In 1894, the railroad came through the lower Pecos Valley to link Roswell to Eddy (today’s Carlsbad). The siding half-way between the two towns was named “Miller” after a brakeman who worked for the rail-road (other sources cite G.E. “Jeff” Miller, a construction engineer).
A store opened at the Miller siding by 1898, and other buildings soon joined “the store at Miller”. More settlers joined the community, and as they drilled for water, our area’s artesian wells were discovered. By that time Miller had a post office, and the community’s name was officially changed to “Stegman” in 1899, after our first postmistress.
Artesia is Born
By 1903, the Artesia Townsite Company and the Artesia Improvement Company had been formed by businessmen to promote settlement in our town. Their first project was to change Stegman’s name to “Artesia” to capitalize on the abundant water available here. Artesia was officially incorporated two years later in 1905.
The artesian wells were a visual and agricultural attraction to early settlers until the early 1920s when the area’s artesian wells began to dwindle due to 20 years of unchecked flow. Not only did the artesian wells draw in settlers, the discovery of oil became a top seller to prospective investors and settlers several years later. Today, the oil and gas industry continues to flourish in the Artesia area along with farming and ranching.