Portales is a doorway into rich human history that stretches back 11,000 years, from the Paleo-Indian mastodon hunters to the cattle baron era. Five museums located throughout the city offer an extensive look at history. Blackwater Draw Site, designated a National Historic Landmark, is one of the most well-known and significant sites in North American archaeology. This site, just north of Portales, is known to have been first occupied by man around 11,000 years ago. Blackwater Draw Museum, just east of Portales on U.S. 70, offers a comprehensive display about prehistoric animals such as the Woolly Mammoth. The Miles Mineral Museum, Miles Anthropology Museum, Roosevelt County Historical Museum and Natural History Museum are all housed on the Eastern New Mexico University campus.
Portales is home to the Dalley Windmill Museum. With over 80 windmills of all types, sizes and ages, the collection is one of the largest in the southwest. Currently located on the Dalley property on Kilgore Avenue along Portales’ eastern edge, the collection is scheduled to be moved to a new home at the Roosevelt County Fairgrounds by early 2012.
An historic walking tour brochure of downtown Portales is available at the Chamber. The tour features a variety of buildings and monuments, including the New Deal-era Roosevelt County Courthouse and Portales Post Office, which feature WPA murals. Also included are two early banks, the Portales Train Depot, The Ice House, Yam Theatre, Travelers Inn, Governor Lindsey’s statue and other historic landmarks.