Gallup, New Mexico

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Gallup (Navajo: Naʼnízhoozhí) is a city that is in McKinley County, New Mexico, United States. The population was 20,209 at the 2000 census. It is the county seat of McKinley County.[1]

Gallup was founded in 1881 as a railhead for the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad. The City was named after David Gallup, a paymaster for the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad. It is the most populous city between Albuquerque, New Mexico and Flagstaff, Arizona.

Gallup is sometimes called the "Indian Capital of the World", for its location in the heart of Native American lands, and the presence of Navajo, Zuni, Hopi and other tribes. One-third of the city's population has Native American roots. Gallup's nickname references the huge impact of the Native American Cultures found in and around Gallup. However, the city is criticized in the novel Ceremony, authored by the Native American writer Leslie Silko, for the city's slums.

Route 66 runs through Gallup, and the town's name is mentioned in the lyrics to the song, Route 66. In 2003, the U.S. and New Mexico Departments of Transportation renumbered US Highway 666, the city's other major highway, as Route 491, since the number "666" is associated with Satan and Devil worship, and thus it was considered offensive to some people. Some local Navajo felt that the renumbering would prevent the route from being "cursed."[citation needed]

It has close proximity to Native American reservations, and historic lack of economic development in addition to many mine closures in the last century. As a result of these mine closures, Gallup has a large socioeconomic poor population.

The historic El Rancho Hotel & Motel has hosted a numerous array of movie stars including John Wayne, Ronald Reagan, Humphrey Bogart, Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, Joan Crawford, Kirk Douglas, Doris Day, Gregory Peck and Burt Lancaster. The rugged terrain surrounding Gallup was popular with Hollywood filmmakers during the 1940s and 1950s for the on-location shooting of Westerns. Actors and film crews would stay at the hotel during filming. Films made in Gallup included Billy the Kid (1930), Pursued (1947), The Sea of Grass (1947), Four Faces West (1948), Only the Valiant (1951), Ace in the Hole (1951), Escape from Fort Bravo (1953), A Distant Trumpet (1964) and The Hallelujah Trail (1965).

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