The name “Portales” fits this friendly university town even more today than it did when it was coined in the 1800s. The city is named for a nearby campsite where spring waters gushed from a series of caves that resembled the porches (portales in Spanish) of a pueblo-styled home. Portales Springs was the most famous watering hole on the Old Fort Sumner Trail and hosted Comanches, buffalo hunters, ranchers and Billy the Kid. Situated on its eastern border, Portales is New Mexico’s front porch to the east.
With its roots deep in agriculture, Portales is famous for Valencia peanuts and a large local dairy industry. A variety of crops are grown including corn, sorghum, cotton, wheat and chile. Rangeland supports a large beef ranching industry as well.
Founded and incorporated before New Mexico gained statehood, these days Portales boasts a diversity of people and industry. The city is home to Eastern New Mexico University and Cannon Air Force Base and the 27th Special Operations Wing is located just 12 miles to the north, making for a melting pot of cultures.
Despite the constant influx of new people newcomers and visitors are always struck by the friendly, easy-going nature of the people. That’s why we’re known as the “Warm Heart of the Sunbelt.”