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Clovis is a city in and the county seat of Curry Countymarker, New Mexicomarker, United Statesmarker. Its population was 37,213 as of the 2009 census.

Clovis is located in the Llano Estacadomarker and eastern New Mexico regions. The largely agricultural town is also noted for its role in early rock music history. Nearby Cannon Air Force Basemarker has a significant impact on the community.

It is the principal city of the Clovis Micropolitan Statistical Area, which is part of the larger Clovis-Portales Combined Statistical Area.


Clovis is located at (34.412509, -103.204611). It lies at approximately 4281 feet above sea level (1304 m)

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 22.5 square miles (58.2 km²), of which, 22.4 square miles (58.0 km²) of it is land and 0.1 square miles (0.3 km²) of it (0.44%) is water.This water area is primarily artificial ponds in Clovis' several public parks.

Portales, located 17 miles south, is home to Eastern New Mexico University and a variety of local restaurants, furniture stores, and specialty shops. Medical care in Clovis is provided by the Plains Regional Medical Center and in Portales by Roosevelt General Hospital.


The eastern New Mexico region was home to the Clovis culture, an anthropologically significant early group of Native Americans. Historical remains were found at the Blackwater Drawmarker site (south of the Clovis, near Portales, NM) which remains a historical and tourist site.

The town takes its name from Clovis, the first Christian king of the Franks, at least according to most reports; it is often reported that this is because the daughter of the settlement's railroad stationmaster was studying French at the time of the town's naming and proposed the appellation.

Before receiving the name Clovis the community was known as Riley's Switch.


As of the census of 2000, there were 32,667 people, 12,458 households, and 8,596 families residing in the city. The population density was 1,458.9 people per square mile (563.3/km²). There were 14,269 housing units at an average density of 637.3/sq mi (246.1/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 71.3% White, 7.32% African American, 1.02% Native American, 1.62% Asian, 0.13% Pacific Islander, 14.98% from other races, and 3.63% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino were 33.44% of the population.

There were 12,458 households out of which 36.3% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 49.8% were married couples living together, 14.9% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.0% were non-families. 26.8% of all households were made up of individuals and 10.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.57 and the average family size was 3.12.

In the city the population was 30.0% under the age of 18, 9.4% from 18 to 24, 28.1% from 25 to 44, 19.5% from 45 to 64, and 13.0% who were ages 65 or older. The median age was 33 years. For every 100 females there were 92.5 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 88.1 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $28,878, and the median income for a family was $33,622. Males had a median income of $26,586 versus $20,375 for females. The per capita income for the city was $15,561. About 17.2% of families and 21.0% of the population were below the poverty line, including 28.2% of those under age 18 and 14.6% of those age 65 or over.


On March 23, 2007, an EF3 tornado damaged or destroyed significant parts of the city, killing two people. The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) is assisting the State of New Mexico with disaster aid to the affected areas.

On August 24, 2008, eight prisoners escaped from the Clovis Jail by climbing through plumbing pipes. The escape was highlighted on the television show America's Most Wanted.

Clovis celebrated its Centennial during 2009.

Economics and industry

Like most of east-central New Mexico and west Texas, the vicinity hosts agriculture and ranching, including peanut and cotton farming and cattle ranching, for meat and dairy production. Several processing plants exist for these products. In 2004, construction began on the Southwest Cheese Company plant geographically located between Clovis and Portales, which commenced operations in late 2005 providing a substantial boost to the local economy employing over 200 personnel. It is one of the largest plants of its type in the world, processing in excess of 2.3 billion pounds of milk yearly, provided by the numerous local dairies.

A high proportion of local residents are employed in the services sector. Dillards and Wal-Martmarker have a large impact among retail consumption in the community, though smaller stores including regional and national supermarket chains do exist. Railroad transport formerly contributed to economic growth in the early years of the towns development and like many small towns still maintains an important role in the economy. In the finance sector, large national and regional institutions such as Bank of America and Wells Fargo are present and manage a large portion of the financial needs of local businesses and individuals. The Curry County Chamber of Commerce hosts many events annually that seek to contribute to local economic growth, while the Clovis Industrial Development Corporation works toward the successful union of development and industrial expansion. Cannon Air Force Base and a small Army National Guard unit exist in Clovis. Clovis has recently had an economic boom with many new stores and restaurants as well as new hotels opening in the northern and mid-town areas of the city due to new industry being present and the idea of expansion of the Cannon Air Force Base. This has caused the population to increase to an estimated 42,314 people.

Clovis is adjacent to Cannon Air Force Basemarker, a special operations base. This military installation has a large impact on the community and typically receives a great deal of support from local civic and business leaders. Clovis hosts a local organization, the Committee of Fifty, whose stated purpose is to express support for Cannon AFB. The nearby community of Portales also has a similar organization, the Military Affairs Committee.

The corporate headquarters of Allsup's convenience stores is located in Clovis.

BRAC 2005

The recent round of Defense Department BRAC investigations prompted a large campaign among Clovis and neighboring communities called "Save Cannon" or "Operation Keep Cannon." The City of Clovis government and other governmental and non-governmental organization rallied behind this cause, including hiring professional consultant and hosting a visit of the BRAC committee members. The BRAC committee proposed on August 26, 2005 not to close the installation, but instead to decrease its quantity of military assets.

