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Clovis, New Mexico

Coordinates: 34°24′17″N 103°12′19″W / 34.40472°N 103.20528°W / 34.40472; -103.20528
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Clovis, New Mexico
Main Street in September 2015
Main Street in September 2015
Official seal of Clovis, New Mexico
"A City On The Move – Come Grow With Us!"
Location of Clovis, New Mexico
Location of Clovis, New Mexico
Coordinates: 34°24′17″N 103°12′19″W / 34.40472°N 103.20528°W / 34.40472; -103.20528
CountryUnited States
StateNew Mexico
 • MayorMike Morris
 • City managerJustin Howalt
 • City23.792 sq mi (61.621 km2)
 • Land23.625 sq mi (61.187 km2)
 • Water0.167 sq mi (0.433 km2)
Elevation4,269 ft (1,301 m)
 • City38,567
 • Estimate 
 • Density1,592/sq mi (614.7/km2)
 • Urban
 • Metro
66,009 (US: 129th)
Time zoneUTC−7 (Mountain (MST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC−6 (MDT)
ZIP Codes
88101, 88102, 88103
Area code575
FIPS code35-16420
GNIS feature ID0915815[3]
Sales tax7.94%[6]

Clovis is a city in and the county seat of Curry County, New Mexico.[7] The population was 38,567 at the 2020 census.[4] Clovis is located in the New Mexico portion of the Llano Estacado, in the eastern part of the state.

A largely agricultural community, closely bordering Texas, it is noted for its role in early rock music history and for nearby Cannon Air Force Base, current home to the 27th Special Operations Wing which is also known as "The Steadfast Line".[8] A Paleo-Indian site was found near Clovis, where in 1929 a distinctive kind of stone spear-point was discovered. These points were called Clovis points, and the culture associated with them was named the Clovis culture. The Clovis people came to be regarded as the first human inhabitants who created a widespread culture in the New World. Clovis people are considered to be the ancestors of most of the indigenous cultures of the Americas. The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway system helped establish Clovis over one hundred years ago, which continues to be a major hub of operations for that railroad and its successor, BNSF Railway. Also notable is the Southwest Cheese Company, the largest cheddar cheese producer in North America.

It is the principal city of the Clovis Micropolitan statistical area, which is part of the larger Clovis-Portales CSA.


The Eastern New Mexico region was home to the prehistoric Clovis culture, an anthropologically significant group of early Native Americans. Several remains have been found at the Blackwater Draw site (south of Clovis, near Portales), which remains a historical and tourist site.

Rail history[edit]

Clovis began in 1906, when the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway was being constructed through the area and railway engineers were instructed to "locate and buy the first level section of land west of Texico" on which to build a town site and railroad facilities.[9]

At first known as "Riley's Switch", the site was renamed Clovis. A likely-apocryphal story states that a daughter of a rail official (accounts vary whether her father was AT&SF president Edward Payson Ripley, chief engineer James Dunn, or an unnamed station master) was studying about Clovis, the first Catholic king of the Franks, and proposed the name.[10][11]

Town history[edit]

The land was bought on October 2, 1906, and the railroad began offering town lots for sale on May 1, 1907. The settlement built up quickly and in 1909 was incorporated.[10]

On August 24, 2008, eight prisoners escaped from the Clovis Jail by shimmying up plumbing pipes. The escape was highlighted on the television show America's Most Wanted.[12]

Clovis celebrated its centennial in 2009.

