Carrizozo started as a link on the El Paso and Northeastern Railway (EP&NE) in 1899. In 1909, the county seat was moved from Lincoln to Carrizozo and the population grew to approximately 2,000.
Unfortunately, the rise of the automobile, railway travel decreased and, with it, the boom that brought people and businesses to the area. Today, just over 1,000 people live in Carrizozo.
The railroad still runs through town and there is heavy traffic along highways 54 and 380 but just off the main thoroughfares, there are ample artistic, cultural and recreational happenings, good schools, a health and senior center, an intermediate care facility for adults with developmental and intellectual disabilities and, further out, an industrial park, jail and airport.
Homes reflect the history of the area with several on the National Register of Historic Places, a historic district and a proposed residential district. Frank English was a builder at the turn of the twentieth century whose distinctive homes incorporated Craftsman style with local materials. Many of his homes are still standing.
Valle del Sol, a subdivision just east of town, was annexed by the town. A golf course now belongs to the Town of Carrizozo as well as a stocked pond.
Varied terrain surrounding Carrizozo includes Valley of Fires Recreational Area, the Lincoln National Forest and Chihuahuan desert grasslands that are home to reptiles, numerous birds including raptors, antelope, coyote, bobcat, mule deer and jackrabbit at the lower elevations and elk, wild horses, mountain lion. Smokey Bear was found in the nearby Capitan Mountains and Billy the Kid roamed the dirt streets of Lincoln, just 30 miles away.
Population 1,028 (July 1, 2020)
Lincoln County (county seat)
88301 zip code
Comprises area of 8.36 sq. miles
575 area code
UTC-7 (Mountain Standard Time)
5,429 feet in elevation