City plans year-long centennial celebration

CNJ staff

Clovis has hosted big parties before.

Schools were dismissed and train whistles filled the prairie when World War I ended in 1918. About 400 guests attended the formal grand opening of Hotel Clovis in 1931. And just six months ago, thousands turned out to celebrate a new mission secured for Cannon Air Force Base.

But 2007 promises a bash like Clovis has never seen – it’s scheduled to last all year.

The city celebrates its 100th birthday with a series of galas, beginning Jan. 12 and wrapping up Oct. 6.

Officially, Clovis was born April 13, 1907, when Santa Fe Railway officials filed the plat for a townsite. City officials plan to mark the date 100 years later by unearthing a time capsule buried in 1957.

Other events planned for 2007 include:

• A kickoff at the annual Clovis/Curry County Chamber of Commerce’s banquet Jan. 12 at the Civic Center;

• A community parade and picnic on June 9;

• July 20-21 events honoring railroad employees;

• A pictorial history event July 26 at Clovis Community College;

• A formal dinner on Oct. 6 at the Civic Center.

Most of the city’s other annual festivities — including Martin Luther King Jr. events Jan. 13-15 and the July 4 fireworks — are scheduled to include a centennial theme.

Railroad officials selected Clovis for a new terminal in 1906 after plans to build at Melrose were foiled by water issues, or maybe politics — like much of Clovis’ early history, the details are debatable.

The city is supposedly named for the first Christian King of modern-day France, though historians have never found documentation to support the claim.

The railroad’s first land purchase was made at the approximate site where First Baptist Church stands now. Farmer Clayton Reed initially said he was not interested in selling his quarter section of land, but relented when railroad officials offered $2,500 — about $1,500 more than Reed had anticipated.