Socorro, New Mexico

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Socorro, New Mexico
Socorro aerial.jpg
Socorro aerial view
Socorro County New Mexico Incorporated and Unincorporated areas Socorro Highlighted.svg
Location of Socorro in Socorro County, New Mexico
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Socorro, New Mexico
Location in the United States
Coordinates: 34°3′42″N106°53′58″W / 34.06167°N 106.89944°W / 34.06167; -106.89944 Coordinates: 34°3′42″N106°53′58″W / 34.06167°N 106.89944°W / 34.06167; -106.89944
CountryUnited States
State New Mexico
County Socorro
Government
  MayorRavi Bhasker [1]
Area
  Total14.4 sq mi (37.4 km2)
  Land14.4 sq mi (37.3 km2)
  Water0.04 sq mi (0.1 km2)
Elevation
4,603 ft (1,403 m)
Population
  Total9,051
  Estimate 
(2016) [2]
8,612
  Density630/sq mi (240/km2)
Time zone UTC−7 (Mountain (MST))
  Summer (DST) UTC−6 (MDT)
ZIP code
87801
Area code(s) 575
FIPS code 35-73540
GNIS feature ID0938832
Website www.socorronm.gov

Socorro is a city in Socorro County in the U.S. state of New Mexico. It is in the Rio Grande Valley at an elevation of 4,579 feet (1,396 m). In 2012 the population was 8,906. It is the county seat of Socorro County. [3] Socorro is located 74 miles (119 km) south of Albuquerque and 146 miles (235 km) north of Las Cruces.

Socorro County, New Mexico county in New Mexico, United States

Socorro County is a county in the U.S. state of New Mexico. As of the 2010 census, the population was 17,866. The county seat is Socorro. The county was formed in 1852 as one of the original nine counties of New Mexico Territory. Socorro was originally the name given to a Native American village by Don Juan de Oñate in 1598. Having received vitally needed food and assistance from the native population, Oñate named the pueblo Socorro.

U.S. state constituent political entity sharing sovereignty as the United States of America

In the United States, a state is a constituent political entity, of which there are currently 50. Bound together in a political union, each state holds governmental jurisdiction over a separate and defined geographic territory and shares its sovereignty with the federal government. Due to this shared sovereignty, Americans are citizens both of the federal republic and of the state in which they reside. State citizenship and residency are flexible, and no government approval is required to move between states, except for persons restricted by certain types of court orders. Four states use the term commonwealth rather than state in their full official names.

New Mexico State of the United States of America

New Mexico is a state in the Southwestern region of the United States of America; its capital and cultural center is Santa Fe which was founded in 1610 as capital of Nuevo México, while its largest city is Albuquerque with its accompanying metropolitan area. It is one of the Mountain States and shares the Four Corners region with Utah, Colorado, and Arizona; its other neighboring states are Oklahoma to the northeast, Texas to the east-southeast, and the Mexican states of Chihuahua to the south and Sonora to the southwest. With a population around two million, New Mexico is the 36th state by population. With a total area of 121,590 sq mi (314,900 km2), it is the fifth-largest and sixth-least densely populated of the 50 states. Due to their geographic locations, northern and eastern New Mexico exhibit a colder, alpine climate, while western and southern New Mexico exhibit a warmer, arid climate.

Contents

History

Founding

In June 1598, Juan de Oñate led a group of Spanish settlers through the Jornada del Muerto, an inhospitable patch of desert that ends just south of the present-day city of Socorro. As the Spaniards emerged from the desert, Piro Indians of the pueblo of Teypana gave them food and water. Therefore, the Spaniards renamed this pueblo Socorro, which means "help" or "aid". Later, the name "Socorro" would be applied to the nearby Piro pueblo of Pilabó. [4]

Juan de Oñate Spanish Conquistador, explorer, and colonial governor

Juan de Oñate y Salazar was a conquistador from New Spain, explorer, and colonial governor of the province of Santa Fe de Nuevo México in the viceroyalty of New Spain. He led early Spanish expeditions to the Great Plains and Lower Colorado River Valley, encountering numerous indigenous tribes in their homelands there. Oñate founded settlements in the province, now in the Southwestern United States.

Jornada del Muerto

The name Jornada del Muerto is translated loosely from Spanish, historically referring to it as the "Journey of the Dead Man", though the modern literal translation is closer to "The Working Day of the Dead". As a geographic name, "Jornada del Muerto" is the desert region the Conquistadors had to cross to make it from Las Cruces to Socorro, New Mexico. As a name-place, "Jornada del Muerto" is a loose translations of "single day's journey of the dead man" hence "route of the dead man") in the U.S. state of New Mexico was the name given by the Spanish conquistadors to the Jornada del Muerto Desert basin, and the particularly dry 100-mile (160 km) stretch of a route through it.

