Grants, New Mexico

Encyclopedia Article


A small town located in central New Mexico, just north of Interstate 40, about 75 miles west of Albuquerque. It is the county seat for Cibola (formerly Valencia) county. The area was first inhabited by ancient Puebloans in the 12th century, but was left abandoned until European and American settlers arrived in the late 1800s, along with a railroad station. First named Grant's Camp after the three Grant brothers who were contracted to build the region's railroads, the town later changed its name to Grant's Station, and eventually in 1936 to Grants. The community's early economy was based on logging, ranching, and farming but when uranium was discovered in the 1950s the town saw a growing boom as the U.S. Atomic Energy Commission established large mining operations in the area. After the recession of the 1980s, and the ensuing decline of the uranium mining industry, the town gradually developed a more diverse economy. Its history and proximity to national monuments and forests (including Mount Taylor, the Zuni Mountains, Acoma Pueblo, El Malpais, and Chaco Culture National Historical Park) make it an attractive destination for tourists, Route 66 tourists, and outdoor recreation enthusiasts.

Photo Credit: 

"Grants, New Mexico, May 17, 2011" by mercurialn is licensed under CC BY-NC.