The Clovis Carver Public Library was the site of a mass shooting in August 2017 in which two people were killed and four wounded.[13]

In 2023, the FW1 Ute Reservoir pipeline project started construction to provide potable water by 2030 for Cannon Air Force Base and the communities of Clovis, Portales, Elida, and Texico.[14]


Clovis is located in southeastern Curry County at 34°24′17″N 103°12′19″W / 34.40472°N 103.20528°W / 34.40472; -103.20528 (34.4047987, -103.2052272), 9 miles (14 km) west of the Texas border. The city's geographic center is at an elevation of 4,281 feet (1,305 m) above sea level.[15]

U.S. Routes 60, 70, and 84 pass through the city. US 60 and 84 lead west 60 miles (97 km) to Fort Sumner, while US 70 leads southwest 19 miles (31 km) to Portales and 110 miles (180 km) to Roswell. The three highways lead east together to the state line at Texico, New Mexico, and Farwell, Texas. Cannon Air Force Base is 7 miles (11 km) west of the center of Clovis.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 23.792 square miles (61.62 km2), of which 23.625 square miles (61.19 km2) is land and 0.167 square miles (0.43 km2), or 0.73% is water[2] from the several artificial ponds in Clovis' multiple public parks.


Flooding caused by a thunderstorm, downtown Clovis (1980)

The climate is relatively temperate with low humidity and high winds. Summers are warm with occasional extreme heat and winters are cool with frequent, extreme cold. Severe thunderstorms are often in the spring with rainstorms prevalent during summer evenings. Tornadoes are known to occur and Clovis is located on the southern edge of Tornado Alley. Several inches of snowfall frequently occur each winter, typically for several weeks in January–February, often resulting in minor flooding due to the non-existent runoff system. High winds are common due to the flat, open land and regularly gust well above 30 miles per hour (48 km/h; 13 m/s) and average 12 miles per hour (19 km/h; 5 m/s).[16] According to the Köppen Climate Classification system, Clovis has a semi-arid climate, abbreviated BSk on climate maps.[17]

Climate data for Clovis, New Mexico
Month Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec Year
Record high °F (°C) 79
Mean daily maximum °F (°C) 51.1
Mean daily minimum °F (°C) 23.4
Record low °F (°C) −12
Average precipitation inches (mm) 0.48
Average snowfall inches (cm) 2.5
Source: The Weather Channel[18]


Historical population
2023 (est.)37,612[5]−2.5%
U.S. Decennial Census[19]
2020 Census[4]

2020 census[edit]

Clovis Racial Composition[20]
Race Number Percent
White (NH) 15,669 40.6%
Black or African American (NH) 2,294 5.9%
Native American (NH) 190 0.5%
Asian (NH) 657 1.7%
Pacific Islander (NH) 27 0.1%
Some Other Race (NH) 173 0.4%
Mixed/Multi-Racial (NH) 1,405 3.6%
Hispanic or Latino 18,152 47.1%
Total 38,567 100.0%

As of the 2020 census, there were 38,567 people, 15,043 households, and 9,551 families residing in the city.[21] The population density was 1,632.5 inhabitants per square mile (630.3/km2). There were 17,051 housing units. The racial makeup of the city was 55.6% White, 6.9% African American, 1.3% Native American, 1.9% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 17.7% from some other races and 16.5% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 47.1% of the population.[22] 26.5% of residents were under the age of 18, 7.8% were under 5 years of age, and 12.6% were 65 and older.

2000 census[edit]

As of the 2000 census, there were 32,667 people, 12,458 households, and 8,596 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,458.9 people per square mile (563.3 people/km2). There were 14,269 housing units at an average density of 637.3 per square mile (246.1/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 71.3% White, 7.3% Black, 1.0% Native American, 1.6% Asian, 0.1% Pacific Islander, 15.0% from other races, and 3.6% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino were 33.4% of the population.

There were 12,458 households, out of which 36.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.8% were married couples living together, 14.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.0% were non-families. 26.8% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.57 and the average family size was 3.12.

In the city, the population was 30.0% under the age of 18, 9.4% from 18 to 24, 28.1% from 25 to 44, 19.5% from 45 to 64, and 13.0% who were ages 65 or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females, there were 92.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $28,878, and the median income for a family was $33,622. Males had a median income of $26,586 versus $20,375 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,561. About 17.2% of families and 21.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.2% of those under age 18 and 14.6% of those age 65 or over.

