By Don McAlavy
I didn’t know Gerald F. Fisher of Clovis very well, but he seemed an extraordinarily smart guy. Back in 1986, Fisher found an article in the American Association for the Advancement of Science about “Clovis.”
“Well, actually, he said, it was about some place in the Yukon Territory of Canada, which has been attempting, for eight years, to steal some of Clovis’ glory.
This is what Fisher reported:
“What they wanted is the one thing for which Clovis, New Mexico, is uniquely recognized worldwide — the only singular aspect of recognition which no other community can claim; they wanted our identity as the oldest “town” in the western hemisphere.
“The article states that the earliest universally acknowledged sites of human colonization, in the totality of North and South America, are those that were occupied by a people who settled the New World 11,500 years ago.
“Well, the people in the Yukon had used some questionable scientific methodology in order to claim that their site was 26,000 years old, and hence, had inferred that Clovis was only a Johnny-come-lately, which — although of interest — was of no real significance. Now the scientific chickens have come home to roost, and Clovis has been reinstated in the world’s scientific community as ‘the first.’
“I put the journal down that I was reading, and wondered, as I have many times in the past, why one of the local commercial enterprises has never exploited this unique aspect of Clovis. Yes, I thought, the signs on the outskirts of Clovis do proclaim the railroad company and the Air Force Base and the purple Wildcats; and they tell of car, insurance, mobile home, and restaurant enterprises.
Although important, there really isn’t anything special about these aspects of our community, which would give our city a secure individual identity.
“I would like to see a sign proclaiming ‘CLOVIS, FOUNDED 9,514 B.C.” or “CLOVIS — THE FIRST COMMUNITY IN NORTH AMERICA.”
“Maybe the Clovis News Journal, our hometown newspaper, could place a representation of a Clovis projectile beside the torch on its front-page header, or some car dealer could use the Clovis point as part of its logo.
‘“Where are you from?’ I am often asked. ‘Clovis, New Mexico, the first community in the Western Hemisphere,’ I reply. I’m glad we’re still number one.”
Fisher died in 1999 at age 62. In Gerald, we lost a good citizen who cared about Clovis.
About eight years ago the Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce had a contest for a new logo to go with their publicity of Clovis. I entered the contest and came in second. The logo that won featured a windmill and Clovis’ name. Yes, it was quite good, but any other town out here in the West could have used the same logo, just replacing the name Clovis for their own town’s name.
I thought about what Gerald Fisher said and came up with a logo featuring a fluted Clovis point and a fighter plane used at Cannon Air Force Base.
Yes, Clovis does need to advertise the unique Clovis Man in a big way. Go out to the campus of Clovis Community College and see what Clovis Man probably looked like. It’s a statue of him in the front lawn of our unique and growing college.
Don McAlavy is Curry County’s historian. He can be contacted at: