The Hot Springs Historic District of Truth or Consequences, New Mexico was established in the 1920’s as infrastructure around the town’s naturally occurring thermal springs, and is preserved today as a series of ten historic hotels, apartments and lodges located throughout the central downtown area.
Among the historic structures offering access to the hot springs are the Sierra Grande Lodge and Spa. The Ted Turner owned ranch offers 17 rooms with mineral water in the sunken bathtubs, as well as a two-bedroom casita. Indoor and outdoor baths are open to the public, as well as a wide range of spa services.
The Pelican spa offers 32 baths across several downtown area locations. La Paloma Too is the town’s oldest bathhouse structure, with lodging available next door at the La Paloma Hot Springs and Spa. Several of La Paloma’s baths are gravel bottomed. The natural flowing baths range from 98-115 degrees. Indian Springs also offers natural flow gravel-bottomed pools. At the Fire Water Lodge, in room concrete or ceramic tile baths and one outdoor bath are available to overnight guests only, while Hoosier Hot Springs are open to walk ins and offer three outdoor baths and one large indoor bath.
Blackstone Hot Springs offer in room baths, and one in room mineral water shower. Historic baths on the property include two ceramic tiled baths. Three outdoor baths and a Wet Room, which offers geothermal steam and a massaging waterfall, are open to overnight guests and day visitors alike.
Riverbend Hot Springs is located on the banks of the Rio Grande and offers several different soaking options at a range of temperatures. Seven private pools as well as 5 public pools are available to choose from. There is also a sauna on site.
History: More than 50 million years ago, a rift appeared in the Rio Grande that allowed hot thermal water to rise directly to the surface without significantly cooling, surfacing at temperatures of 98 to 115 degrees. The water, rich in 38 different minerals, is neutrally balanced with a pH of 7. It is among the most mineral dense natural spring water in all of the United States, at over 2,700 parts per million.
In the late 1800’s, while neighboring towns were growing thanks to the gold rush, the area of Truth or Consequences became known as Palomas Hot Springs, and visitors would soak in the mud-puddle like springs under canvas tents. It was thought that soaking and covering oneself in mud even cured arthritis. After the Elephant Butte Dam was built in 1916, the newly flood controlled area allowed for more permanent construction to take place. This, along with the fact that Palomas Hot Springs was one of the few area towns to allow for liquor and gambling, caused a spike in population growth.
Truth or Consequences’ spas and bathhouses were built between the 1920’s and 1940’s and took advantage of an America that had recently developed a love for cars, the road trip, roadside resorts, and the health benefits of hot springs bathing. Several bathhouses promoted a 21-Day Soak program, that encouraged guests to stay and soak at the same time each day, for three weeks. Known at times as the Health Capital of the Southwest, or the City of Health, the city of Palomas Hot Springs changed its name to Hot Springs in the early 20th century, then famously, to Truth or Consequences in 1950, following a promotion for a radio game show of the same name.
Today, many of the bathhouses, spas and lodges have been restored, and continue to offer treatments for day visitors and overnight guests, in addition to a full menu of massages and spa services.
Ongoing Programs and Education: The name Truth or Consequences came in 1950 as part of a promotional stunt for a national radio show. To celebrate the 10-year anniversary, the show promised to broadcast from the first town that would name itself after the program. Hot Springs, New Mexico won the honor, and since, the Truth or Consequences Fiesta has taken place in the town every May. The annual event includes junk boat races on the Rio Grande, free admission to area museums, live music and entertainment, a car show, rodeo, and the crowning of Miss Fiesta.
Main Street Truth or Consequences is a group dedicated to the revitalization of downtown, and hosts a Second Saturday Art Hop each month, during which area businesses stay open late to showcase local art, music and food.
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