Clovis has a population of 39,860 since the year 2014 and since the year 2000 the population increased by twenty-two percent. The number of males and females in the Clovis population are very close in numbers; there are approximately 20,451 males and 19,409 females. Almost 47% of the population in Clovis is white (non-Hispanic), 42% is Hispanic, 7% is African-American, 2% are two different races, and less than 2% is Asian. Cannon Air Force Base, which is located 10 miles west of the city, has increased the wide variety of people throughout the past several years. The population is spread throughout 22.9 square miles, which compared to other towns nearby, is rather large.

The income for a household, as of 2015, was about $41,000 for the city of Clovis but for the state of New Mexico as a whole, it averaged around $45,382.

Economics and industry[edit]

Sign at Clovis airport

Like most of east-central New Mexico and west Texas, the surrounding area plays host to significant agriculture and ranching activities, including peanut and cotton farming and cattle ranching used for both meat and dairy production. Several processing plants exist for these products; in 2004 construction began on the Southwest Cheese Company plant between Clovis and Portales. The plant commenced operations in late 2005 and provided a small boost to the local economy by employing over 200 personnel. It is one of the largest plants of its type in the world, processing milk provided by the numerous local dairies in excess of 2.3 billion pounds of milk annually.[23]

In 1995, the Santa Fe was merged into the BNSF Railway, which operates a division point and large freight classification yard on its Southern Transcon at Clovis, with a dispatcher's office monitoring traffic over the Belen Cutoff. This 235-mile (378 km) rail corridor is one of the most heavily trafficked routes in the western United States, often with more than 100 mostly intermodal freight trains arriving and leaving Clovis daily.[24] The Southwestern Railroad, formerly the AT&SF Pecos Valley branch line, connects to the BNSF here, shipping potash from mines near Carlsbad.

Clovis is home to Cannon Air Force Base (the 27th Special Operations Wing), Burlington Northern Railroad, the Southwest Cheese Plant, Cummins-Natural Gas Engines, and many locally owned and operated businesses. This community also is surrounded by thousands of acres of farming, ranching, and dairy land. Agriculture is thus a mainstay of the local economy. Many high-school students participate in FFA (Future Farmers of America), where they learn about agriculture. Many local jobs depend on this sector of the economy. According to City-Data.com, the 2016 cost of living index for Clovis was around 83.5, which is well below the national average.

Clovis' location adjacent to Cannon Air Force Base, a special operations base, has had a large impact on the community. Clovis hosts a local organization, the Committee of Fifty, whose stated purpose is to lobby to keep Cannon AFB open; it subsequently helped coordinate the successful campaign which resulted in the realignment of Cannon to its new special ops mission.[25]

Clovis Municipal Airport provides a base for general aviation and daily service by Key Lime Air to and from Denver International Airport and Dallas Fort Worth International Airport.

In addition to the agricultural, military and railroading sectors, music has contributed to the economy of Clovis almost since the city originated. Norman Petty Studio in Clovis is where several different artists have recorded; one of the most famous is Buddy Holly.

Health care[edit]

Plains Regional Medical Center is the primary hospital serving Clovis. It is part of the Presbyterian Healthcare Services based in Albuquerque.[26]


The Hotel Clovis

Southwest, Spanish Mission, or Adobe architectural styles are prevalent, being considered representative of New Mexico. Much of Clovis architecture is indistinguishable from the group of styles prevalent throughout most small towns and suburbs since the 1930s.

The Hotel Clovis, a local landmark, opened on October 20, 1931. The hotel was designed by architect Robert Merrill, combining an Art Deco exterior with Southwestern Indian interior. The elegant ballroom hosted such names as Louis Armstrong, Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, and Hank Williams, and the nearby train depot supplied the hotel with most of its business. The hotel closed shortly after the Santa Fe Railroad discontinued passenger train service to Clovis in 1971. The building is currently being renovated into affordable housing. As of January 2013, housing is being offered to the community on a first come-first served basis, with some apartments being available now, and others on an "as finished" basis.

