(Seminole, Texas) — Lovington — Artesia — La Luz — Junction US
54; NM 34, 83.
Texas Line to Junction with US 54, 198.7 m.
Two-lane, graded and graveled road, except for 60 miles bituminous-paved.
Terminus of Texas & New Mexico Railroad at Lovington; route crosses
Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway at Artesia and parallels a spur of the
Southern Pacific between Cloudcroft and La Luz.
Accommodations in Lovington and Artesia; few tourist camps, gas stations.
This route connects the oil-producing plains around Lovington with
the mountain and recreation region in Lincoln County. Between the
Texas Line and Artesia in the Pecos Valley no houses are seen for sev-
eral miles. Across this area thousands of cattle were driven to the plains
of eastern New Mexico in the latter part of the nineteenth century.
West, of Artesia the road rises and enters Lincoln National Forest,
scene of many encounters with the Apache in territorial days; now it is
a resort for Texans anxious to escape summer heat.
NM 34 crosses the TEXAS LINE, 0 m., at a point 50 miles north-
west of Seminole, Texas, and traverses a level plains country.
LOVINGTON, 18.7 m. (3,944 alt., 1,904 pop.), seat of Lea
County and the northern terminus of the Texas & Pacific Railroad, is in
the center of an area where the ground water level is near the surface.
Its principal industries are truck farming, oil, and cattle raising. When
the town was founded in 1908 on the homestead of R. R. Love who
became its first postmaster, mail had to be brought from Knowles, 20
miles southeast. As the white man drove out the Indian from this
region, cows supplanted buffalo and cattlemen from Texas established
small ranches here. A one-room schoolhouse was built and free resi-
dence lots given to school patrons. The first teachers homsteaded. In
1909 Lovington had its first bank, its first newspaper, and its first
church. For a time Lovington prospered with farms and gardens, but
a drought not only destroyed crops but caused cattle prices to slump,
and the town suffered. Oil development in the late 1920's saved many
ranchers from ruin, and brought an extension of the railroad to this
point in 1930.
In Lovington is the junction with NM 83, now the route.
Around Lovington are ranch houses three to five miles apart, some
with irrigated gardens, some raising their garden truck by dry farming.
As underground water is near the surface, windmills make irrigation
possible and grain, sorghums, alfalfa, and other feeds are raised. Fruit
growing is uncertain because of frosts, but dairying and poultry farm-