Gallup’s auspicious beginning has its roots in the Southern transcontinental railroad route. David L. Gallup, a paymaster for the Atlantic and Pacific Railroad, set up his shop in the area in 1880. By 1881 a town with his name was founded because workers were already “going to Gallup” to get their pay, according to the city’s Web site.
Before the payroll stopped in the area, Spanish Conquistadors tarried for a while in 1540 where they found the Navajos. The Navajos weren’t long term residents, but new arrivals. Earlier homesteaders like the Acoma, Hopi and Zuni Pueblo Indians, had been there for a millennium. Descendants of the Native Americans and Spaniards as well as Europeans, Asians and Mexicans have contributed to the make up of Gallup’s current population.
Gallup was comparatively quiet by the standards of frontier towns in the 1800s. There were occasional Indian uprisings, but the soldiers of nearby Fort Wingate were able to discourage any major attacks. Most of the citizens carried arms until a law in 1896 limited that practice.
Today, Gallup is the home to about 20,000 people. The city is a hub of Native American arts and crafts
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Santa Rosa, NM
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I-40, Exit 277, U.S. 54-66-84
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