Farmington’s development into a city of 44,000 residents has been influenced by several cultures and industries. More than 2,000 years ago, the Anasazi tribe dwelled in the region, living in structures built from sandstone rock. In later years, several more tribes inhabited the area, including the Navajos, Jicarilla Apaches and Utes. Spanish explorers arrived in the 1700s, and pioneering settlers chose the Farmington town site in 1876.
The chosen location was at the meeting point of the La Plata, Animas and San Juan Rivers. These pioneers found the land well-suited for farming and ranching, and the community came to be known as “Farmingtown.” At some point, the ‘w’ was dropped and the name was shortened to Farmington.
Until 1950, Farmington residents relied primarily on apple farming and sheep and cattle ranching to support the local economy. This would change quickly, though, when successful oil and gas field development began in the 1950s. The extractive industries created a boom in Farmington, increasing the population sevenfold in just 10 years. Still today, the city is a prominent player in the Four Corners’ power-generating industries.
Farmington’s quality of life is enhanced by its diverse offering of recreational activities. Notable city park facilities are Berg/Animas Park Riverwalk and Brookside Park. River Corridor features miles of multipurpose trails, plus picnic areas and a self-guided wilderness tour. Brookside has a swimming pool, basketball court and skateboarding facility. As well, fishing is available on the San Juan River, Navajo Lake, Jackson Lake and La Plata River. Farmington also has a family amusement park where kids of all ages can ride bumper boats and go-karts or play miniature golf. Championship golf is available at Pinon Hills Golf Course, rated the country’s best public golf course in 2002 by Golf Digest. In addition, golfers can also visit the San Juan Country Club with its beautiful 18-hole course, and the 3-par, 9-hole Civitan Municipal Golf Course.
Performing arts are strong in Farmington with several organizations providing different types of entertainment. Off-Broadway performances are held at the Civic Center Foundation for the Performing Arts, while San Juan College also hosts a Showcase Concert Series and Silhouette Performing Arts Series.
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