In June 2006 the DoD gave Cannon a new mission, as a center for Special Operations training to all branches of the military. Residents were elated by the news and for weeks "Mission Accomplished" signs were seen throughout the city. Air Force Special Operations Command took control over the base and initiated the 27th Special Operations Wing (27 SOW) on October 1, 2007. Formerly, Cannon was an Air Combat Command base featuring the F-16 fighter aircraft, and was named the 27th Fighter Wing)

Health care

Plains Regional Medical Center is the primary hospital serving Clovis. It is part of the Presbyterian Hospital system based in Albuquerque, New Mexicomarker. There are numerous private physician practices, as well as nursing homes, home health care firms, and other medical practitioners, including at least one traditional Hispanic healer (consejero de salud).


Southwest, Spanish Mission, or Adobe architectural styles are prevalent, being considered representative of New Mexico. Much of Clovis architecture is indistinguishable from the group of styles prevalent throughout the United States' small cities and suburbs since the 1930s.

The Hotel Clovis, a local landmark, opened on October 20, 1931. At the time of its construction it was the tallest building between Albuquerque, NMmarker and Dallas, TXmarker. The hotel was designed by architect Robert Merrill, combining an Art Deco exterior with Southwestern Indian interior. The elegant ballroom hosted such names as Louis Armstrong, Glenn Miller, Tommy Dorsey, and Hank Williams. The nearby train depot supplied the hotel with most of its business. Hotel Clovis closed its doors shortly after the Santa Fe Railroad discontinued passenger train service to Clovis. The building is currently unused and frequently vandalized. Several plans for restoration have surfaced but for now the building remains merely a part of Clovis' past.

Clovis is also home to the aesthetically significant, Art Deco-style Lyceum auditorium and the State Theater. The Lyceum auditorium has been restored and often hosts plays and shows.

Climate and landscape

Flooding caused by a thunderstorm, downtown Clovis (1980)
The climate is relatively temperate with low humidity. Summers are warm with few extremes of heat and winters are cool with few extremes of cold. Severe thunderstorms are frequent in the spring. Rainstorms are prevalent in the summer, typically in the evening. A few snowfalls occur each winter.Landscape of the town and surrounding area is stereotypically flat, though to the south, near Portales, undulating hills are found. Most open land is grassland, much of which has been converted into grazing land. Much land is also farmed, with a high degree of irrigation use.


Private schools

Public education

Clovis is served by several public schools making up the Clovis Municipal Schools:
  • Elementary schools
    • Arts Academy at Bella Vista
    • Barry Elem.
    • Cameo Elem.
    • Highland Elem.
    • James Bickley Elem.
    • La Casita Elem.
    • Lockwood Elem.
    • Los Ninos Pre-School
    • Mesa Elem.
    • Parkview Elem.
    • Ranchvale Elem.
    • Sandia Elem.
    • Zia Elem.
  • 2 Middle schools
    • Marshall Middle School and Yucca Middle School
  • 1 Junior High
    • Clovis High School Freshman Campus
  • 1 High school
    • Clovis High School

Post-secondary education

For post-secondary education, there is one community college, Clovis Community College (CCC). Eastern New Mexico University in nearby Portalesmarker, New Mexicomarker, is the nearest four-year college/university.Many local high school graduates attend the University of New Mexicomarker in Albuquerquemarker, Texas Tech Universitymarker in Lubbock, Texasmarker (90 miles away), or New Mexico State Universitymarker in Las Crucesmarker.

  • Clovis formerly had a Catholic K-8 school as part of Sacred Heart Parish


The Arts

Performances, including music, drama, and other content, take place at Clovis Community College and nearby Eastern New Mexico University in Portales. Some Performances are also held at the Lyceum auditorium. The Clovis Music Festival is a high-profile event held annually at the beginning of September. The Festival has featured many artists who recorded at the Norman Petty Studios and generally 50s Rock'n'Roll or Country acts. The Clovis Civic Center has hosted this and some other entertainment events. A Special events center has been built adjacent to the county fairgrounds. The Special events center will hold events such as rodeos, auctions, and concerts.

Popular Music

Norman Petty Recording Studios in Clovis, New Mexico
The town achieved some fame in the 1950s as it is home to the Norman Petty Recording Studio, founded by early pop musician Norman Petty, at which rock pioneers Buddy Holly & The Crickets and other prominent early pop music artists recorded. In fact, The Crickets trademark #1 song, "That'll Be The Day" was recorded in Clovis.

Since the 1990s the town has played a large role in hosting performances by national artists such as Machine Head, Hemlock, Legion, White Zombie, Leann Rimes, Kiss Army, Minus the Bear, Murder by Death, Moments in Grace, and Between the Buried and Me, as well as many other acts from such cities as Seattle, WAmarker, Los Angeles, CAmarker, New York City, NYmarker, and Gainesville, FLmarker. These events have been held in the Clovis/Portales area since the early 1990s but have become more consistent in recent years. Organizers and Promoters of these events have often been the local youth (ages 24 and under) who make up 39.4% of the community and are the largest segment in the population.


Locally tunable stations have wide variety of content relatively typical of most of the United States, including music and talk broadcasting. Due to religious demographics of the area, Contemporary Christian music, as well as preaching (typically Protestant Christian) and other religious-themed broadcasts are common on local radio. Several Spanish-language stations are tunable, broadcasting largely Mexican music and a proportion of Christian-themed content, mostly music.

Notable natives


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