Piro Pueblo : The Piros were a Native American Pueblo people that lived in a number of pueblos in the Rio Grande Valley around modern Socorro, New Mexico, USA. The now extinct Piro language was in the family of Tiwa languages. Whether voluntarily or not, some Piros were hospitable to the first Spanish colonists who arrived in 1598. As a result, the Spanish gave first one, then another, Piro pueblo the name Socorro, which means aid or help.

Nuestra Señora de Perpetuo Socorro, the first Catholic mission in the area, was probably established c. 1626. Fray Agustín de Vetancurt would later write that around 600 people lived in the area during this period. [5] Mines in the Socorro mountains were opened by 1626. [6]

Catholic Church Christian church led by the Bishop of Rome

The Catholic Church, also known as the Roman Catholic Church, is the largest Christian church, with approximately 1.3 billion baptised Catholics worldwide as of 2016. As the world's "oldest continuously functioning international institution", it has played a prominent role in the history and development of Western civilisation. The church is headed by the Bishop of Rome, known as the Pope. Its central administration, the Holy See, is in the Vatican City, an enclave within the city of Rome in Italy.

During the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, Spanish refugees stopped in the pueblo of Socorro. A number of Piro Indians followed the Spaniards as they left the province to go south to safety. With no protection of Spanish troops, Socorro was destroyed and the remaining Piro were killed by the Apache and other tribes. [7]

The Pueblo Revolt of 1680—also known as Popé's Rebellion—was an uprising of most of the indigenous Pueblo people against the Spanish colonizers in the province of Santa Fe de Nuevo México, present day New Mexico. The Pueblo Revolt killed 400 Spanish and drove the remaining 2,000 settlers out of the province.

The Apache are a group of culturally related Native American tribes in the Southwestern United States, which include the Chiricahua, Jicarilla, Lipan, Mescalero, Salinero, Plains and Western Apache. Distant cousins of the Apache are the Navajo, with which they share the Southern Athabaskan languages. There are Apache communities in Oklahoma, Texas, and reservations in Arizona and New Mexico. Apache people have moved throughout the United States and elsewhere, including urban centers. The Apache Nations are politically autonomous, speak several different languages and have distinct cultures.

The Spanish did not initially resettle Socorro when they re-conquered New Mexico. Other than El Paso, there were no Spanish settlements south of Sabinal (which is approximately 30 miles (48 km) north of Socorro) until the 1800s. [8] In 1800, governor Fernando Chacon gave the order to resettle Socorro and other villages in the area. However, Socorro was not resettled until about 1815. [9] In 1817, 70 Belen residents petitioned the crown for land in Socorro. [10] The 1833 Socorro census lists over 400 residents, with a total of 1,774 people living within the vicinity of the village. [11]

El Paso, Texas City in Texas, United States

El Paso is a city in El Paso County. It is also the seat of the county situated in the far western corner of the U.S. state of Texas. The 2017 population estimate for the city from the U.S. Census was 683,577. Its metropolitan statistical area (MSA) covers all of El Paso and Hudspeth counties in Texas, and has a population of 844,818.

Sabinal, Texas City in Texas, United States

Sabinal is a city in Uvalde County, Texas, United States. The population was 1,695 at the 2010 census.

Belen, New Mexico City in New Mexico, United States

Belen is the second most populous city in Valencia County, New Mexico, United States, after its county seat, Los Lunas. The population was 7,152 in 2015 census data.

The mission of San Miguel de Socorro was established soon after Socorro was resettled. The church was built on the ruins of the old Nuestra Señora de Socorro. [12]

San Miguel de Socorro

San Miguel de Socorro is the Catholic church in Socorro, New Mexico, built on the ruins of the old Nuestra Señora de Socorro mission. The old mission was built around 1626, but was destroyed in 1680 during the Pueblo Revolt. A portion of the adobe wall of the old church remains today and still can be seen behind glass just left of the altar. The building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 2016.

