Initially, the Anasazi “basketmakers” laid roots in current-day Farmington more than 2,000 years ago, living in “pit houses” and later in pueblo edifices.
These historic living quarters can still be seen today in the nearby countryside ruins. Upon the Anasazis departure from the area came the Navajo, Jicarilla Apache and the Utes, making Farmington home to this day.
In the late 1700s, the Spanish traveled through, ultimately settling in the eastern section of San Juan County in the early 1800s. Even with these new inhabitants, the area did not begin to grow in population until the mid 1870s when the veritable settlement of Farmingtown, eventually shortened to Farmington, was established. Pioneers from Animas City, Colorado settled the town at the convergence of the La Plata, Animas and San Juan Rivers. Farmington began to grow, boasting a thriving farm and ranch economy. The town was soon incorporated as a city in 1901. (Farmington celebrated its centennial year not long ago, in 2001.)
Apples proved to be a prime crop in Farmington in the early 1900s, with approximately 53,000 apple trees in the San Juan area producing a wide variety of product. During the 20th century, the city experienced a number of oil and gas booms, and at one point, Farmington was recognized as the chief oil and gas producing area in the state. Though the industry is still prevalent in the area today, standing strong as the largest employers, Farmington has enjoyed a diversified economy encompassing an assortment of businesses. The city has even earned the distinction of being a regional retail hub in this New Mexico region.