Santa Rosa, New Mexico

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Santa Rosa is a city in and the county seat of Guadalupe County, New Mexico, United States.[1] The population was 2,744 at the 2000 census. It lies between Albuquerque and Tucumcari, situated on the Pecos River at the intersection of Interstate 40, U.S. Route 54, and U.S. Route 84. The city is located west of, but not within, the Llano Estacado or "staked plains" of eastern New Mexico and west Texas.



The first European settlement in the area was Aqua Negra Chiquita, "Little Black Water" in Spanish, in 1865. The name was changed in 1890 to Santa Rosa (Spanish for "Holy Rose") referring to a chapel that Don Celso Baca (the founder of the city) built and named after both his mother Rosa and Saint Rose of Lima. The "Rosa" may also refer to the roses in the story of Our Lady of Guadalupe and is indicative of the Catholicism of the Spanish colonizers who settled in the area.

Santa Rosa was connected by railroad to Chicago, El Paso, and the world at large in the early 1900s.

Santa Rosa's stretch of U.S. Route 66 is part of film history. When John Steinbeck's epic novel, The Grapes of Wrath, was made into a movie, director John Ford used Santa Rosa for the memorable train scene. Tom Joad (Henry Fonda) watches a freight train steam over the Pecos River railroad bridge, into the sunset.


Santa Rosa has many natural lakes, an anomaly in the dry Desert climate surrounding it. These are sinkholes that form in the limestone bedrock of the area and fill with water, and thus the lakes are connected by a network of underground, water-filled tunnels. The most famous of these is Blue Hole, a popular spot for diving, where cool 61°F (16°C) water forms a lake over 81 ft (25 m) deep.

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