Downtown Clovis has three historic movie theaters, including the State Theater.


Public education[edit]

Clovis is served by several public schools making up the Clovis Municipal Schools:

  • Elementary schools
    • Arts Academy at Bella Vista
    • Barry Elem.
    • Cameo Elem.
    • Highland Elem.
    • James Bickley Elem.
    • La Casita Elem.
    • Lincoln-Jackson Pre-School
    • Lockwood Elem.
    • Los Ninos Pre-School
    • Mesa Elem.
    • Parkview Elem.
    • Ranchvale Elem. [Permanently Closed][27]
    • Sandia Elem.
    • Zia Elem.
  • Middle schools
    • Gattis Middle School
    • Marshall Middle School
    • Yucca Middle School
  • Junior high school
    • Clovis High School Freshman Campus
  • High school
    • Clovis High School

Private schools[edit]

Post-secondary education[edit]

For post-secondary education, there is one community college, Clovis Community College (CCC). Eastern New Mexico University is the nearest university, located 20 miles (32 km) south in Portales.


Clovis is the namesake of stone-age spear points that were found locally in 1929. Clovis points are the characteristically fluted projectile points associated with the North American Clovis culture. These artifacts date to the Paleoindian period, approximately 13,500 years ago.[28]

The arts[edit]

Performances including music and drama often take place at Clovis Community College, Eastern New Mexico University, and the Lyceum Auditorium, as well as at the Special Events Center, located adjacent to the county fairgrounds. The Clovis Music Festival is, locally, a high-profile event held annually mid April. The Clovis Civic Center hosts this and other entertainment events. The Special Events Center holds events such as rodeos, auctions, and concerts.

The Clovis-Carver Public Library[29] is located downtown and provides many services. Many resources are available to the public such as books, study and research material, DVDs, access to computers and much more. The library also holds many public functions that are free to the public. These functions can include author readings, summer reading programs for children and adults, and holiday programs. There is also a mobile program that delivers books to patrons who are homebound. The Friends of the Library organization holds biannual used book sales to help raise money for library programs.


Norman Petty Recording Studios in Clovis

The town was home to the Norman Petty Recording Studio, founded by musician Norman Petty. Artists including Waylon Jennings, Charlie "Sugartime" Phillips, Bobby Fuller and Roy Orbison cut their earliest recordings at the studio.[citation needed]

In film[edit]

The city served as the principal filming location for the 2016 movie Hell or High Water, which began shooting in May 2015. Three locations in the city were used as banks in the film; the local Suddenlink office at 1106 N Main Street (used in the opening scenes), the Western Bank branch at 901 Pile Street, and an unused, former bank at 2108 N Main Street. A local restaurant, Bill's Jumbo Burger at 2113 N Main Street, was also used in the movie.[30]

Notable people[edit]


