Elephant Butte Inn and Spa

Truth or Consequences

The big holiday weekend is over and it is time to get back to the history of our area:

Truth or Consequences, population of about 6,475, is located on Interstate Highway 25 in the Rio Grande Valley some 150 miles south of Albuquerque and 75 miles north of Las Cruces.  Originally, the location was called Palomas Springs or Las Palomas after the  palomas (doves) which frequented the cottonwood trees along the river.  In 1914, the name marked by the local post office was changed to Hot Springs. (A village a few miles south is still called Las Palomas.)

Truth or Consequences -- "T or C" to most New Mexicans--lies just downstream from Elephant Butte Dam and the lake which makes the region an attraction to snowbirds, tourists and recreation seekers.  It is bracketed by the Fra Cristobal and Caballo ranges on the east and the Black Range on the west.  As county seat, T or C serves agricultural and ranching interests.

Before EuroAmerican settlers gave names to the location where T or C now stands, Native Americans bathed in the hot springs.  Evidence of their presence can be seen near Ralph Edwards Park in rock outcrops which bear deep mortars once used by Indian women for grinding seeds into flour.  Apaches were said to have used the springs for the curative powers.  T or C's Geronimo Springs Museum honors T or C's prehistoric past.

The first Spanish colonist in the area, Juan de Onate, passed through here in 1598.  Spanish-speaking people began to settle there by the middle of the 1800s.  After the Civil War, the U.S. government established forts and maintained troops in the region, trying to make it safe for miners, ranchers and farmers flooding into New Mexico Territory and facing frequent Apache raids.  The army forced several bands in the region, including the Warm Springs Apaches, onto reservations.

One of the most colorful characters was Lozen, (pictured below), an Apache woman said to have ridden as a warrior with her brother, Victorio, and later, with Geronimo himself.  According to accounts, she fell in love with a Confederate deserter who had been sheltered by the Apaches.  When a wagon train came along headed for California's gold fields, he left, breaking Lozen's heart..  She never married, devoting herself instead to using her unusual powers to sense danger and heal her people.

Our thanks to  "Sierra County" official 2012-2013 Visitors Guide for this information.

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