About This Place
Española (IPA: /ɛspənjoʊlə/) also known as Espanola (without the eñe), is a city primarily in Rio Arriba County, New Mexico, in the United States. A portion of the central and eastern section of the city is in Santa Fe County. Española was founded in 1880 as a railroad village, incorporated as a city in 1925. The city is situated in an area Juan de Oñate declared a capital for Spain in 1598. Española has been called the first capital city in America. At the 2010 census the city had a total population of 10,495, Española is within the Santa Fe-Espanola Combined Statistical Area.
Española was founded in 1879-80, with the introduction of the Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroad. In 1880, the famous railroad which ran predominantly through the Rocky mountain region, announced a route extension of its narrow gauge into Northern New Mexico. The line would be built along the Rio Grande, later known as the Chili Line. The route would extend into what today is the downtown Española area, and the railroad began selling lots of property in the area. Many residents of the nearby town of Santa Fe where not happy with the decision, and failure of connection. The Española station included an Engine facility station along with a Roundhouse and Turntable so they could service the locomotives. The facilities were built but torn down after 6 years, plans for the town had changed. The railroad would later reach Santa Fe to connect with the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway in 1887.
At the time of construction a small restaurant opened up in the area, owned by the Lucero family, it was called "Las Española's". There was no official name for the village at the time, railroad workers began referring to the area "Espanola" (without the eñe) and quickly the name stuck. The name became official by 1900 and Española would became a small "railroad village". Anglo merchants, mountain men, and settlers slowly filtered into Española.