Eddy County, New Mexico

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Eddy County, New Mexico
Eddy County New Mexico Court House.jpg
Eddy County Courthouse in Carlsbad
Map of New Mexico highlighting Eddy County
Location in the U.S. state of New Mexico
Map of the United States highlighting New Mexico
New Mexico's location in the U.S.
Founded May 16, 1891
Seat Carlsbad
Largest city Carlsbad
 • Total 4,198 sq mi (10,873 km2)
 • Land 4,176 sq mi (10,816 km2)
 • Water 22 sq mi (57 km2), 0.5%
 • (2010) 53,829
 • Density 13/sq mi (5/km²)
Congressional district 2nd
Time zone Mountain: UTC-7/-6
Website www.co.eddy.nm.us

Eddy County is a county located in the U.S. state of New Mexico. As of the 2010 census, the population was 53,829.[1] Its county seat and largest city is Carlsbad.[2] The county was created in 1891 and later organized in 1891.[3] It is north of the Texas state line.

Eddy County comprises the Carlsbad-Artesia, NM Micropolitan Statistical Area.

Carlsbad Caverns National Park is located in this county. Eddy County is the location of the Waste Isolation Pilot Plant.


In 1866, Charles Goodnight and Oliver Loving drove vast herds of cattle along the Pecos and set up "cow camps" in Seven Rivers and what is now Carlsbad. John Chisum soon joined them and brought an estimated 100,000 head of cattle of his own through the Pecos Valley.

In 1881, Charles B. Eddy came to the area, and with his brother, John, and partner Amos Bissell, developed the Eddy-Bissell Cattle Company. In 1884, the Eddy brothers and Bissell broke ground on the Halagueno Ranch which encompassed an area from Seven Rivers to La Huerta (a suburb of Carlsbad). In 1887, Eddy built the Halagueno diversion ditch on the Pecos, three miles above the site of the Avalon Dam (which was completed in 1890) and incorporated the venture, calling it the Pecos Valley Land and Ditch Company. Eddy was looking to entice Europeans to settle the area, and with the new Halagueno Ranch and the Pecos Valley Land and Ditch Company established, he sought funds from a Swiss bank to help attract them to the clean air and sunny climate.

In 1888, Patrick Garrett (known as the sheriff who had shot Billy the Kid) along with promoter Charles Greene, joined forces with Eddy to design and build a system of canals and flumes to divert water to their ranches and properties. Greene was able to procure investors from the east, one of which was Robert W. Tansill (manufacturer of the "Punch 5 ¢ Cigar"). These men, along with another big investor, J.J. Hagerman, laid the plans for a new town on the west bank of the Pecos River. The men had the town incorporated as Eddy on September 15, 1888.

The county was named for cattle rancher Charles B. Eddy. When the territorial legislature set the boundaries of Eddy County, in 1889, Seven Rivers was named the county seat. During an election in 1890 for new county commissioners, a referendum was on the ballot to change the seat from Seven Rivers to the town of Eddy. The referendum passed by a vote of 331 to 83. In that year, the census said Eddy had only 278 people and they cast 241 of the winning votes. The referendum also included the building of a courthouse. Charles Eddy donated the land which consisted of an entire town block. The county commissioners authorized a contract for $30,000 to build a brick courthouse. (In 1899, the town of Eddy changed its name to Carlsbad.)

On January 10, 1891, the first railroad train on the new Pecos Valley Railroad arrived in Eddy, from Pecos, Texas. Crops of cotton and alfalfa, (which were found to be the perfect crops for the Eddy County area), along with cattle, sheep, wool, and people, could be moved into and out of the area with ease, now. This brought more investors and many more settlers into the area.

In 1902, Carlsbad Caverns were discovered about 18 mi (29 km) southwest of Carlsbad town. The discovery is still disputed between Jim White and Abijah Long. The caves are now known as Carlsbad Caverns National Park. The caverns have brought many millions of visitors from around the world into Eddy County.

Oil was discovered in Eddy County in 1909, near the town of Dayton (8 mi south of Artesia). Another big oil strike happened in 1923, when Martin Yates, Jr., purchased a well near Artesia, and southeastern New Mexico was said to be "gushing oil!". Drilling commenced at a furious pace and by 1938, the area's oil production was valued at $32 million annually.

In 1925, a geologist, Dr. V. H. McNutt, discovered major deposits of potash, while looking for oil east of Carlsbad. This ushered in a "boom" in potash mining, and several large potash producers set up business in the area. [4]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 4,198 square miles (10,870 km2), of which 4,176 square miles (10,820 km2) is land and 22 square miles (57 km2) (0.5%) is covered by water.[5] The lowest point in the state of New Mexico is located on the Red Bluff Reservoir in Eddy County, where the impounded Pecos River flows out of New Mexico and into Texas.

Adjacent counties

National protected areas


Historical population
Census Pop.
1910 12,420
1920 9,116 −26.6%
1930 15,842 73.8%
1940 24,311 53.5%
1950 40,640 67.2%
1960 50,783 25.0%
1970 41,119 −19.0%
1980 47,855 16.4%
1990 48,605 1.6%
2000 51,658 6.3%
2010 53,829 4.2%
Est. 2014 56,395 [6] 4.8%
U.S. Decennial Census[7]
1790-1960[8] 1900-1990[9]
1990-2000[10] 2010-2013[1]


As of the 2010 U.S. Census, the population was listed as 77.4% White, 1.4% African American, 1.5% Native American, 0.7% Asian, 3.0% two or more races, and 16.0% other races. About 44.1% were Hispanic or Latino (of any race).


As of the census[11] of 2000, 51,658 people, 19,379 households, and 14,069 families resided in the county. The population density was 12 people per square mile (5/km²). The 22,249 housing units averaged 5 per square mile (2/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 76.34% White, 1.56% Black or African American, 1.25% Native American, 0.45% Asian, 0.09% Pacific Islander, 17.67% from other races, and 2.64% from two or more races. About 38.76% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

Of the 19,379 households, 35.60% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 56.10% were married couples living together, 11.90% had a female householder with no husband present, and 27.40% were not families. About 24.20% of all households were made up of individuals, and 10.70% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.63 and the average family size was 3.12.

In the county, the population was distributed as 28.90% under the age of 18, 8.40% from 18 to 24, 25.70% from 25 to 44, 22.40% from 45 to 64, and 14.70% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 36 years. For every 100 females, there were 95.90 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 92.70 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $31,998, and for a family was $36,789. Males had a median income of $31,909 versus $19,686 for females. The per capita income for the county was $15,823. About 13.60% of families and 17.20% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.50% of those under age 18 and 13.40% of those age 65 or over.


Countryside in Eddy County, 10 miles (16 km) west of Hope



Census-designated places

In popular culture

Within the Myst and Uru series of computer games, Eddy County is the location of The Cleft, a fissure near a dormant volcano leading down to the large D'ni Cavern. This is most likely a reference to Carlsbad Caverns National Park.

See also


  1. 1.0 1.1 "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 29, 2013.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  2. "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  3. Long, John H., ed. (2007). "New Mexico: Consolidated Chronology of State and County Boundaries". New Mexico Atlas of Historical County Boundaries. The Newberry Library. Retrieved January 2, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  4. "About Us". About Eddy County. Retrieved December 6, 2010.
  5. "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved January 1, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  6. "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  7. "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 1, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  8. "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved January 1, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  9. "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 1, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  10. "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 1, 2015.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>
  11. "American FactFinder". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 31, 2008.<templatestyles src="Module:Citation/CS1/styles.css"></templatestyles>

External links

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