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Alamogordo


Soon thereafter Eddy bought the spring from rancher Oliver M. Lee to furnish water for the RR town he and his brother, John Arthur Eddy, were planning nearby. The townsite itself was purchased and laid out in 1898.

In 1923, on the 25th anniversary of the town's founding, J. Arthur Eddy (as he signed his name) wrote about how he named the town: "It devolved upon me to name the stations on the road, and in doing so I sought to apply those of local characteristics or landmark. It would have been natural, therefore, to use the work alamo, but it was objectionable because of its being so common and so many alamos. In my cowboy days, one of my favorite camping places between Las Vegas and Seven Rivers was on a little stream running into the east side of the Pecos called 'Alamo Gordo.' I had learned its meaning to be a big or 'Rotund' cottonwood, and upon seeing such a tree or the relic of such a tree, at the mouth of Alamo Canon, the name came back impressively to me. And that is how Alamogordo got its name."

Alamogordo is the seat of Otero County, created in 1899, in part because of burgeoning RR development. Today, the role of the RR has receded, but Alamogordo has continued to grow because of scientific and military installations of the area, as well as tourism and ranching. And perhaps as a reminder of the city's namesake, large cottonwoods grow along Alamogordo's White Sands Boulevard.

Robert Julyan
Place Names of New Mexico
2nd ed., University of New Mexico Press, 1998

Latitude: 3253
Longitude: 10557