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

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

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#2 Durand Motor Co., Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1980

Durand Motor Co., Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1980

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

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

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

Purified Water windmill, Roswell, New Mexico, 1993

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

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

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

Jene's Teepee Gifts sign, Tucumcari, New Mexico, 1982

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

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

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

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

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#9 Hollywood Diner sign, Grants, New Mexico, 1985

Hollywood Diner sign, Grants, New Mexico, 1985

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

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

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

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

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

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

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#13 Durand Motor Co., Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1980

Durand Motor Co., Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1980

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

Covered Wagon Court sign, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1987

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

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

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#16 Kimo Theater, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1999

Kimo Theater, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1999

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#17 South 1st Street, Raton, New Mexico, 1992

South 1st Street, Raton, New Mexico, 1992

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

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

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#19 Dog house sign, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1982

Dog house sign, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1982

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

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

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#21 Park Plaza Motel, Raton, New Mexico, 1984

Park Plaza Motel, Raton, New Mexico, 1984

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

Wiener Schnitzel Restaurant, Las Cruces, New Mexico, 1997

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

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

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

Jack's Liquor sign, Central Avenue, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1984

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

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

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

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

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

Pioneer Motel sign, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1991

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#28 Wild Life Museum, Chama, New Mexico,1980

Wild Life Museum, Chama, New Mexico,1980

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

Ken's Ice Cream Sandwich sign, B-4, Tucumcari, New Mexico, 1987

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#30 Lux Theater, B-40, Grants, New Mexico, 1987

Lux Theater, B-40, Grants, New Mexico, 1987

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

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

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#32 Whataburger, Las Cruces, New Mexico, 1996

Whataburger, Las Cruces, New Mexico, 1996

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

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

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

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

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#35 Horseshoe Motel, Eagle Nest, New Mexico, 1981

Horseshoe Motel, Eagle Nest, New Mexico, 1981

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#36 Kimo Theater, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1980

Kimo Theater, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1980

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#37 Park Plaza Motel, Raton, New Mexico, 1980

Park Plaza Motel, Raton, New Mexico, 1980

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

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

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#39 Pizza Hut, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1992

Pizza Hut, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1992

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

Erica's Beauty Salon, Las Vegas, New Mexico, 1999

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

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

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#42 Park Plaza Motel, Raton, New Mexico, 1980

Park Plaza Motel, Raton, New Mexico, 1980

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

Las Cruces downtown, Las Cruces, New Mexico, 1997

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

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

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#45 Hotel Santa Fe, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1998

Hotel Santa Fe, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1998

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

Mori's Bar, 4th & Slate, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1984

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

Simon's Western Wear sign, Central Avenue, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1984

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#48 Kimo Theater, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1981

Kimo Theater, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1981

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#49 Barber pole, Portales, New Mexico,1982

Barber pole, Portales, New Mexico,1982

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

Zia Motor Lodge sign, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1997

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#51 B & M Bar, Tucumcari, New Mexico, 1982

B & M Bar, Tucumcari, New Mexico, 1982

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#52 Whataburger, Las Cruces, New Mexico, 1994

Whataburger, Las Cruces, New Mexico, 1994

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

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

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

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

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#55 Old motel sign, Grants, New Mexico, 1997

Old motel sign, Grants, New Mexico, 1997

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

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

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#57 Dog house sign, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1981

Dog house sign, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1981

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

Jene's Teepee Gifts, Route 66, Tucumcari, New Mexico, 1982

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

The Roaring 20's sign, Grants, New Mexico, 1997

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

Zia Motor Lodge sign, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1999

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#61 Center block, Las Vegas, New Mexico, 1997

Center block, Las Vegas, New Mexico, 1997

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Blake's Restaurant sign, Las Cruces, New Mexico, 1991

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#67 Log Cabin Lodge sign, Gallup, New Mexico, 1999

Log Cabin Lodge sign, Gallup, New Mexico, 1999

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

McDonald's (angle 1), Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1999

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#69 White City Motel, Whites City, New Mexico, 1992

White City Motel, Whites City, New Mexico, 1992

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

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

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

Jene's Teepee Gifts sign, Tucumcari, New Mexico, 1985

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#72 New Village Cafe sign, Hobbs, New Mexico, 1985

New Village Cafe sign, Hobbs, New Mexico, 1985

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#73 Lux Theater, B-40, Grants, New Mexico, 1987

Lux Theater, B-40, Grants, New Mexico, 1987

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#74 Rancho To Motel sign, Gallup, New Mexico, 1998

Rancho To Motel sign, Gallup, New Mexico, 1998

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

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

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

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

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#77 Hightower Motel, Lordsburg, New Mexico, 1981

Hightower Motel, Lordsburg, New Mexico, 1981

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#78 Kimo Theater, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1989

Kimo Theater, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1989

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

Erica's Beauty Salon, Las Vegas, New Mexico, 1998

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

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

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#81 White City Motel, Whites City, New Mexico, 1993

White City Motel, Whites City, New Mexico, 1993

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

Purified Water windmill, Roswell, New Mexico, 1991

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#83 Sirloin Stockade sign, Hobbs, New Mexico, 1982

Sirloin Stockade sign, Hobbs, New Mexico, 1982

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

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

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#85 Drive-in Theater, Lordsburg, New Mexico, 1981

Drive-in Theater, Lordsburg, New Mexico, 1981

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#86 Hightower Motel, Lordsburg, New Mexico, 1981

Hightower Motel, Lordsburg, New Mexico, 1981

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

Erica's Beauty Salon, Las Vegas, New Mexico, 1997

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

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

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#89 Kimo Theater, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1987

Kimo Theater, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1987

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

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

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

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

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

Stuff n' Things, South 1st Street, Raton, New Mexico, 1992

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#93 Park Plaza Motel, Raton, New Mexico, 1980

Park Plaza Motel, Raton, New Mexico, 1980

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

Wiener Schnitzel Restaurant, Las Cruces, New Mexico, 1991

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#98 Kimo Theater, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1988

Kimo Theater, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1988

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

Jene's Teepee Gifts, Route 66, Tucumcari, New Mexico, 1982

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#100 Horseshoe Motel, Eagle Nest, New Mexico, 1980

Horseshoe Motel, Eagle Nest, New Mexico, 1980

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

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

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#102 South 1st Street, Raton, New Mexico, 1991

South 1st Street, Raton, New Mexico, 1991

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

Restaurants White's City, Whites City, New Mexico, 1993

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

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

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

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

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

Shamrock gas sign, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1981

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

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

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#108 La Casa Judy Motel, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1981

La Casa Judy Motel, Santa Fe, New Mexico, 1981

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

Blake's Burger sign, Tucumcari, New Mexico, 1984

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

Jack's Liquor sign, Central Avenue, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1982

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#111 Horseshoe Motel, Eagle Nest, New Mexico, 1980

Horseshoe Motel, Eagle Nest, New Mexico, 1980

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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#116 Horseshoe Motel, Eagle Nest, New Mexico, 1980

Horseshoe Motel, Eagle Nest, New Mexico, 1980

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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#122 Kimo Theater, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1987

Kimo Theater, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1987

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

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

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#124 Park Plaza Motel, Raton, New Mexico, 1980

Park Plaza Motel, Raton, New Mexico, 1980

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

Jack's Trading Center, Carlsbad, New Mexico, 1983

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

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

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