  1. ^ "About Clovis, NM". Archived from the original on September 23, 2007. Retrieved October 6, 2007.
  2. ^ a b "2023 U.S. Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 15, 2024.
  3. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Clovis, New Mexico
  4. ^ a b c "Explore Census Data". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 15, 2024.
  5. ^ a b "City and Town Population Totals: 2020–2023". United States Census Bureau. June 15, 2024. Retrieved June 15, 2024.
  6. ^ "Clovis (NM) sales tax rate". Retrieved June 15, 2024.
  7. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Archived from the original on May 31, 2011. Retrieved June 7, 2011.
  8. ^ "The Steadfast Line".
  9. ^ "Clovis, New Mexico". curry.nmgenweb.us. Retrieved November 20, 2017.
  10. ^ a b "Clovis History". Clovis / Curry County Chamber of Commerce. Archived from the original on February 1, 2008.
  11. ^ "New Mexico Union Meeting", Locomotive Engineers Journal, vol. 66, Brotherhood of Locomotive Engineers, p. 382, 1932, At the time the townsite was laid out by the townsite company, a daughter of a Santa Fe official happened to be reading early French history. There she discovered the lovable character of the first Christian king of France, old King Clovis, and when it became the honor of this young lady to name the new town in eastern New Mexico, she gave it the name of Clovis.
  12. ^ Johnson, Sharna. "'America's Most Wanted' to air inmate escape Saturday." Clovis News Journal, September 3, 2008. Retrieved on September 21, 2008.
  13. ^ "2 dead, 4 injured in shooting at library in Clovis, New Mexico". ABC News. August 28, 2017.
  14. ^ "Eastern New Mexico celebrates groundbreaking of FW1 Ute Reservoir pipeline project". KVII TV 7. August 22, 2023. Archived from the original on January 30, 2024.
  15. ^ "Fallingrain.com". Archived from the original on May 31, 2009. Retrieved November 20, 2017.
  16. ^ "Average Wind Speeds". Historical Climate Information. Western Regional Climate Center. 2006. Archived from the original on November 20, 2017. Retrieved February 23, 2012.
  17. ^ "Clovis, New Mexico Köppen Climate Classification (Weatherbase)". Weatherbase. Retrieved November 20, 2017.
  18. ^ "Average Weather for Clovis, NM – Temperature and Precipitation". Retrieved April 4, 2011.
  19. ^ "Census of Population and Housing". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  20. ^ "P2 HISPANIC OR LATINO, AND NOT HISPANIC OR LATINO BY RACE – 2020: DEC Redistricting Data (PL 94-171) – Clovis city, New Mexico".
  21. ^ "US Census Bureau, Table P16: Household Type". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved June 15, 2024.
  22. ^ "How many people live in Clovis city, New Mexico". USA Today. Retrieved June 15, 2024.
  23. ^ Joseph P. Sánchez; Robert L. Spude; Art Gómez (September 26, 2013). New Mexico: A History. University of Oklahoma Press. p. 323. ISBN 978-0-8061-5113-7.
  24. ^ Fred W. Frailey, "Birthplace of the Transcon," Trains magazine, April 2007
  25. ^ "Operation Keep Cannon: Mission Accomplished". Archived from the original on December 1, 2017. Retrieved November 20, 2017.
  26. ^ "Archived copy". Archived from the original on July 25, 2013. Retrieved April 16, 2013.{{cite web}}: CS1 maint: archived copy as title (link)
  27. ^ 1, Public School Review Website.
  28. ^ "A Clovis Spear Point". Archaeological Research Center. South Dakota State Historical Society. February 13, 2004. Archived from the original on May 18, 2009.
  29. ^ "About Us | Clovis-Carver Public Library". Clovis-Carter Public Library.
  30. ^ "Hell or High Water filing locations". IMDb.
  31. ^ "D.J. Brigman – Official Web.com Tour Profile". Retrieved November 20, 2017.
  32. ^ Votesmart.org.-Dolores Crow
  33. ^ "Robert C Brack, United States District Court of New Mexico: Profile and Biography". Bloomberg.com. Retrieved June 27, 2023.
  34. ^ Logan, Paul. "Bratton Called a Model Judge" (obituary), Albuquerque Journal, May 7, 2002. Retrieved June 27, 2023.
  35. ^ "An Interview with Texas Supreme Court Chief Justice Nathan Hecht" (PDF).
  36. ^ "Matt Othick Game Logs, San Antonio Spurs, NBA Stats, NCAA Stats, Bests, Awards". basketball.realgm.com. Retrieved November 20, 2017.
  37. ^ "Matt Othick Stats". Basketball-Reference.com. Retrieved November 20, 2017.
  38. ^ "CNJonline.com". Retrieved November 20, 2017.

External links[edit]