EDDY COUNTY was named for Charles B. Eddy, a rancher in southeastern New Mexico during the last decades of the 19th century. He also was the promoter of the Carlsbad Irrigation Project, which turned formerly arid land to fertile farms. Carlsbad, the county seat, is home of the famous Carlsbad Caverns. The Waste Isolation Pilot Project (WIPP) a massive underground facility nearly a half-mile underground in a salt bed provides storage for much of the nation’s low-level radioactive waste. The county is also the site of large oil deposits (the first strike was at Dayton, NM in 1909) and some of the largest potash deposits in the United States. The original courthouse built a few years after the creation of the county was a Victorian structure built for $21,000 with a steeple and dark colored brick made locally and additions are similar. When New Deal funds ($185,000) became available in 1939, the architecture of the building was drastically changed to an early Spanish style as it appears today. Eddy County’s population as of 2000 was 51,658.