Territorial period

Public school in Socorro (1898) Annual Report of the Secretary of the Interior for the year ended June 30, 1897 (1898) (14779554781).jpg
Public school in Socorro (1898)

In August 1846, during the Mexican–American War, New Mexico was occupied by the American Army. In Las Vegas, New Mexico, Colonel Stephen W. Kearny proclaimed New Mexico's independence from Mexico. On their way to begin their assault on Mexico, American troops stopped in Socorro. A British officer, Lt. George Ruxton, commented that these soldiers were "unwashed and unshaven, were ragged and dirty, without uniforms..." and were lacking in discipline. [13]

In September 1850, New Mexico became a territory of the United States. At the time, New Mexico encompassed what is now the states of New Mexico and Arizona. In 1850, the population of Socorro was only 543 people. This included 100 American soldiers who were soon moved to Valverde. [14]

The first military post built near Socorro was Fort Conrad, 30 miles (48 km) south of the town. Built in August 1851, the fort was badly constructed and was abandoned for Fort Craig, located a few miles away. Fort Craig was first occupied on March 31, 1854. [15] [16]

The New Mexico School of Mines (now the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology) was founded in Socorro in 1889.

On April 24, 1964, Lonnie Zamora, a local policeman, claimed to have observed a flying saucer and two little beings. Zamora's claim is known as the Lonnie Zamora incident.

Geography and geology

"M" Mountain, west of Socorro MMountain.jpg
"M" Mountain, west of Socorro

Socorro is located 75 miles (121 km) south of Albuquerque, at an average elevation of 4,605 feet (1,404 m). The town lies adjacent to the Rio Grande in a landscape dominated by the Rio Grande rift and numerous extinct volcanoes. The immediate region encompasses approximately 6,000 feet (1,800 m) of vertical relief between the Rio Grande and the Magdalena Mountains. Notable nearby locales include the Cibola National Forest, the Bureau of Land Management Quebradas Scenic Backcountry Byway, and the Bosque del Apache and Sevilleta National Wildlife Refuges. According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 14.4 square miles (37 km2), of which 0.04 square miles (0.10 km2), or 0.21%, is water.

Climate

Socorro has a typical New Mexico cool semi-arid climate with hot summers – which divide naturally into a dry early summer from April to June and a relatively humid “monsoon” season from July to September – and mild, dry winters with very cold nights. Winters are dry even compared to the rest of New Mexico due to shielding from adjacent mountains, and monthly precipitation totals from November to June have only once exceeded 4 inches or 101.6 millimetres (in May 1937). The wettest month on record has been July 1915 with 5.65 inches (143.5 mm), the wettest calendar year 1907 with 17.83 inches (452.9 mm), and the wettest day September 29 of 1904 with 3.61 inches or 91.7 millimetres The driest calendar year has been 1956 with 3.03 inches (77.0 mm).

Temperatures in Socorro are consistently hot from May to September, with 83 days topping or reaching 90 °F or 32.2 °C and nine reaching or topping 100 °F or 37.8 °C. The hottest temperature on record has been 109 °F (42.8 °C) on 26 June 1994 during a record heatwave throughout the region. Large diurnal temperature ranges make summer less unpleasant: only eight nights stay above 68 °F or 20 °C and fewer than ten nights on record have stayed above 77 °F or 25 °C. On average 121 nights fall below freezing, but nights falling to or below 0 °F or −17.8 °C are rare and not one has occurred since February of 2011 when the temperature plummeted to −14 °F (−26 °C). Winter maxima are pleasant: on average only two afternoons per winter will fail to top freezing, and only 29 days do not reach at least 50 °F or 10 °C, with the most days staying below freezing being seven in the record cold January 1949. Snowfall is consequently rare: many seasons have no snow and the mean is only 5.7 inches or 0.14 metres, with the most in one month being 23.0 inches (0.58 m) in December 1960.

Climate data for Socorro, New Mexico (1981–2010)
MonthJanFebMarAprMayJunJulAugSepOctNovDecYear
Record high °F (°C)76
(24)
82
(28)
91
(33)
95
(35)
102
(39)
109
(43)
108
(42)
106
(41)
102
(39)
95
(35)
86
(30)
81
(27)
109
(43)
Average high °F (°C)52.3
(11.3)
58.9
(14.9)
66.9
(19.4)
74.9
(23.8)
83.3
(28.5)
90.8
(32.7)
91.7
(33.2)
89.1
(31.7)
83.6
(28.7)
73.2
(22.9)
61.1
(16.2)
50.9
(10.5)
73.1
(22.8)
Average low °F (°C)21.9
(−5.6)
26.1
(−3.3)
31.7
(−0.2)
38.7
(3.7)
47.4
(8.6)
54.6
(12.6)
60.7
(15.9)
59.4
(15.2)
51.2
(10.7)
39.7
(4.3)
28.9
(−1.7)
22.0
(−5.6)
40.2
(4.6)
Record low °F (°C)−12
(−24)
−2
(−19)
5
(−15)
15
(−9)
23
(−5)
35
(2)
42
(6)
37
(3)
27
(−3)
14
(−10)
−13
(−25)
−16
(−27)
−16
(−27)
Average precipitation inches (mm)0.49
(12)
0.30
(8)
0.50
(13)
0.41
(10)
0.58
(15)
0.60
(15)
1.62
(41)
2.03
(52)
1.55
(39)
1.09
(28)
0.54
(14)
0.55
(14)
10.26
(261)
Average snowfall inches (cm)0.3
(1)
0.8
(2)
0.4
(1)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.0
(0)
0.3
(1)
0.4
(1)
3.5
(9)
5.7
(15)
Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 in)2.92.42.82.33.23.28.39.37.14.22.93.351.9
Source: NOAA [17]

