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What New Mexico looked like in the 1980s and 1990s

New Mexico lost more service members in World War II than any other state. As a national war bond drive leader, the state had fifty federal installations, including glider and bombardier training schools. Sixty-five thousand young men (and 700 young women) joined the military during the war, where they received a wide range of technical training and experienced the outside world for the first time. There were high wages, jobs for everyone, rationing, and shortages during wartime because of government spending. In the postwar years, federal facilities contributed significantly to the state’s economy. Since New Mexico relied on both the smokestack industry and scenic tourism, it was at the center of debates over clean air legislation, particularly the Clean Air Act of 1967 and its amendments in 1970 and 1977. New Mexico became the first of only four states to adopt the English Plus resolution, which supports the acceptance of non-English languages, in 1989.

Many Californians migrated to the state during the 1990s, resulting in continued population growth. Despite the rapid growth of its population, New Mexico remains one of the poorest states in the country. This is despite increasing exploitation of oil, gas, and other mineral resources and increased agricultural production through improved irrigation. In March 1999, the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant in southeastern New Mexico opened, becoming the world’s first underground storage facility for radioactive waste.

Here are some fascinating photos of New Mexico in the 1980s and 1990s.

#1 Ranch House Cafe sign, Route 285, Vaughn, New Mexico, 1991

#2 Zia Motor Lodge sign, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1997

#4 Production Credit Building (which then became the Occidental Life Company Building), overall diagonal view, 3rd & Gold, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1999

#6 Aztec Motel, diagonal view 2, Route 66, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1999

#7 Club Cafe sign near Santa Rosa, Santa Rosa, New Mexico, 1987

#8 Jene’s Teepee Gifts sign, Tucumcari, New Mexico, 1982

#9 Old City Hall, now fire department, Las Vegas, New Mexico, 1997

#10 Grant County Courthouse, entire street, Copper Street, Silver City, New Mexico, 1993

#12 Adobe Diner, Route 64 & 285, Tres Piedras, New Mexico, 1981

#13 Covered Wagon Court sign, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1987

#16 Jack’s Liquor sign, Central Avenue, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1984

#17 Aztec Motel, diagonal view 1, Route 66, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1999

#18 Teepee shed, Route 66, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1981

#19 Sonic Drive-In Restaurant, Central Valley, Route 66, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1999

#20 Purified Water windmill, Roswell, New Mexico, 1993

#21 Club Cafe sign near Santa Rosa, Santa Rosa, New Mexico, 1984

#22 West Theater, angle 2, Route 66, Grants, New Mexico, 1998

#24 Traveling Traders (Black Hawk Jewelry), Central Avenue, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1985

#26 Red Ball Cafe sign, 4th Street, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1981

#28 Big Ben, Leisure Twin Putt, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1987

#29 Wiener Schnitzel Restaurant, Las Cruces, New Mexico, 1997

#30 Uranium Cafe Chinese sign, Route 66, Grants, New Mexico, 1983

#31 Grant County Courthouse, center vertical, Copper Street, Silver City, New Mexico, 1991

#32 Pioneer Motel sign, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1991

#34 Ken’s Ice Cream Sandwich sign, B-4, Tucumcari, New Mexico, 1987

#37 Teepee, Alta’s Cactus Cave Gift Shop since 1944, Route 70, Roswell, New Mexico, 1996

#38 Sparks Office Supply Co., Carlsbad, New Mexico, 1994

#43 Erica’s Beauty Salon, Las Vegas, New Mexico, 1999

#44 Adobe, Alta’s Cactus Cave Gift Shop since 1944, Route 70, Roswell, New Mexico, 1992

#46 Las Cruces downtown, Las Cruces, New Mexico, 1997

#47 Storefront, Apache Canyon Trading Post, Routes 2 and 180, Whites City, New Mexico, 1993

#49 Mori’s Bar, 4th & Slate, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1984

#50 Simon’s Western Wear sign, Central Avenue, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1984

#55 Dean’s Restaurant sign, chef detail, B-40 (Route 66), Tucumcari, New Mexico, 1987

