 29, 2020.

Who Puts Up Historical Markers?

The New Mexico Historic Preservation Division is currently in charge of the familiar big, brown, log-hewn official historical markers found all over the state and the New Mexico Department of Transportation typically installs and maintains those that are roadside. They erected their first marker in 1935, and we have 245 of their markers in the database.

In addition, E Clampus Vitus—not government affiliated—also erected numerous historical markers in New Mexico, and we have 27 of their New Mexico markers in the database. Also, a number of counties have erected historical markers on their streets and roads and within their public areas, as have some cities and towns.

Latest entry from New Mexico. Click to go there
By Brian Anderson, May 22, 2018
A Historic Preservation Division Historical Marker

Then there are federal government agencies that put up historical markers, especially in national parks and other areas under their jurisdiction. And finally, there are the numerous public and private organizations and individuals that erect markers. Some do this as a continual endeavor, and others once in a while, to mark something, someone, or someplace they find important or interesting. When one of our correspondents comes across one that satisfies our criteria, we add it to the database.

Off the Beaten Path

You’ll find that even the smallest, least populated, or most rural areas of New Mexico have been marked with history. Check out Roosevelt County, Curry County and Harding County. We've only found, respectively, 5, 4, and 2 historical markers there. Visiting one or more of these parts of New Mexico might make for a pleasant road trip, and maybe you’ll discover more historical markers while you’re there. If you do, perhaps you’ll take the time to photograph them and, when you get home, become an HMdb correspondent by adding them to the database. Happy Hunting!

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Dec. 3, 2020