New Mexico is home to many important Native American sites and cultures, including the Taos Pueblo, Acoma Pueblo, and Navajo Nation. These tribes have lived in the region for thousands of years and have preserved their traditions and customs despite centuries of colonization and oppression.
Quay County, New Mexico is located in the southeastern part of the state. The area has a rich history that dates back thousands of years. The county was inhabited by various Native American tribes, including the Apache and Comanche, before Spanish explorers arrived in the 16th century.

During the 19th century, Quay County was part of a series of land disputes between Mexico and the United States. The area eventually became part of New Mexico Territory in 1850, and later gained statehood in 1912. It was named after Matthew Quay, a prominent senator from Pennsylvania.

The railroad played a significant role in the development of Quay County. In the late 19th century, the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway constructed a line through the county, which brought new settlers and economic growth. Towns such as Tucumcari, the county seat, sprang up along the railroad, serving as vital transportation hubs.

During the mid-20th century, Quay County experienced its share of challenges. The decline of the railroad industry led to a decrease in population and economic activity. However, the county has made efforts to revitalize its economy in recent years, focusing on tourism and the preservation of its unique history.

Overall, Quay County's history is a tapestry of Native American culture, Spanish influence, western expansion, and the railroad era. While it has faced its share of difficulties, Quay County remains a vibrant community with a deep appreciation for its heritage.

This timeline provides a concise overview of the key events in the history of Quay County, New Mexico.

  • 1903: Quay County is established on February 28, 1903, and named after Pennsylvania senator Matthew S. Quay.
  • 1904: The county seat is designated as Tucumcari on March 31, 1904.
  • 1906: The Chicago, Rock Island, and Pacific Railroad reaches Tucumcari in November 1906, spurring growth and development.
  • 1926: The historic Route 66 is commissioned and passes through Tucumcari, bringing increased commerce and tourism to Quay County.
  • 1937: Construction of Ute Lake begins in 1937 as part of an irrigation project, completed in 1963. It becomes a popular recreational site.
  • 1942-1945: The beginning of World War II leads to heightened activity at Tucumcari Army Air Base, which served as a training facility during the war.
  • 1952: Tucumcari Municipal Airport is constructed to support the growing aviation needs of the region.
  • 1969: Conchas Lake State Park is established, offering outdoor activities such as boating, fishing, and camping.
  • 1978: The new Quay County Courthouse is completed, replacing the previous structure built in 1907.
  • 2006: The New Mexico Route 66 Museum opens in Tucumcari, highlighting the history and culture of the iconic highway.