#56 Silver Moon Bar sign, B-40 (Route 66), Grants, New Mexico, 1987

#58 Apache Canyon Trading Post, teepee and car, Routes 62 and 180, Whites City, New Mexico, 1993

#59 Jene’s Teepee Gifts, Route 66, Tucumcari, New Mexico, 1982

#60 The Roaring 20’s sign, Grants, New Mexico, 1997

#61 Zia Motor Lodge sign, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1999

#63 Saints & Sinners Liquor Store, Espanola, New Mexico, 1999

#64 Silver City Daily Press, Arizona and Market Streets, Silver City, New Mexico, 1991

#65 Dean’s Restaurant sign, B-40 (Route 66), Tucumcari, New Mexico, 1987

#66 Golden Rule and New York Stores, South 1st Street, Raton, New Mexico, 1991

#67 Blake’s Restaurant sign, Las Cruces, New Mexico, 1991

#69 McDonald’s (angle 1), Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1999

#71 Jene’s Teepee Gifts sign, Tucumcari, New Mexico, 1985

#75 Gallup Kachina sign, Heart of Indian Country, Gallup, New Mexico, 1994

#76 Aztec Motel, office and sign, Route 66, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1994

#79 Erica’s Beauty Salon, Las Vegas, New Mexico, 1998

#80 Re Ball Cafe, front view, 4th Street, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1980

#82 Purified Water windmill, Roswell, New Mexico, 1991

#84 Sinclair Gas sign, Rt. 2, Lake Arthur, New Mexico, 1981

#87 Erica’s Beauty Salon, Las Vegas, New Mexico, 1997

#88 Texas-New Mexico Power Co., Broadway Street, Silver City, New Mexico, 1991

#90 Grant County Courthouse, straight on, closer, Copper Street, Silver City, New Mexico, 1991

#91 Saints & Sinners Liquor Store, Espanola, New Mexico, 1998

#92 Stuff n’ Things, South 1st Street, Raton, New Mexico, 1992

#94 Old City Hall, now fire department, Las Vegas, New Mexico, 1991

#95 Gas station at Apache Canyon Trading Post, Routes 62 & 180, Whites City, New Mexico, 1993

#96 Grant County Courthouse, entire street, Copper Street, Silver City, New Mexico, 1991

#97 Wiener Schnitzel Restaurant, Las Cruces, New Mexico, 1991

#99 Jene’s Teepee Gifts, Route 66, Tucumcari, New Mexico, 1982

#101 Red Ball Cafe sign, 4th Street, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1981

#103 Restaurants White’s City, Whites City, New Mexico, 1993

#104 Sign, Alta’s Cactus Cave Gift Shop since 1944, Route 70, Roswell, New Mexico, 1992

#105 Ranch House Cafe sign, Route 285, Vaughn, New Mexico, 1992

#106 Shamrock gas sign, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1981

#107 Rules, Leisure Twin Putt, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1987

#109 Blake’s Burger sign, Tucumcari, New Mexico, 1984

#110 Jack’s Liquor sign, Central Avenue, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1982

#112 Sparks Office Supply Co., Carlsbad, New Mexico, 1993

#113 Desert Sands Motor Hotel sign, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1999

#114 West Theater, angle 1, Route 66, Grants, New Mexico, 1999

#115 Grant County Courthouse, center vertical, Copper Street, Silver City, New Mexico, 1993

#117 City Electric Shoe Shop (old Theater?), Cole [i.e. Coal] Avenue, Gallup, New Mexico, 1999

#118 Grant County Courthouse, diagonal, Copper Street, Silver City, New Mexico, 1991

#119 Dean’s Restaurant spoke sign, B-40 (Route 66), Tucumcari, New Mexico, 1987

#120 Teepee, Alta’s Cactus Cave Gift Shop since 1944, Route 70, Roswell, New Mexico, 1991

#121 Dream Catcher Theater (a contemporary multiplex), angle 1, Route 285, Espanola, New Mexico, 1997

#123 Teepee shed, Route 66, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1987

