New Mexico January 12, 2017
These 12 Well Preserved Ghost Towns In New Mexico Are Frozen In Time
There are people who are willing to drive for three hours to stare at a small piece of crumbling wall because it’s all that remains of a particular ghost town. While it’s important to remember the past and the stories of those who have gone before us, some people want to see more than a plaque or the foundation of a building. If you fall into that category, you’ll love these 12 New Mexico ghost towns. It’s easy to imagine what each one was once like because they all have intact buildings. So read on to discover which New Mexico ghost towns truly appear frozen in time.
It can be tricky to decide what constitutes a ghost town. Does it still count if a handful of residents remain but most of the buildings are abandoned? For the purposes of this article, we’ve included such places because they tend to be better preserved.
Nowadays, about 20 people call Chloride home, a far cry from the population levels in 1880s, when it was a vibrant mining town. Unfortunately, the 1893 silver panic led to the town’s demise. There are 27 intact structures remaining in Chloride, along with an old “hanging tree.”
Shakespeare was an unruly town where, according to the code of conduct, if you killed someone then you had to dig his grave. Hopefully, in the dry climate of Southern New Mexico, that proved a deterrent. People were drawn to Shakespeare by the promise of diamonds… although that turned out to be a hoax.
The town remains in good condition because it’s privately owned. However, tours are available.
For more info.
The first Gold Rush to take place west of the Mississippi occurred in Golden. Established in 1879, this mining town was developed enough to have its own stock exchange! By 1928, the town had declined and the post office was shuttered.
Today, one business remains operational. The Henderson Store originally opened as the Golden General Merchandise Store, in 1918. Now it sells Southwestern arts and crafts. The San Francisco Catholic Church is also in good repair, since it was restored in 1960.
Steins was founded in 1880, when the Southern Pacific Railroad decided to blast a pass through the Peloncillo Mountains. At one point this railroad town boasted two saloons, a dance hall, and a two-story hotel. A combination of the railroad leaving town and a lack of water struck the death knell for Steins. Today, you can tour this privately owned town.
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Mogollon started out as a mining settlement and grew into a successful silver and gold mining town with a population of between 3000 and 6000 people. The town had a bank, post office, jail, schoolhouse, along with saloons and brothels.
Mining operations shut down in the 1970s. Today you can see structures, old mining equipment, and the cemetery.
To reach the cemetery follow this ghost town hike.
Fair warning: Cabezon is on private property. However, you can view quite a bit of the property from the fence, along with Cabezon Peak. Once a farming town and stage stop, Cabezon declined in the 1940s after its leading citizen died and the Rio Puerco dried up.
8. White Oaks
Believe it or not, White Oaks used to be the second biggest city in New Mexico after Santa Fe! The town gained prominence after a pure vein of gold was uncovered inside Baxter Mountain. When the gold was mined out, the town became derelict. Several buildings remain, including one open business: the No Scum Allowed Saloon.
Glenrio, a town near the Texas border, never had a boom but it was straggling along just fine with business from travelers along Route 66. However, when I-40 bypassed town, Glenrio couldn’t survive. Old gas stations and restaurants are still here, decaying in the sun.
10. Los Cerrillos
Gold, turquoise, silver, coal, copper, and lead mining put Cerrillos on the map. The jewelry store Tiffany’s once owned a turquoise mine in town. When the mines closed, the town dwindled, leaving behind a gorgeous church and a main drag lined with buildings.
The 17 original structures and outbuildings in Lincoln bring the town’s past to life. And what a past it was. The Lincoln County Wars raged here between 1878 and 1881 and a stroll through these streets takes you back in time.
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Cuervo was founded at the start of the 20th century. The railroad town received business from those driving along Route 66. When I-40 sliced the town in two, Cuervo began to falter. The town has 58 residents, but most of the buildings are empty. It’s as if people just walked out one day, leaving their lives behind.
For more info.
Have you been to any of these abandoned places?
To make ghost town exploration even simpler, we’ve compiled a
ghost town road trip that connects several spots together into a convenient loop.