Tierra Amarilla, New Mexico
Rio Arriba County Courthouse, Isaac Rapp, 1916-17
|Elevation||7,529 ft (2,295 m)|
|Time zone||UTC−7 (MST)|
|• Summer (DST)||UTC−6 (MDT)|
|GNIS feature ID||0923704|
Tierra Amarilla is a small unincorporated community 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.
Tierra Amarilla is Spanish for "Yellow Earth". The name refers to clay deposits found in the Chama River Valley and used by Native American peoples. 352–353 Tewa and Navajo toponyms for the area also refer to the yellow clay. :352–353:
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.
The Tierra Amarilla Grant was created in 1832 by the Mexican government for Manuel Martinez and settlers from Abiquiu. 352–353 The land grant encompassed a more general area than the contemporary community known as Tierra Amarilla. :352–353 The grant holders were unable to maintain a permanent settlement due to "raids by Utes, Navajos and Jicarilla Apaches" until early in the 1860s. In 1860 the United States Congress confirmed the land grant as a private grant, rather than a community grant, due to mistranslated and concealed documents. Although a land patent for the grant required the completion of a geographical survey before issuance, some of Manuel Martinez' heirs began to sell the land to Anglo speculators. In 1880 Thomas Catron sold some of the grant to the Denver and Rio Grande Railway for the construction of their San Juan line and a service center at Chama. By 1883 Catron had consolidated the deeds he held for the whole of the grant sans the original villages and their associated fields. In 1950, the descendants of the original grant holders' court petitions to reclaim communal land were rebuked.:
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. 57, 210, 352–353 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. :352–353 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. :352–353 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.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.
The Alianza Federal de Mercedes, led by Reies Tijerina, raided the Rio Arriba County Courthouse in 1967. Attempting to make a citizen's arrest of the district attorney "to bring attention to the unscrupulous means by which government and Anglo settlers had usurped Hispanic land grant properties," an armed struggle in the courthouse ensued resulting in Tijerina and his group fleeing to the south with two prisoners as hostages. Eulogio Salazar, a prison guard, was shot and Daniel Rivera, a sheriff's deputy, was badly injured. The National Guard, FBI and New Mexico State Police successfully pursued Tijerina, who was sentenced to less than three years.
The Brazos Cliffs are a prominent nearby landmark and attraction. Also nearby are the artificial Heron Lake and El Vado Lake. Tierra Amarillas' Elevation is 7,524 feet above sea level.
The settlement is situated in a cluster of villages along U.S. Route 84 and the Chama River.The layout of the villages, including the one that became Tierra Amarilla, do not follow the urban planning principles of the Laws of the Indies.
Tierra Amarilla has a humid continental climate (Köppen Dfb) with very cold, snowy, though generally sunny winters, and summers featuring very warm to hot afternoons and cold to cool mornings. During the winter, mornings are frigid, with as many as 26.7 falling to or below 0 °F or −17.8 °C, although maxima top freezing on all but nineteen afternoons during an average winter. The coldest temperature has been −39 °F (−39.4 °C) on January 6, 1971. Snowfall is much heavier than in more populated parts of New Mexico as Tierra Amarilla is located on a western slope rather than in a valley: the annual average is 62.2 inches or 1.58 metres with a maximum of 55.9 inches (1.42 m) in January 1997 and a maximum annual total of 125.5 inches (3.19 m) between July 1996 and June 1997. The maximum snow depth has been 44 inches or 1.12 metres on 30 November 1983.
The spring season sees the sunniest weather of all and steadily warming temperatures, although over the year as a whole 224.9 mornings fall to or below freezing, with four freezes to be expected as late as June. The summer, although seeing diurnal temperature ranges of over 34 °F or 18.9 °C, is the wettest period due to frequent monsoonal thunderstorms. The wettest months have been September 1927 and August 1967 which each saw 5.96 inches (151.4 mm) of precipitation, the wettest calendar year 1986 with 24.85 inches (631.2 mm), and the driest 1956 with 8.63 inches (219.2 mm).
|Climate data for Tierra Amarilla, New Mexico (1927 to 2012)|
|Record high °F (°C)||60|
|Average high °F (°C)||38.9|
|Average low °F (°C)||5.2|
|Record low °F (°C)||−39|
|Average precipitation inches (mm)||1.26|
|Average snowfall inches (cm)||15.1|
|Average precipitation days (≥ 0.01 inch)||6||6||6||6||5||5||10||11||7||5||5||6||77|
|Source: Western Regional Climate Center|
Tierra Amarilla has the ZIP code of 87575. The ZIP Code Tabulation Area for ZIP Code 87575 had a population of 750 at the 2000 census.
Rio Arriba County is a county in the U.S. state of New Mexico. As of the 2010 census, the population was 40,246. Its county seat is Tierra Amarilla. Its northern border is the Colorado state line.
Grants is a city in Cibola County, New Mexico, United States. It is located about 78 miles (126 km) west of Albuquerque. The population was 9,182 at the 2010 Census. It is the county seat of Cibola County.
Alianza Federal de Mercedes, which in English translates to Federal Land Grant Alliance, was a group led by Reies Tijerina based in New Mexico in the 1960s that fought for the land rights of Hispano New Mexicans.
Reies Lopez Tijerina, was an activist who led a struggle in the 1960s and 1970s to restore New Mexican land grants to the descendants of their Spanish colonial and Mexican owners.2 As a vocal spokesman for the rights of Hispanos and Mexican Americans, he became a major figure of the early Chicano Movement and founded the Alianza Federal de Mercedes. As an activist, he worked in community education and organization, media relations, and land reclamations. He became famous and infamous internationally for his 1967 armed raid on the Tierra Amarilla courthouse.
