|Signs in the twilight.|
Place Name: Truth or Consequences
Population: 7,289 (2000 census)
Location: Sierra County, New Mexico, USA
Truth or Consequences. People hear of this city because of the movie of the same name or on a list of strange addresses next to DISH, TX and Santa Claus, CA. I doubt many actually visit. The history of the name change is simple enough: tourism. A popular TV game show in the 1950s promised a visit from the host and other promotional benefits if a city would name itself after the show. T or C, as the locals and the Weather Channel calls it, was thus born.
In a sense the name encapsulates the anything for a buck Western capitalism and the harsh reality of living in the arid and unforgiving environment.
T or C was originally named Hot Springs after ample springs and man made wells that tap into the aquifer below. The springs make up an important part of the city's tourist based income. Many hotels and small resorts in the old downtown area cater to America's small but enthusiastic hot spring community.
Today the city is a very Western mix of a sleepy old town lost in time, hippies and counter-culture, and Jeffersonian individualism with a heavy Hispanic influence. The one main supermarket still used the square carts I last saw in the early 1980's when I was in kindergarten. The Walmart up on a hill near the interstate only opened two years prior to our visit. There's a spattering of chain restaurants and shops but many local establishments still remain. The local hamburger drive-in still serves malts and closes at 8. 8:30 on the weekends.
We spent two nights there in a small converted motor-court turned unique hotel with a private outdoor bath out back. Our days mostly spent in the spring or being lazy in the hotel. Besides the springs, the English accented lady at the tourist information office suggested having a picnic at the local ghost town 45 minutes down the road which we enjoyed.
T or C with it's unique geological features, preserved downtown with some great old buildings still in use and it's beautiful landscape makes it worth inclusion on my list of extraordinary places. No wonder J.B. Jackson chose New Mexico for his home.
|The beautiful, Romanesque U.S. Post Office. Looking at this building makes one yearn for the ideal America that you know could exist.|
|Signage for the local drugstore in a style that was once ubiquitous but now rare in the metropolitan areas of the west.|