Illustration by Chris Philpot. 


White Rock resident STEVE FOLTYN was getting ready to register a “year of manufacture” license plate for an antique car when he fell into a rabbit hole about New Mexico license plate history. He shared some of his newfound knowledge with us. In the book Early New Mexico License Plates, author Bill Johnston’s note under the timeline entry for 1969 reads: “The letters USA are added after the state name to help geographically-challenged people in other states know where we’re from.” Foltyn also discovered that New Mexico is the only state to specify USA on its license plates. We’re helpful like that!


JULIA OSGOOD and her wife, who live in Las Cruces, served as campground hosts for a Texas state park for a few summers. There, they often socialized with the guests. Toward the end of their stay one year, the couple told a camper they’d soon be heading to New Mexico. The woman asked if they’d need a passport. Maybe their state parks don’t have maps?


RACHEL HORSLEY was reading a review of the film Oppenheimer in a Charlottesville, Virginia, news and arts magazine when she decided to write a letter to the editor. “I was surprised to learn that the city of Los Alamos has apparently been relocated south of the U.S.–Mexico border,” the letter reads. “Despite many folks’ misconceptions, New Mexico became the 47th U.S. state in 1912.” The paper issued a correction, which Horsley triumphantly photographed and sent our way. They must’ve found that movie about the Mexican bomb pretty confusing!

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