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Cibola History & Culture

Cibola County was created in 1981 out of the huge western most part of what was then Valencia County.
The major town, Grants began as a railroad camp in the 1880s. After the decline of logging in the 1930s, Grants gained fame as the “carrot capital” of the United States. Agriculture was aided by the creation of Bluewater Reservoir, and the region’s volcanic soils provided ideal conditions for farming. Grants also benefited from its location on U.S. Route 66, which brought tourists and travelers and the businesses that catered to them.

Perhaps the most memorable boom in the town’s history occurred when Paddy Martinez, a Navajo shepherd, discovered uranium ore near Haystack Mesa, sparking a mining boom that lasted until the 1980s. The collapse of mining pulled the town into a depression, but the recent interest in nuclear power has revived the possibility of more uranium mining in the area.

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