#125 Jack’s Trading Center, Carlsbad, New Mexico, 1983

#126 Dairy Mart Drive-in sign, Artesia, New Mexico, 1983

#129 Old City Hall, now fire department, Las Vegas, New Mexico, 1999

#130 Economy Gasoline Co., Carlsbad, New Mexico, 1981

#131 Malco gas pump, Rt. 285, Carlsbad, New Mexico, 1981

#132 Big Ben, Leisure Twin Putt, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1987

#133 Highway 567, junction, near Taos, Taos, New Mexico, 1999

#134 Tinnie Silver Dollar Restaurant, Tinnie, New Mexico, 1992

#136 Grant County Courthouse, top central detail, Copper Street, Silver City, New Mexico, 1991

#137 State Theater, Central Avenue (Route 66), Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1981

#138 The Original Trading Post, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1981

#139 Production Credit Building, overall diagonal view, 3rd & Gold, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1981

#140 Adobe Diner, Route 64 & 285, Tres Piedras, New Mexico, 1983

#141 Adobe, Alta’s Cactus Cave Gift Shop since 1944, Route 70, Roswell, New Mexico, 1991

#142 Teepee at gas station, souvenir place, Route 66, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1992

#143 Economy Gasoline Co., Carlsbad, New Mexico, 1982

#144 Dean’s Restaurant sign, Tucumcari, New Mexico, 1987

#147 Hiland Theater, Central Avenue (Route 66), Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1987

#148 West Theater, angle 2, Route 66, Grants, New Mexico, 1998

#149 Casa Grande Motel, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1987

#150 Covered Wagon Court sign, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1987

#152 Dream Catcher Theater (a contemporary multiplex), angle 3, Route 285, Espanola, New Mexico, 1999

#153 Sparks Office Supply Co. entrance, Canal & Shaw, Carlsbad, New Mexico, 1993

#154 Gordon’s Jewelry Street Clock, Las Vegas, New Mexico, 1997

#155 Mountain View Barber Shop, El Prado, New Mexico, 1981

#157 Virgie’s Mexican Food sign, Grants, New Mexico, 1998

#158 Pioneer Motel sign, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1998

#159 Buckaroo Motel sign, Tucumcari, New Mexico, 1982

#160 Apache Canyon Trading Post, gas station, Routes 62 & 180, Whites City, New Mexico, 1994

#162 Aztec Motel, diagonal view 2, Route 66, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1999

#164 Grant County Courthouse, entire street, Copper Street, Silver City, New Mexico, 1992

#165 Dean’s Restaurant sign, B-40 (Route 66), Tucumcari, New Mexico, 1987

#166 Red Ball Cafe sign, 4th Street, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1981

#167 Cecilia’s Flower Shop (gas Station), Silver City, New Mexico, 1991

#168 West Theater, angle 1, Route 66, Grants, New Mexico, 1997

#170 Economy Gasoline Co., Carlsbad, New Mexico, 1982

#171 Dean’s Restaurant spoke sign, B-40 (Route 66), Tucumcari, New Mexico, 1987

#173 Club Cafe sign near Santa Rosa, Santa Rosa, New Mexico, 1987

#174 Grant County Courthouse, diagonal, Copper Street, Silver City, New Mexico, 1991

#175 Club Cafe sign near Santa Rosa, Santa Rosa, New Mexico, 1987

#176 Storefront, Apache Canyon Trading Post, Routes 2 and 180, Whites City, New Mexico, 1993

#177 Traveling Traders (Black Hawk Jewelry), Central Avenue, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1987

#178 Apache Canyon Trading Post, teepee, Routes 62 & 180, Whites City, New Mexico, 1993

#179 Aztec Motel, office and sign, Route 66, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1999

#182 Silver Moon Bar sign, B-40 (Route 66), Grants, New Mexico, 1987

#184 Simon’s Western Wear sign, Central Avenue, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1984

#185 Gila Theater, Bullard Street, Silver City, New Mexico, 1993

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Written by Aung Budhh

Husband + Father + librarian + Poet + Traveler + Proud Buddhist. I love you with the breath, the smiles and the tears of all my life.

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