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Albuquerque Innsights

Former New Mexico innkeeper knows secrets and tells anyone who will listen.

Truth or Consequences, New Mexico’s Hot Springs and Spaceport America

Vintage postcard, Hot Springs NM

In New Mexico in 1911, practically in the center of the state, was a town known as Palomas Hot Springs. The name was eventually shortened to Hot Springs around 1916 when it incorporated, but changed again in 1950 when the town’s people took a challenge from a popular NBC Radio game show. They voted to renamed the town “Truth or Consequences”  when the game show host, Ralph Edwards, promised to come and broadcast from the first town in America that took on the show’s name. Hot Springs bit on this challenge and the rest is history.

Here in New Mexico we call Truth or Consequences,” T or C” for obvious reasons.

While Albuquerque presents it’s own spelling challenges, Truth or Consequences is no cakewalk for the spelling challenged either, or most kids and young adults today who live in the cyber texting world. Calling this town T or C seems a natural these days. Hey! Does that mean New Mexico was ahead of its time with this text abbreviation? Maybe so, and maybe we still are trailblazers to the future. T or C is building the world’s first commercial spaceport, Spaceport America, and it is scheduled to open in 2011.

T or C’s former claim to fame, (besides the game show and renaming), was the natural mineral hot springs that riddle this small oasis in the desert. Bath houses and lodging popped up to accommodate the many visitors beginning in the late 1800s and well into the 1900s, and Hot Springs had became a very popular therapeutic destination.  The native peoples of the region had been using it for years before the others showed up, and this place was considered by them to be neutral ground.

Located 150 miles south of Albuquerque, T or C is located next to Elephant Butte Lake State Park with its dam and 22 mile lake that has become a boating and fishing mecca to the Southwest. There is lots of hiking nearby and it is in close proximity to a few old New Mexico mining camps and ghost towns that are certainly worth exploration.

construction of spaceport america

Spaceport America, seen here under construction, is scheduled to open sometime in 2011

Will it all really fly, so to speak?

Only time will tell. Sir Richard Branson is in. His company, Virgin Galactic, is to be the anchor tenant. Now all we need is for Spaceport America to be completed and for the hoards of folks that will shell out thousands of dollars to take a ride into space to actually show up.

If you build it, they will come? Are “they” the people wanting the ride into outer space, or the aliens of Roswell fame returning to make a proper landing in the Land of Enchantment?

T or C is the Southwest’s best little famous town that no one knows about anymore but will be reminded of really soon, right in or about 2011 is my prediction.

I know the best things to do in Albuquerque!
Sarah Dolk, Adobe Nido Bed & Breakfast
Expert on Destination Albuquerque and Central New Mexico!

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copyright 2009 :: sarah dolk, adobe nido bed and breakfast, albuquerque nm :: photos by susan see, abq, nm & marianne groszko, mariannephotography.net