|The What Not antique shop|
At the towns peak in the 1880's, Cerrillos NM had as many as twenty-seven saloons and four hotels. The total number of saloons has never been officially verified however as we know with the California mining camps of the early 1850's, building a saloon often required as little as a tent and a card table. Also, as in the case of many towns like it, the growth happened almost overnight. Such is the rapid growth only something like a rich mine strike will produce. Gold, silver, lead and zinc were the valuable minerals extracted from it's mines.
|St. Joseph Parish, Cerrillos, NM|
It's been estimated that most of New Mexico's turquoise production did indeed come from the Cerrillos Hills. The Spaniards themselves in the 1600's found gold, silver and lead deposits. Much of the work was performed by pueblo Indian slave labor which was the norm at the time. It was this type of treatment of the native population which would eventually lead to the great Pueblo Revolt of 1680 that drove the Spaniards out of New Mexico for twelve years.
Cerrillos NM experienced a second boom or rediscovery in 1879 when two Colorado prospectors found rich mineral deposits in the area. There were over 1,000 mine claims filed in short order. The Santa Fe Railroad built a line down to Cerrillos in 1879. Just as with the mining towns of California, the settlement began with tents being erected and then in short order permanent structures which included saloons, hotels, churches, houses, dance halls and mercantile stores. The old Palace Hotel in Cerrillos was known to host several prominent guests during it's existence including Ulysses S. Grant and Thomas A. Edison.
|The Cerrillos Hills|
Two additional New Mexico tourism articles we've published are Madrid New Mexico on the Turquoise Trail and the world famous Sandia Peak Tramway.
The State of New Mexico has added the Cerrillos Hills Mining District on the list of New Mexico State Register of Historic Properties. If you're looking for a perfect short day trip while visiting Santa Fe NM, Cerrollos is a perfect addition to your vacation planner. Cerrillos New Mexico is located about 25 miles south of Santa Fe on NM 14.
(Photos are from author's private collection)
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