Truth or Consequences is a small town with a population of 6,246 (as of 2013, according to https://www.google.com/search?q=population+truth+or+consequences&ie=utf-8&oe=utf-8.) T or C (as locals commonly call it) is located in southern New Mexico off of Interstate 25 between Socorro to the north and Las Cruces to the south. The town lies within the Chihuahuan Desert and is the county seat for Sierra County.
According to https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Truth_or_Consequences,_New_Mexico, major settlement in T or C did not begin until the early 1900s
with the the construction of Elephant Butte Dam and Reservoir in 1912. (Elephant Butte Dam was a part of the Rio Grande Project, an early large-scale irrigation effort authorized under the Reclamation Act of 1902.) The town was originally incorporated as Hot Springs. It became the Sierra County seat in 1937.
(According to http://www.sierracountynewmexico.info/about/, Sierra County was founded in 1884 and has a population of 12,000.)
So how did the town end up with such an unusual name? According to http://www.sierracountynewmexico.info/blog/a-town-named-after-a-game-show/, it all started with Ralph Edwards’ popular game show, “Truth or Consequences.”
The show aired on the radio from 1940-57, and on television beginning in 1950.
In 1949, as the radio show’s 10th anniversary approached, Edwards asked co-workers for ideas on how to mark the occasion.
“Why not find a town or city somewhere in America that would be willing to change its name to ‘Truth or Consequences,’ and do the anniversary broadcast from that city?” said a staffer.
Edwards liked the idea. The word went out. A number of cities responded. But one stood out from the rest: Hot Springs, New Mexico.
The show’s producer visited Hot Springs to work out the details with the mayor, the Chamber of Commerce, and other local big-wigs. A special election was held on March 31, 1950, and the name changed passed, 1294 to 295.
Edwards promised to come back the following year, and did – but further cemented his relationship with the town by returning every year for the annual Fiesta celebration, bringing Hollywood stars along for the event.
Though Ralph Edwards died in November of 2005, his spirit lives on as T or C celebrates “Ralph Edwards Day” every April 1st, and continues to hold its annual Fiesta the first weekend in May. The city’s largest park and its auditorium are also named for Mr. Edwards.
Truth or Consequences is a hot springs town (hence the original name). According to http://www.sierracountynewmexico.info/attractions/truth-or-consequences-hot-springs/, “since before recorded history, the therapeutic benefits of the hot springs in this area have drawn people” to what is now Truth or Consequences. (To read about my experiences with the healing hot water at the bathhouses in T or C, go here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/06/truth-or-consequences-hot-springs-my-experiences/ and here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/08/truth-or-consequences-hot-springs-my-experiences-part-2/.)
In addition to hot springs, T or C is also an art town. According to http://www.sierracountynewmexico.info/attractions/art-in-truth-or-consequences-hillsboro-and-more/, all of
Sierra County is home to an extraordinary and eccentric group of artists. Traditional arts and crafts flourish alongside cutting-edge contemporary art, creating a lively creative environment.
Works by local painter Delmas Howe are on view [in T or C] at the Geronimo Springs Museum, as well as at Rio Bravo Fine Art Gallery, the largest venue in the county, which was founded by contemporary artist Harold Joe Waldrum (1934-2003). Howe’s colorful flower murals also adorn the exterior of the Truth or Consequences Civic Center.
Truth or Consequences is also home to a growing number of outdoor murals; you’ll find them painted on bath houses, shops, homes, and even vacant buildings located in increasingly colorful alleyways.
(To see more of my photos of the art in T or C, go here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/10/art-in-truth-or-consequences/, here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/12/more-art-in-truth-or-consequences/, and here: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/07/artwork-from-la-paloma/.)
Truth or Consequences is one of my favorite places, and I think, well worth exploring. If you are wondering where to stay during your T or C adventure, check out this post: http://www.rubbertrampartist.com/2016/02/13/where-to-stay-in-t-or-c/.
I took all of the photos in this post.