The City of Truth or Consequences, with enthusiastic approval from the New Mexico Historic Preservation Division, has recently converted a portion of the Lee Belle Johnson Building in downtown Truth or Consequences into an interim Spaceport America Visitor Center.
The historic building was constructed as part of the WPA program in 1935. Built in the Pueblo Revival style, its purpose was to house the Hot Springs City Hall and the Library. It served as City Hall until the 1950s, after which it became (in no particular order) the Senior Center, the Police Department, and even, according to one source, the location of the Sierra County Fair.
In July of 2010 the building was renamed in honor of one of Sierra County’s best-loved Cowboy Poets, Lee Belle Johnson. A room dedicated to Lee Belle’s work and her life will be open for visitors to enjoy, while a Library Room will provide a quiet place for reading books and other information on Sierra County and the Southwest.
The Geronimo Trail National Scenic Byway Visitor’s Center, formerly located at 529 Broadway, is also relocating to the LBJ. The Visitor’s Center will continue providing brochures, maps and other useful information on Truth or Consequences, Sierra County, the Byway, and beyond to visitors. Staff will be on hand 7 days per week to answer questions and greet out-of-towners who have come to explore and enjoy our area and its assets. A new website has been launched at GeronimoTrail.com in conjunction with the move.
The interim Spaceport America Visitors Center will showcase state-of-the-art displays related to the Spaceport and the future of Commercial Space Travel. The designated Spaceport America tour company, Follow the Sun Tours, will utilize the LBJ as the starting point for tours to the Spaceport America facility located 35 miles southeast of Truth or Consequences.
Spaceport America Visitor Center displays are currently being installed in the former auditorium/ballroom (shown below). When the interim Visitor’s Center is officially open to the public, the exhibit space will be staffed by Follow the Sun Tours and all will be welcome to visit during open hours on tour days.
Bringing two Visitor Centers to a beautiful and historic building located in the heart of downtown Truth or Consequences is sure to bring more traffic and interest to the area, which is already home to a unique collection of shops and galleries, an array of restaurants, and of course the nine spas where Truth or Consequences’ famous mineral waters await all who come to bathe away their stress, aches and pains.