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Magdalena was known as the "Trails End" for the railroad/spur line which was built in 1885 from Socorro to Magdalena to transport the cattle, sheep wool, timber and ore. Thousands of cattle and sheep were driven into town (cowboy style) from the west, using the historic "Stock Driveway", aka "Hoof Highway." The original historic stockyards are still intact.
This historic Stock Driveway was used annually, from 1885 through 1916 when the driveway was officially designated by law through the signing of the "Grazing Homestead Act" and was continually in use through 1971.
The 125 mile driveway extended west to Datil, New Mexico then forked south toward Horse Springs and Reserve, New Mexico, while the other fork led to Springerville, Arizona.
The drive was 5 to 10 miles wide and covered 200 square miles. The peak trailing year, 1919, saw 150,000 sheep and 21,000 cattle pass the point around Ten Mile Hill.
The Civilian Conservation Corp., fenced the driveway in 1930, and drilled a well about every ten miles.
During the drives cowboys moved about 10 miles a day, and herders moved sheep about 5 miles a day, allowing them to graze as they went. Chuck wagons and relays of horses followed behind. Trailing gave way to trucking, and the last portion of the driveway was officially closed in November of 1971.
Mary Magdalene the "Lady on the Mountain" gazes down from the Magdalena Peak today as she has for centuries, keeping a watchful eye over her town.
Kelly Ghost Town
The "Ghost Town of Kelly," located just minutes from Magdalena, was in its day home to close to 3,000 people, with shops, doctors, saloons, churches, hotels and schools. Mining bought prosperity to the area in the early 1880's, but when the ore played out this town was slowly vacated, leaving a small whitewashed church, crumbling foundations, remnants of mine works and a cemetery.
With a visitor's pass you can still visit the Kelly Mine and just by chance you may come across a resident ghost.
28 Miles west of Socorro on US Route 60
Magdalena is 28 miles west of Socorro on US Route 60