Demographics

Historical population
CensusPop.
1880 1,272
1890 2,29580.4%
1900 1,512−34.1%
1910 1,5603.2%
1920 1,256−19.5%
1930 2,05863.9%
1940 3,71280.4%
1950 4,33416.8%
1960 5,27121.6%
1970 5,84911.0%
1980 7,17322.6%
1990 8,15913.7%
2000 8,8778.8%
2010 9,0512.0%
Est. 20168,612 [2] −4.9%
U.S. Decennial Census [18]

As of the census [19] of 2000, there were 8,877 people, 3,415 households, and 2,151 families residing in the city. The population density was 615.8 people per square mile (237.9/km²). There were 3,940 housing units at an average density of 273.3 per square mile (105.6/km²). The racial makeup of the city was 66.16% White, 0.74% African American, 2.77% Native American, 2.24% Asian, 0.06% Pacific Islander, 23.24% from other races, and 4.79% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 54.50% of the population. There were 3,415 households out of which 31.2% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 43.5% were married couples living together, 14.4% had a female householder with no husband present, and 37.0% were non-families. 29.3% of all households were made up of individuals and 8.3% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.44 and the average family size was 3.02. In the City of Socorro 25.4% of the total population was under the age of 18, 16.9% from 18 to 24, 25.7% from 25 to 44, 20.4% from 45 to 64, and 11.6% were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 31 years. For every 100 females, there were 106.6 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $22,530, and the median income for a family was $33,013. Males had a median income of $31,517 versus $23,071 for females. The per capita income for the city was $13,250. About 24.1% of families and 32.3% of the population were below the poverty line, including 44.4% of those under age 18 and 23.6% of those age 65 or over.

The languages spoken at home were 62.41% English, 35.64% Spanish, 0.90% Chinese, 0.76% German, and 0.36% Navajo. [20]

Economy

Major employers in Socorro include the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology (NM Tech), the Bureau of Land Management, Socorro General Hospital, the National Radio Astronomy Observatory, municipal and county governments, Socorro Consolidated Schools. A large number of small businesses are represented by the Socorro County Chamber of Commerce.

Tourism

Golf

The Elfego Baca Golf Shoot is named after a former mayor of Socorro who survived a gun battle near what is now Reserve, New Mexico, involving over 4,000 bullets that were fired over the course of 36 hours. The golf shoot begins by teeing off from Socorro Peak, also known as M Mountain, at an altitude of 7,243 feet (2,208 m), golfers proceed down the side of the mountain some 2,550 vertical feet to the one hole almost three miles (5 km) away. Surviving rattlesnakes, gnats, cacti, treacherous terrain and the New Mexican sun and heat, golfers have a chance at winning the title to what is considered one of the two most difficult golf courses in the world.[ citation needed ]

Points of interest

Education

Socorro Consolidated School District has approx. 2,000 students and 285 staff. [21] Socorro has one public high school, Socorro High School.

The town is the location of the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology, which is a state-funded research- and teaching-oriented university. New Mexico Tech has approximately 1,500 undergraduate students, 500 graduate students, and 150 academic staff.

Currently, the Summer Science Program in Astrophysics is hosted at New Mexico Tech.

Infrastructure

Airport

The Socorro airport located on the southern edge of the city received scheduled airline service by Continental Airlines in the early 1950s. A Douglas DC-3 aircraft provided a daily northbound flight to Albuquerque that went on to Denver after several stops and a southbound flight to El Paso with stops at Truth or Consequences and Las Cruces. Zia Airlines, a small commuter airline, also made on-demand flag stops at the Socorro airport on their flights between Albuquerque and Las Cruces in the mid 1970s. [22] The airport remains in use as a general aviation facility with several based aircraft.

