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home | Locations | FACTS & FIGURES FOR ALAMOGORDO, NEW . . .

Ivan Gillis
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Alamogordo, New Mexico


Alamogordo is a city in Otero County, New Mexico, United States of America. The population was 35,582 at the 2000 census. The city name is a Spanish word meaning "fat cottonwood". It is the county seat of Otero County, Holloman Air Force Base and White Sands Missile Range are two major military bases located near Alamogordo. The town has had its share of glory as being the birthplace of the first chimp in space, the first test site for the atomic bomb and the burial ground for a rumored 3 million Atari E.T. cartridges.


The first atomic bomb in history was detonated at the Alamogordo Test Range on July 16, 1945. The site of the explosion, called Trinity Site, is located on property owned by the present-day White Sands Missile Range. This was the only nuclear test that took place at this location. Trinity Site is actually located over a hundred miles away from Alamogordo, and is only open twice a year for visitors.

Ham was the world's first astrochimp, trumpeted by the United States as "the first free creature in outer space". He blasted off from Cape Canaveral, Florida, on January 31, 1961, and traveled 155 miles in 16.5 minutes before splashing down safely in the Atlantic.  After Ham died in 1983 at age 27, his body was shipped west and was buried in the front lawn of the New Mexico Museum of Space History in Alamogordo, under the first slab of natural-tone concrete poured in Otero County.

In 1983, with the video game industry they had helped create crashing down around them, Atari warehouses were filled with millions of unsold video game cartridges they had optimistically overproduced, including 5 million E.T. cartridges. Basing a video game on a movie rather than an established arcade hit or a tested game premise (and expecting it to sell simply because of the popularity of the film) was a questionable enough decision, but the very bad quality of the finished product was unprecedented. Atari rushed E.T. through development in about 6 weeks (less than 1/3 of the usual game development period) to get it onto the market in time for Christmas, and the result was a virtually unplayable game with a vastly sub-standard plot and graphics in which frustrated players spent most of their time leading the E.T. character around in circles to prevent him from falling into pits. According to Atari's then-president and CEO, "nearly all of them came back."

Some other video game manufacturers attempted to rid themselves of excess inventory by selling it at sharply reduced prices, but Atari, stuck with millions of games and consoles -- along with prototypes and limited runs of experimental Atari 2600 hardware like the questionable Mindlink system, a control method for the 2600 based on so-called mind-control (muscle tension) -- that were largely unsellable at any price, sent fourteen truckloads of merchandise from their plant in El Paso, Texas, to be dumped in a city landfill in Alamogordo in late September 1983. In order to keep the site from being looted, D9 Caterpillars crushed and flattened the games, and a concrete slab was poured over the remains.

 Points of interest

Alamogordo's original city plan calls for east-west streets to be given numerical designations, while north-south streets have names that fall into related themes (states, presidents and universities). US 54 becomes "White Sands Blvd." in Alamogordo, however, it was originally named "Pennsylvania Ave." (thus the name of one of the oldest establishments in Alamogordo, the Pennsylvania Avenue Bar and Grill).

Many movies filmed scenes in or near Alamogordo and White Sands National Monument, including: Transformers (2006), The Astronaut Farmer (2006), The Outfitters (1998), Lovest (1997), Mad Love (1995), Tank Girl (1995), New Eden (1993), Last Escape of Billy The Kid (1993), White Sands (1992), Young Guns II (1990), Curse II: The Bite (1988), Young Guns (1988), Convoy (1978), The Man Who Fell to Earth (1976), The Wheel (1971), Scandalous John (1971)




Population (year 2000): 35,582. Estimated population in July 2006: 36,069 (+1.4% change)


Males                          17,571                                    49.4%

Females                     18,011                                    50.6%

Ancestries: German (16.0%), Irish (8.9%), English (8.0%), United States (7.2%), Italian (2.8%), French (2.3%).

