The highlight of a drive along NM 55 is the sight of Claunch

CLAUNCH

     The easiest way to find Claunch on a New Mexico map is to put one finger at the top middle point of the state and another finger at the side middle point and draw your fingers together. The intersection where they meet is Claunch. No joke - try it. Despite what cartographers might say, this means that Claunch is the center of New Mexico, and, by extension, the universe, something the residents of Claunch probably already knew.

QUICK STATS

  • COUNTY:  Socorro
  • LOCATION:  39 miles southeast of Mountainair on NM 55
  • POST OFFICE:  1935-present
  • NAME ORIGIN:  Named for L.H. Claunch who owned a nearby cattle company
  • RATING: Three ghostsThree ghostsThree ghosts
  • GNIS Info & Map

     It's hard not to like Claunch. From the combination post office and library to the abandoned swing sets next to the Claunch Womens' Club, this town's uniqueness is unique. Even the name is cool. I think "Claunch" should also be a verb -- the expression "to have Claunched" meaning "to have had the good fortune of being momentarily in the center of the universe."   

      For those of you who have not yet Claunched, I'll tell you what you're missing. NM 55 is a beautiful stretch of road between Mountainair and Carrizozo, with some fascinating 90 degree turns and remains of old houses scattered along the way. If you love to drive, as I do, this is a road you'll enjoy. Halfway through is Claunch. The little town is a mix of buildings -- a few abandoned, a few more occupied, a few idling somewhere in-between.

     As I walked through the town, a little dog trotted up to me, self-consciously seeking a pat on the head. An elderly couple waved from the distance while walking arm in arm down the street. The wooden swings by the Womens' Club rocked quietly in the breeze.  How reassuring to know that the center of the universe is being so well tended.

ADDITIONAL PHOTOS

(click on the thumbnail image to see a larger picture)


Yeah, right - like anyone
would want to leave Claunch.


NM 55 runs straight through the
center of the universe.


Swingsets rest idly in the
September evening glow.