In 1894, the town of Portales was founded and named after a nearby campsite
where spring waters gushed from a series of caves that the early Spanish
travelers thought resembled portales, or “porches,” of a hacienda
The railroad came in 1898, and in 1900 Washington Ellsworth Lindsey helped
to create Roosevelt County. The city was formally established in 1909
and Lindsey became its first mayor, and later a Governor of New Mexico.
Farming and ranching developed, and Portales became known as one of the
primary producers of Valencia peanuts in the world. In 1934, Eastern New
Mexico Normal School was founded, becoming the city’s main economic force.
Located just 11 miles from Cannon AFB on the eastern plains of New Mexico,
the City of Portales combines a rural atmosphere with premier cultural,
economic and educational opportunities. Portales ranked ninth in the western
states and 15th in the nation overall as one of the top places to live
in America, according to a study conducted by Bizjournals.com. The study
looked at 577 micropolitan areas, with a goal of identifying America’s
most attractive areas with populations of 10,000 to 49,999. Portales,
the smallest city in the top 25, received a quality of life score of 8.96,
the 15th highest score in the nation. According to Scott Thomas, the author
of the study, the per capita income, short commuting times, exceptionally
low taxes, and substantial percentage of adults with a graduate degree
are huge factors in why Portales is one of the top places to live in America.