Ghost Towns in New Mexico
They are ghost towns now. But in the late 1800s, each had a moment of glory that blazed and died like a sudden flame. Most were mining towns, where men lusted after the earth’s riches – gold, silver, turquoise, copper, lead and coal. A few were farming communities that flourished for a time and mysteriously fell silent. Literally hundreds of towns not only died, they vanished.
By some estimates, New Mexico is home to more than 400 ghost towns – most are nothing more than a few foundations and some occasional mining equipment.
But traces of many linger on, haunting ties to days that used to be. They molder into oblivion, their shells of buildings like specters against the sky, these towns that witnessed some of America’s most romantic and rapacious history.
And if you listen, you can hear the names of fabled mines whispered on the wind: Bridal Chamber, Confidence, Little Hell, Calamity Jane, Hardscrabble, Mystic Lode, North Homestake, Little Fanny, Spanish Bar. If you look, you can read the names of legendary people written in the dust: Johnny Ringo, Russian, Bill, Toppy Johnson, Roy Bean, Butch Cassidy, Madame Varnish, Black jack Ketchum, Mangas Coloradas, Billy the Kid, James Cooney.
More than a score of these towns have enough life in spite of the ravages of vandals and weather to be interesting to the special breed of human whose eyes light up at the mention of them. Quite a few towns have a number of inhabitants. Please respect their privacy. Many are on private property.