New Mexico September 27, 2016
The Abandoned Town In New Mexico That Most People Stay Far, Far Away From
Today, most people stay away from Dawson, a town located between Cimarron and Raton. Since the cemetery is all that remains of this old mining settlement, that’s not surprising. However, the fact that it’s a ghost town is not what keeps visitors at bay. See, Dawson is a haunted ghost town.
At the start of the 20th century, about 2000 people lived in Dawson.
The town’s amenities included a hotel, post office, newspaper, mercantile, and school.
The Phelps Dodge Corporation purchased the town’s mines in 1906, turning Dawson into a company town.
The company invested in Dawson, establishing a hospital, movie theater, swimming pool, bowling alley, and opera house. The population swelled to around 9000.
This is what the main street looked like in 1916.
At its peak, in 1918, the mines in Dawson produced 4 million tons of coal.
These are the town’s coke ovens in 1920. As you can see, the mining operation here was a substantial one.
This all sounds like a recipe for success, but mining has always been a risky endeavor and, on October 22, 1913, tragedy struck in Dawson.
At 3:00 p.m. a massive explosion occurred in one of the mines. It was strong enough to literally shake the town.
Rescue crews worked for two days to free the 23 surviving miners; two crewmembers perished from gas inhalation as they worked. Out of the 284 miners who entered the mine on the morning of October 22nd, 261 died. It was the second worst coal mining disaster in U.S. history.
The cemetery here is larger than you might expect for a town of its size.
That’s because it had to be expanded to accommodate all those who lost their lives on 22nd October.
A decade later, on February 8th 1923, history repeated itself.
Sparks from a derailed mining car lit some coal dust on fire, causing another explosion. This accident claimed the lives of 121 miners.
Despite the double tragedy, it wasn’t until 1950 that the Phelps Dodge Corporation abandoned the mines and the town.
Some structures were relocated, but the majority of the buildings were razed, leaving just the cemetery behind.
Dawson is located on private property, but you can get close enough to the cemetery to feel a certain tension in the air. That coupled with the unnatural stillness may be why many believe this ghost town to be haunted.
Did you know anyone who lived in Dawson? Tell us on the
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Dawson is one of hundreds of
ghost towns scattered across New Mexico. Some, like Cuervo, remain intact yet creepy, while others are only a memory.