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Santa Rosa, New Mexico
New wing, Guadalupe County Courthouse
New wing, Guadalupe County Courthouse
Location of Santa Rosa, New Mexico
Location of Santa Rosa, New Mexico
Santa Rosa, New Mexico is located in the United States
Santa Rosa, New Mexico
Santa Rosa, New Mexico
Location in the United States
Country United States
State New Mexico
County Guadalupe
 • Total 5.02 sq mi (13.01 km2)
 • Land 5.00 sq mi (12.95 km2)
 • Water 0.03 sq mi (0.06 km2)
4,616 ft (1,407 m)
 • Total 2,848
 • Estimate 
 • Density 527.31/sq mi (203.60/km2)
Time zone UTC-7 (Mountain (MST))
 • Summer (DST) UTC-6 (MDT)
ZIP code
Area code(s) 575
FIPS code 35-70670
GNIS feature ID 0918353
Santa Rosa Courthouse
The historic Guadalupe County courthouse in Santa Rosa was built in 1909. New wing visible at left.

Santa Rosa is a city in and the county seat of Guadalupe County, New Mexico, United States. The population was 2,848 at the 2010 census. It lies between Albuquerque and Tucumcari, situated on the Pecos River at the intersection of Interstate 40 and U.S. Route 54 and 84. The city is located on the western edge of the Llano Estacado or "staked plains" of eastern New Mexico and west Texas.


The first Euro-American 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 "Saint 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.

At the time of its founding, Santa Rosa was not the largest settlement within the small radius. Puerto de Luna, or PDL, about ten miles south, held the county seat for Guadalupe County. Santa Rosa was more of a so-to-say suburb of Puerto de Luna until 1901 when the Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad was built in Santa Rosa. Because of the rocky and mountainous terrain of PDL, the railroad had to be built in Santa Rosa turning the city into a boomtown that grew exponentially.

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. It was also one of the shooting scenes for Bobbie Jo and the Outlaw starring Lynda Carter in the titular role.

The town was the childhood home of author Rudolfo Anaya, and is the basis for the fictional town of Guadalupe in his autobiographical novel Bless Me, Ultima.


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 feet (25 m) deep.

Santa Rosa is located near the center of Guadalupe County at 34°56′32″N 104°41′2″W / 34.94222°N 104.68389°W / 34.94222; -104.68389 (34.942166, -104.683981). Interstate 40 serves the city with three exits (273, 275, and 277); the highway leads east 59 miles (95 km) to Tucumcari and west 115 miles (185 km) to Albuquerque. U.S. Route 84 leads southeast 44 miles (71 km) to Fort Sumner, and U.S. Route 54 leads southwest 40 miles (64 km) to Vaughn.

According to the United States Census Bureau, the city has a total area of 5.0 square miles (12.9 km2), of which 0.03 square miles (0.07 km2), or 0.52%, is water.


Historical population
Census Pop.
1920 1,093
1930 1,127 3.1%
1940 2,310 105.0%
1950 2,199 −4.8%
1960 2,220 1.0%
1970 2,485 11.9%
1980 2,469 −0.6%
1990 2,263 −8.3%
2000 2,744 21.3%
2010 2,848 3.8%
2019 (est.) 2,636 −7.4%
U.S. Decennial Census
Santa Rosa New Mexico downtown
Downtown Santa Rosa

As of the census of 2000, there were 2,744 people, 898 households, and 616 families residing in the city. The population density was 645.7 people per square mile (249.3/km2). There were 1,024 housing units at an average density of 241.0 per square mile (93.0/km2). The racial makeup of the city was 57.47% White, 2.19% African American, 1.75% Native American, 0.87% Asian, 0.04% Pacific Islander, 33.13% from other races, and 4.56% from two or more races. Hispanic or Latino of any race were 81.16% of the population.

There were 898 households, out of which 35.0% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 45.1% were married couples living together, 18.3% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.3% were non-families. 28.0% of all households were made up of individuals, and 11.2% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.50 and the average family size was 3.03.

In the city, the population was spread out, with 23.1% under the age of 18, 10.4% from 18 to 24, 34.4% from 25 to 44, 20.0% from 45 to 64, and 12.0% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 135.1 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 145.2 males.

The median income for a household in the city was $25,085, and the median income for a family was $28,782. Males had a median income of $20,161 versus $16,417 for females. The per capita income for the city was $11,168. About 18.9% of families and 23.2% of the population were below the poverty line, including 27.5% of those under age 18 and 23.9% of those age 65 or over.


Santa Rosa High School's football team won back-to-back-to-back state championships in the 2010, 2011, and 2012 AA state championships. The 2010 and 2011 victories were won against teams which were undefeated until the championship. In 2010 the Santa Rosa Lions beat the Tularosa Wildcats, and in 2011 the Santa Rosa Lions beat the Eunice Cardinals. In 2012, the Santa Rosa Lions went undefeated, shutting out the Tularosa Wildcats in the championship. The Lions also won championships in 1955, 1993, 1996, 1998, and 2007. Santa Rosa High School was also among the first in the country to establish a lawn mower racing club.



Interstate 40 serves the city with three exits (273, 275, and 277); the highway leads east 59 miles (95 km) to Tucumcari and west 115 miles (185 km) to Albuquerque. U.S. Route 84 leads southeast 44 miles (71 km) to Fort Sumner, and U.S. Route 54 leads southwest 40 miles (64 km) to Vaughn.

"Route 66" remains the name of the main east-west thoroughfare through the city, referring to former U.S. Route 66, which lost its official designation in 1985.

New Mexico State Road 91 runs south to Puerto de Luna.


Union Pacific provides freight service. No passenger service has been available since 1968.


Santa Rosa Route 66 Airport is located east of the city. Currently there is no scheduled passenger service.

Notable people

  • Anarquia, professional wrestler
  • Rudolfo Anaya, author known for Bless Me, Ultima
  • Charles E. Barnhart, attorney and politician
  • Dave Campos, motorcycle racer
  • Joe A. Campos, former member of the New Mexico House of Representatives
  • Santiago E. Campos, attorney and jurist
  • George Dodge, former member of the New Mexico House of Representatives
  • Miguel Marquez, national correspondent for CNN
  • Lucy Scarbrough, noted pianist, conductor, and educator.

Images for kids

See also

Kids robot.svg In Spanish: Santa Rosa (Nuevo México) para niños

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