in the midst of the Canadian River Breaks, a strip of rough and broken land
extensively dissected by tributaries of the Canadian River, sits the small town
of Nara Visa, New Mexico. Just inside the the state line some 48 miles northeast
of Tucumcari, Nara Visa is not a complete ghost town, but certainly is a shell
of its former self.
The ranching town got its start when the The Chicago, Rock Island and Pacific
was built thru the area in 1901.
The first person to live in the "community"
was Henry F. King, who came to the site in November, 1901 to be the first
section foreman. At that time, there were no structures except for the depot. He
and his wife lived in a boxcar where they boarded trainmen, section men, and
occasionally cowboys. In January 1902, the section house was constructed. That
same year, a dugout school and post office were established.
A more substantial stone schoolhouse was built in 1908 to handle the
increasing population of homesteaders' children and in 1909, McNeil &
Crain began to publish a weekly newspaper called the Nara Visa New
Mexican and Register. In 1911, its name changed to the New Mexico
News, and from 1912-1914, it was called the
Nara Visa New Mexican, no doubt, changing publishing companies with
each name change.
1910, there were a total of four active churches.
Sometime in its early days the town evidently suffered from a fire as
is in 1910, the town was described in
The Dry Farming Congress Bulletin: "This town has 300
progressive people who have faith enough in the future of the section to
put substantial stone and concrete buildings over the site of a recent
fire, that wiped out the business houses of the town."
The people of the
community were obviously correct as the town sported numerous businesses
by 1912, including
three saloons, three blacksmiths, two general stores, a seed company, two
drug stores, two liveries, two hardware stores, two doctors, a broom
manufacturer, an undertaker, two bakeries, a restaurant, a veterinarian, a
lumber company, a meat store, a lawyer, a barber, two banks --
the Farmers & Merchants Trust & Savings Bank and the First National Bank,
and continued to support four churches --
Catholic, Christian, Methodist, and Baptist.
In 1915, the town
and area was described in the
New Mexico, the Land of Opportunity, as follows: