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Tierra Amarilla

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Tierra Amarilla is a small unincorporated town near the Carson National Forest in the northern part of the U.S. state of New Mexico. It is the county seat of Rio Arriba County.

There is evidence of 5000 years of habitation in the Chama River Valley including pueblo sites south of Abiquiu. The area served as a trade route for peoples in the present-day Four Corners region and the Rio Grande Valley. Navajos later used the valley as a staging area for raids on Spanish settlements along the Rio Grande. Written accounts of the Tierra Amarilla locality by pathfinding Spanish friars in 1776 described it as suitable for pastoral and agricultural use. The route taken by the friars from Santa Fe to California became the Spanish Trail. During the Californian Gold Rush the area became a staging point for westward fortune seekers
In 1866 the United States Army established Camp Plummer just south of Los Ojos (established in 1860) to rein in already decreased Native American activity on the grant. The military encampment was deserted in 1869. Las Nutrias, the site of the contemporary community, was founded nearby c.1862. The first post office in Las Nutrias was established in 1866 and bore the name Tierra Amarilla, as did the present one which was established in 1870 after an approximately two-year absence. In 1877 a U.S. Army lieutenant described the village as "the center of the Mexican population of northwestern New Mexico". The territorial legislature located Rio Arriba's county seat in Las Nutrias and renamed the village in 1880.The Denver and Rio Grande Railway's 1881 arrival at Chama, about ten miles to the north, had profound effects on the development of the region by bringing the area out of economic and cultural isolation.

When Tierra Amarilla was designated as the county seat the villagers set about building a courthouse.[4] This structure was demolished to make way for the present one, which was built in 1917 and gained notoriety fifty years later when it was the location of a gunfight between land rights activists and authorities. The neoclassical design by Isaac Rapp is now on the National Register of Historic Places.[8]


Need Help Designing Your Sign? Check out these Companies for Help...

A C Print & Design LLC 715 N Main Blvd Tierra Amarilla, NM  (575) 446-3988

Rob Roberts Productions 104 Central Ave Tierra Amarilla, NM  (575) 585-4755