Valencia History & Culture
Valencia County, which was formerly much larger in area, lost almost 81 percent of its territory on June 19, 1981, upon the creation of Cibola County, which occupies the westernmost portion of Valencia County’s former area.
Belen is the largest city in Valencia County. Belen is Spanish for Bethlehem and over time has gained the nickname “Hub City” because of the Belen Cutoff of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway. The Cutoff made it possible for many more trains to traverse east and west across the United States. To this day, an average of 110 trains travel through Belen in a 24-hour period on the Southern Transcon. Belen also has the only Harvey House Museum in the state of New Mexico. Los Lunas became the county seat in 1876 and became an incorporated village in 1928. The Village offers a variety of events to go to. Among them are annual events such as: the St. Patrick’s Day Baloon Rally; 4th of July Parade, celebration and fireworks display at Daniel Fernandez Park; and the Holiday Electric Light Parade down Main Street.