Races in Alamogordo:

  • White Non-Hispanic (57.8%)
  • Hispanic (32.0%)
  • Other race (12.1%)
  • Black (5.6%)
  • Two or more races (4.2%)
  • American Indian (1.8%)
  • Filipino (0.6%)

(Total can be greater than 100% because Hispanics could be counted in other races)


Income & Housing Costs Numbers:


Estimated median household income in 2005: $29,800 (it was $30,928 in 2000)



New Mexico: 



Estimated median house/condo value in 2005: $88,300 (it was $75,400 in 2000)



New Mexico: 





Elevation: 4334 feet

Land area: 19.3 square miles.

Population density--1870 per square mile--low.

In-Depth Facts and Figures as listed below, plus other information:

·        Climate Charts

1.      Average Temperature

2.      Precipitation (Rain)

3.      Humidity

4.      Wind Speed (MPH)

5.      Snowfall

6.      Sunshine

7.      Cloudy Days

·        Tornado Activity History

·        Hospitals & Medical

·        Airports

·        Colleges/Universities

·        High Schools

·        Locations of Interest

·        Shopping Centers

·        Churches

·        Lakes/Streams/Rivers/Creeks/Parks

·        Tourist Attractions

·        Banks

·        Housing Costs Information

·        Crime Statistics

·        Radio Stations AM/FM

·        TV Broadcast Stations

·        Discussion Forums


For the above information and photos, click this link:


Total Tax Burden--Data for Calculation


Sales Taxes
Gross Receipts Tax:
5% (prescription drugs exempt); county and city taxes may add another 2.1875%. Certain food and medical expenses are exempt.
Gasoline Tax: 18.0 cents/gallon
Diesel Fuel Tax: 19.0 cents/gallon
Cigarette Tax: 91 cents/pack of 20

Personal Income Taxes
Tax Rate Range: - Low -1.7%; High - 5.3% (2006 and 2007).
Income Brackets: * Lowest - $5,500; Highest - $16,000
Number of Brackets: 4
Personal Exemptions: ** Single - $3,200; Married - $6,400;
Dependents - $3,200
Additional Exemptions: Taxpayer or spouse 65 or older - up to $8,000
Standard Deduction: Single - $4,750; Married filing jointly - $9,500
Medical/Dental Deduction: Credit of 3% of unreimbursed prescription drug expenses to maximum of $150 per individual or $300 per return
Federal Income Tax Deduction: None
Retirement Income Taxes: Taxpayers 65 and older may exempt up to $8,000 (single), $16,000 (joint) from any income source if their income is under $28,500 (individual filers) or $51,000 (married filing jointly).
Retired Military Pay: See above.

Military Disability Retired Pay: Disability Portion - Length of Service Pay; Member on September 24, 1975 - No tax; Not Member on September 24, 1975 - Taxed, unless combat incurred.  Retired Pay - Based solely on disability: Member on September 24, 1975 - No tax; Not Member on September 24, 1975 - Taxed, unless all pay based on disability and disability resulted from armed conflict, extra-hazardous service, simulated war, or an instrumentality of war.
VA Disability Dependency and Indemnity Compensation: Not subject to federal or state taxes
Military SBP/SSBP/RCSBP/RSFPP: Generally subject to state taxes for those states with income tax.  Check with state department of revenue office.

Property Taxes 
All property, whether real or personal, is subject to state and local property taxes.  Rates vary substantially and depend on property type and location.  The statewide weighted average rates, i.e., total obligations/total net taxable value, are about $26.47 for residential property. Assessors usually determine market value by the sales-comparison approach which matches a property's value to that of similar properties.  The valuation of a residence that did not change hands in the prior year may not increase by more than 3% annually.  One-third of the property's market value is its taxable value.  The taxable value may be further reduced by exemptions of $2,000 each of heads of house holds and $4,000 for veterans.

There is a property tax rebate for residents age 65 and older.  Their modified gross income cannot exceed $18,000 for the tax year and they cannot have been claimed as a dependent on another taxpayer's return. Homeowners 65 and older who earn $18,000 ($25,000 in Sandoval County) or less are eligible for a credit of up to $250 (married filing jointly) or $125 for single taxpayers.  Call 505-827-0870 for details. 

To access the property tax page, click here  For more details on property taxes, click here.

Cost of Living Calculators Links:

Wikipedia Information Link:,_New_Mexico







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