Founded in 1901 with the arrival of the Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific Railroad, Tucumcari is a historic junction city in New Mexico’s far east. It was originally known as “Ragtown” before being dubbed “Six Shooter Siding” due to the gunfights that would break out in its construction camp. In 1908, it was renamed Tucumcari after a local mountain.
Things to do in Tucumcari
Occupying an early 20th-century schoolhouse is the Tucumcari Historical Museum where you’ll find local memorabilia, Native American pottery and artefacts from the surrounding area. The museum also encompasses native gardens and several outbuildings that include a wagon shed, a firehouse and a big red barn. On the grounds of the museum is an F-100 Super Sabre jet fighter aircraft.
Travelling with kids? They’ll love spending a day at the Mesalands Dinosaur Museum and Natural Sciences Laboratory, where you’ll find a fascinating array of specimens from local dig sites. See a 12-metre-long Torvosaurus skeleton and minerals from across the globe, several of which are for sale in the gift shop. A highlight of visiting the museum is watching the palaeontology students preserve specimens.
Don’t miss the New Mexico Route 66 Museum, which houses an impressive collection of vintage vehicles, gas pumps and retro artefacts. Its focus is on New Mexicos’ Route 66 heritage, with a Rock-Ola Jukebox and a Loretta Lynn-signed guitar among the highlights. Also forming part of the collection are more than 160 images taken along Route 66 by photographer Michael Campanelli.
Getting around Tucumcari
Tucumcari is around 2.5 hours’ drive from Albuquerque and just under three hours from Albuquerque International Sunport, which has flights to destinations across the United States. Long-distance buses connect to Tucumcari while renting a car is the most convenient way of getting around the city.