Designed & Cultural Landscapes

Rio Grande

South Region

The Rio Grande is New Mexico’s longest flowing river, bisecting the state east and west and providing essential water to numerous communities between the Colorado and Texas borders. The river was harnessed by prehistoric Native American peoples and later Spanish Colonial settlers who redirected the waters through irrigation ditches called acequias. The Rio Grande was dammed north of Truth or Consequences in the 1920s at Elephant Butte. Thousands of workers lived near the dam and in the nearby community of Hot Springs. The river waters flowed nearby a marshy drainage dotted by mineral springs in today’s downtown Truth or Consequences. Health seekers started developing the mineral springs into modest resorts and spas after 1930 creating a flourishing tourism destination.

Truth or Consequences, NM

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mainstreet truth or consequences