Socorro was among the locations in the movie Alice Doesn't Live Here Anymore (1974), though in a somewhat derogatory sense, as Ellen Burstyn's character decides to leave the town for a new beginning elsewhere. The aftermath scene of Burstyn's character's husband's fatal traffic accident at the beginning of the film, although implied as being in Socorro, was actually filmed in Tucson.

The Roger Corman movie Gas-s-s-s (1971) was filmed in and around Socorro, including a scene using the New Mexico Tech golf carts.

Actress Jodie Foster stayed in Socorro while filming the movie Contact (1997) at the Very Large Array fifty miles west of the city. Based on the map that was faxed to Jodie Foster's character (Dr. Eleanor Arroway) in the film, the Socorro airport was also the location of meeting between Dr. Arroway and S.R. Hadden.

Notable people

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Teypana was the first pueblo to be called Socorro. This Piro pueblo was located close to present-day Socorro, New Mexico. A reference from 1598 suggests Teypana was on the west bank of the Rio Grande, downriver from the pueblo of Pilabó. Found in a partly flawed list of Piro pueblos, the reference is somewhat problematic. In 1598, Juan de Oñate and an advance party of his colonists were given food and water by the people of Teypana. In response, they named the settlement “Socorro”, which means “help” or “aid” in Spanish. By 1626, the name had become associated with the Piro pueblo of Pilabó, site of the first permanent mission in Piro territory, now buried under the town of Socorro, NM.

Pilabó was a former Piro pueblo located on the site of the present city of Socorro, New Mexico. In 1598 Spanish explorers emerging from an inhospitable desert were given food and water by the people of the Teypana pueblo. The Spaniards renamed that pueblo “Socorro” which means “help” or “aid” in Spanish. Eventually Pilabó itself would take on the name "Socorro" in lieu of Teypana.

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La Joya, New Mexico Census-designated place in New Mexico, United States

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References

  1. "Socorro, New Mexico". City of Socorro. Retrieved 2009-12-04.
  2. 1 2 "Population and Housing Unit Estimates" . Retrieved June 9, 2017.
  3. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved 2011-06-07.
  4. Marshal, Michael P. & Walt, Henry J., “Rio Abajo: Prehistory and History of a Rio Grande Province” (Santa Fe: New Mexico Historical Preservation Program, 1984), p 248
  5. Marshal & Walt, "Rio Abajo", p 248.
  6. Zarate Salmeron, Geronimo de (1966) Relaciones: an account of things seen and learned by Father Jeronimo de Zarati Salmeron from the year 1538 to year 1626 (translated by Alicia Ronstadt Milich) Horn & Wallace, Albuquerque, New Mexico, Section XXXIV (page 56), OCLC   221277018
  7. Marshal & Walt, "Rio Abajo", pp. 248–249 .
  8. Marshal & Walt, "Rio Abajo", p 280.
  9. Marshal & Walt, "Rio Abajo", p 285.
  10. Ramirez Alief, Teresa, et al., eds. "New Mexico Census of 1833 and 1845: Socorro and Surrounding Communities of the Rio Abajo." (Albuquerque: New Mexico Genealogical Society, Inc., 1994.) p.xiii.
  11. Ramirez Alief, Teresa, et al., "New Mexico Census: Socorro" pp. 2–10; 32
  12. Marshal & Walt, "Rio Abajo", p 249.
  13. Ashcroft, Bruce (1988). The Territorial History of Socorro, New Mexico. El Paso: University of Texas at El Paso. pp. 4–5. ISBN   0874041694.
  14. Ashcroft, "The Territorial History of Socorro", p. 6
  15. Marshal and Walt, "Rio Abajo", p. 273
  16. After the 1862 Battle of Valverde two Texas fatalities from the battle were buried in Socorro, New Mexico see Houston Genealogy listing 16 Texas fatalities from the Battle of Valverle. Likewise in a small skirmish at Socorro, a small party of four men under a Lt. Simmons CSA was suprized under Captain James "Paddy" Graydon and his spy company; one Confederate was killed [Battles and Leaders of the Civil war Vol .II .p.106 footnote].
  17. "NOWData - NOAA Online Weather Data". National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration . Retrieved November 8, 2015.
  18. "Census of Population and Housing". Census.gov. Retrieved June 4, 2015.
  19. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau . Retrieved 2008-01-31.
  20. MLA Data Center, retrieved 10-21-07
  21. "Welcome to the SCS Website". Socorro Consolidated Schools. Retrieved 15 October 2014.
  22. Continental Airlines and Zia Airlines timetables