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New Mexico Ghost Towns—a Glimpse into the Past 

If you’re driving through New Mexico, it is very likely you will stumble upon unassuming ruins and structures on the side of the road.

They may not seem like much, but these buildings show a glimpse into what once was when New Mexico was home to mining towns.

Gold, silver, turquoise, copper, lead, and coal at one point could be found in New Mexico mines. As mines dried up and men and their families moved on, the settlements stayed put, only to be beaten down by the elements.

Thankfully for curious visitors today, visiting these towns is as simple as pulling off the highway and taking your phone out for some pictures. 

Shakespeare Ghost Town

Source: Ammodramus/Wikipedia

Shakespeare was home to a great diamond hoax in the 1870s, when salaried silvers miners lied about finding diamonds west of town to distract independent miners who were stealing their jobs.

This lie didn’t destroy the town, but the lack of railroad did and in 1893 the mines closed. The town is now privately owned and welcomes visitors one weekend a month or by appointments.

There are live reenactments even held to teach visitors about the town’s storied history! 

Loma Parda 

Loma Parda still has a few residents, but not like it used to in the late 1800s. Back then, the town was known to be an escape for soldiers to get away from Fort Union.

Populated with saloons and dance halls, gambling and women, the town certainly got many young men in trouble back then. The only way to access the town now is by footbridge and there are still structures visitors can explore.

But be weary if you visit after dark—the town is said to be haunted by the souls who had too much fun one night and made Loma Parda their final resting place. 


Source: Cam Vilray/ Wikipedia

Mogollon still had mining activities going on into the 1970s, nearly unheard of for many boom towns in the Southwest United States.

The town still has wooden and adobe buildings standing that visitors can walk around, as well as an art gallery, museum, antique store, and café open for long weekends Friday to Sunday, May to October.

Be sure to take the hike up to Graveyard Gulch to see the town’s ruins of old miners shacks and an overgrown graveyard. 


Source: Dan/Flickr

Perhaps not the most tradition ghost town mentioned, Madrid had a resurrection in the 1970s thanks to the creative community that calls the town home now.

Only 50 years prior, Madrid was known as much for its coal as it was for being a Christmas light spectacular. Airlines even rerouted their flights to give passengers a glimpse from above.

A great family day trip now from Santa Fe, there is a historic main street, restaurants, and quirky finds that make this a must stop place! 

Overwhelmingly, New Mexico mining towns went boom to bust quickly compared to other states that grew thanks to this industry. Many of the abandoned towns have been destroyed by nature after years of neglect. It is important to visit the remains of what is left in order to remember and appreciate how far we’ve all come in only a little more than a centuries time. 

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