Blackwater Draw, near Clovis, is the site where the remains of the earliest homonid to inhabit the continent were found. The Clovis culture was named after the nearest town, Clovis. This is considered the first site where the remains were found (although there were remains found near Colorado City, Texas shortly before the remains were found in Blackwater Draw). The site near Colorado City was excluded because they reportedly did not follow accepted scientific procedure. The Clovis People hunted mammoth and bison and lived in the area 11,000 to 12,000 years ago. The oldest hand dug wells (about 5000 years old) were also found here. Check with the Blackwater Draw Museum between Clovis and Portales, or East New Meixco University, for access to the site.
If you have a hard time finding the Clovis Visitors Center (I did) a good place to stop to get local tourist information is the Clovis Library. While there you can also get access to the Internet to send e-mails, stay in contact with family and friends and to catch up with the latest on VT!
On the grounds of the Curry County Courthouse is this time capsule/monument to the county's centennial celebrated in 2009. Thre is also a centenniel cow which is nicely decorated. Also on the grounds is a memorial to those who have lost their lives in drunk driving accidents.
Clovis is a nice sized town of just over 39,000 (up 20% since 2000) located along US Highway 70 in eastern New Mexico on the terrain known as the Llano Estacado. Clovis originated as a stop along the Santa Fe Railroad named Riley's Switch, in 1906. The name was changed to Clovis by the stationmaster's daughter who was studying about King Clovis the first Catholic king of the Franks. Clovis is the county seat of Curry County. Curry County was named after George Currsy a territorial governor of New Mexico. The Curry County Courthouse is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
While other regional artists (Roy Orbison, Roger Williams, and Buddy Knox to name a few) recorded here and became nationally-known, the Norman Petty Studios is best known for being the first to record Lubbock, Texas native Buddy Holly and the Crickets. The studios are well maintained thanks to funding provided by Paul McCartney who owns the rights to Holly's music. The studios are pretty much as they were when they were used in the 50s and 60s with a lot of the original recording equipment. Lots of old 45s and photos take their place on the studio walls are and are great browse for any fan of early rock and roll. Tours must be arranged for in advance by calling Ken Broad who lives in nearby Portales. He gives a great overview of the studios and living quarters in the back and provides details of Holly recording dates and who sang on what and where in the studio they stood. Really a great tour and it's free although they do have a donation box to help with the upkeep. Highly recommended!
I cannot imagine that many people have heard of Clovis especially when compared to other tourist favourites such as Los Angeles, New York, Orlando or Las Vegas. And I have to say that from what I have seen there are few reasons to add this little town in New Mexico to a list of places to go to. The one reason for me is that this is where a man and wife owned a recording studio in the 1950s. They were Norman and Vi Petty and although they did have some success with their trio the studio earned its rightful place in Rock and Roll history as the place where Buddy Holly and the Crickets recorded their hits (That’ll Be The Day, Peggy Sue, Rave On etc). Although the Norman and Vi are no longer with us the studio has been kept in much the same way as it was in the 50s when Buddy and the boys were making musical history. The mixing desk there now is not the one used for Buddy's recordings, but the monitors are and they sound great. The mic in the studio is also the one used by Buddy.
The studio is not open every day and it is run almost as a hobby by Ken Broad so you need to arrange an appointment with him prior to your arrival. Ken does a great job explaining the history of Petty, Holly and other artists that used the studio. The studio is not much bigger than a house with 4 main rooms, the reception area, the control room, the studio and a relaxation room. The latter being where the artists would relax during takes and even sleep when there for several days.
To arrange a tour of the studio you can contact Ken on +1 (505) 356 6422 or via firstname.lastname@example.org.
On the Llano Estacado where the Blackwater Draw is located, was a historical and archaeological location where paleo-hunters hunted mammoth, buffalo, bison, and other large grass grazers. The Site was a spring-fed drainage that later evolved into a small lake. Grass grew over four feet tall creating a sea of grass for the grazing animals that visited here thousands of years ago. Remains of at least 20 species of animals were found at this site. Clovis people came to hunt the animals and obtain the good tasting water. Temporary camps were located nearby as hunters prepared for the battles ahead. Trees and shrubs grew in the low areas near water holes and springs providing tools, food, and medicine. The Mammoth, horse, camel, saber-toothed cat, and many other species of animals died at the end of Clovis times during a short-term drought of 50-100 years. Later, during Folsom and later times, the lake provided fresh water because it was still fed by springs. In addition to hunting, it was a good place to meet others, share information, and trade goods. The American Bison continued to be the walking food supply for hundreds of people for thousands of years. You can still visit the famous spring-fed water hole at the Site, walk where they walked, and drink the same water they drank. You can see where they hunted and camped near the water and imagine what you would do if you were sent back in time.
Clovis has a very nice historic district with a number of buildings of historical and/or architectural interest. 11 of the buildings are listed on the National Register of Historic Places.