The Rio Chama, a major tributary river of the Rio Grande, is located in the U.S. states of Colorado and New Mexico. The river is about 130 miles (210 km) long altogether. From its source to El Vado Dam its length is about 50 miles (80 km), from El Vado Dam to Abiquiu Dam is about 51 miles (82 km), and from Abiquiu Dam to its confluence with the Rio Grande is about 34 miles (55 km).
Abiquiu Lake is a reservoir located in Rio Arriba County, in northern New Mexico in the southwestern United States. Water of the Rio Chama is impounded by the earth-filled Abiquiu Dam, 1,800 feet long and 340 feet high, completed in 1963 and raised in 1986. The 5,200-acre (21 km2) lake is over 12 miles (20 km) long, and lies at elevations of 6,100–6,220 feet (1,859–1,896 m).
The Brazos Mountains is a range in far northern Rio Arriba County, in northern New Mexico in the southwestern United States. The range is part of the Tusas Mountains – the southern portion of the San Juan Mountains which are more well known in Colorado. A high crest runs from the border with Colorado for over 20 miles (32 km) in a south-southeasterly direction. The high point of the range at 11,405 feet (3,476 m) is on Grouse Mesa, at the Brazos Benchmark. Two miles (3 km) to the southeast is the more distinctive Brazos Peak, at 11,288 feet.
Joe Kidd is a 1972 American Western film in Panavision starring Clint Eastwood and Robert Duvall, written by Elmore Leonard and directed by John Sturges.
The Albuquerque–Santa Fe–Las Vegas combined statistical area is made up of eight counties in north central New Mexico. The combined statistical area consists of the Albuquerque and Santa Fe metropolitan statistical areas, and the Las Vegas, Los Alamos, and Española micropolitan statistical areas. The 2013 delineations included the Grants micropolitan statistical area, but it was removed in the 2018 revisions. As of the 2010 census, the CSA had a population of 1,146,049. The population of the CSA is 1,178,664 as of the July 1, 2018 Census Bureau estimate. Roughly 56% of New Mexico's residents live in this area. Prior to the 2013 redefintions, the CSA consisted only of the Santa Fe metropolitan statistical area and the Española micropolitan statistical area. The total land area of the Albuquerque–Santa Fe–Las Vegas combined statistical area in the 2013 definition is 26,421 sq. mi.
The Spanish, and later the Mexican, government encouraged settlement of the Territorio de Nuevo Mexico by the establishment of large land grants, many of which were turned into ranchos, devoted to the raising of cattle and sheep. The owners of these ranchos patterned themselves after the landed gentry in Spain. Their workers included Native Americans, some of whom had learned to speak Spanish and ride horses. Of the hundreds of grants, Spain made only a few. The remainder were granted by Mexico after 1821. The ranchos established land-use patterns that are recognizable in the New Mexico of today.
Santa Rosa de Lima was an early 18th-century Spanish settlement in the Rio Chama valley, near the present-day town of Abiquiu in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, United States. By the 1730s, Spanish settlers were moving into the Chama River valley, and by 1744 at least 20 families were living in the present-day Abiquiú area, where they founded the Plaza de Santa Rosa de Lima. The church, on the plaza, was built circa 1744, and was in use until the 1930s. Repeated raids by Utes and Comanches caused the settlement to be abandoned in 1747. In 1750, the Spanish founded a new settlement at the present site of Abiquiú, about a mile from Santa Rosa de Lima.
Rio Nutrias is a 35-mile-long (56 km) westward-flowing stream originating on the north slope of Canjilón Mountain in the Carson National Forest, in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, United States. Rio Nutrias is tributary to the Rio Chama which it joins about 3-mile-long (4.8 km) below El Vado Reservoir in Rio Arriba County, in northern New Mexico.
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Abiquiu Dam is a dam on the Rio Chama, located about 60 miles (97 km) northwest of Santa Fe in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico. Built and operated by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers (USACE), the dam is an earth embankment structure 354 feet (108 m) high and 1,800 feet (550 m) long, containing 11.8 million cubic yards of fill. The dam forms Abiquiu Lake, one of the largest lakes in New Mexico with a full storage capacity of 1,369,000 acre feet (1,689,000 dam3) and 5,200 acres (2,100 ha) of water. To date, the reservoir has never filled to capacity, with a record high of 402,258 acre feet (496,178 dam3), 29.4% of full pool, on June 22, 1987. The dam's primary purpose is flood control, in addition to irrigation and municipal water storage, and hydroelectric generation.
Heron Dam is a storage dam Rio Arriba County, in northern New Mexico in the southwestern United States, just north of the El Vado Dam. It is owned and operated by the United States Bureau of Reclamation. The dam is about 9 miles west of the town of Tierra Amarilla.
The Rio Brazos is a 42-mile (68 km) long river flowing through northern New Mexico in the United States. It rises in the Tusas Mountains, a subrange of the San Juan Mountains, and runs generally southwest to a confluence with the Rio Chama, part of the larger Rio Grande system.
State Road 162 (NM 162) is a 2.6-mile-long (4.2 km) state highway in the US state of New Mexico. NM 162's southern terminus is at U.S. Route 84 (US 84) west-southwest of Tierra Amarilla in Rio Arriba County, and the northern terminus is at US 64/US 84 north of Tierra Amarilla. It is a paved, two-lane road for its entire length.
The Tusas Mountains are a mountain range in northern New Mexico, extending briefly into southern Colorado. They are considered the southeasternmost part of the San Juan Mountains. Grouse Mesa, 11,407 feet (3,477 m), is the highest peak in the range. The mountains are located to the west of Taos and northwest of Santa Fe. The Tusas Mountains are a wide region of upland mesas and gently sloping mountains, dissected in places by deep canyons.
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