American Frontiers PLIADOIBLMUSDA FSGeography Action from NGSHondaColemanCoca-Cola
Search
About
Dispatches
The Trek
Exhibits


Lake Valley
Early Days of Lake Valley

Hitting the Motherlode

From Boom to Bust



History
Battle of Big Dry Wash, AZ

Classrooms for the Nation

South Pass & the Overland Trail

7000 Years of History in SW Wyoming

Spanish Explorers in the US

Brief History of Lake Valley, NM

History in the Rio Abajo



Exhibits

Conservation

History: Those Who Came Before

Lifeways: Living with the Land

Public Lands: The Big Backyard

Nature: Changing Lands

Resources: Bountiful Lands

Geography of Freedom Gallery
Great quotations, great pictures, great public lands.

Public Lands Timeline
Great moments in public lands history.



Lessons
Geo Action

PLIC Museum
Home

 Exhibits: History: Lake Valley


-----------
    Rise and Fall of Lake Valley
View
One of the mines, now abandoned, which helped Lake Valley flourish 100 years ago.

One of the mines, now abandoned, which helped Lake Valley flourish 100 years ago.
Courtesy Lorie McGraw

View
One of the many ruined houses in the Lake Valley ghost town

One of the many ruined houses in the Lake Valley ghost town
Courtesy Lorie McGraw

In 1884 the Santa Fe railroad built a spur line to Lake Valley and the town continued to grow as a commercial center for the other mining camps in the mountains. The Lake Valley mines up to 1893 produced about five million dollars in silver, but over four million was spent on equipment and labor.

The mining company struggled to survive, but the decline in silver prices in 1893 caused them to close the mines, never to reopen them. The company leased the mines to individuals and groups of local miners who continued to work the mines on a small scale. Most of these miners were lucky if they covered expenses. In 1900 Lucius Fisher won all the property of the mining company in a poker game in Denver. Fisher hired miners and tried to start large scale mining again, but gave up this effort after World War I. After the depression most Lake Valley residents left for better paying jobs.

View
Cemetary at Lake Valley ghost town, New Mexico

Cemetary at Lake Valley ghost town, New Mexico
Courtesy Approaching the Lake Valley ghost town, on BLM lands

By 1900 the population of Lake Valley had declined to less than 200 people. It remained the shopping center for area ranchers as well as the supply center for the mining towns 20 to 30 miles north of Lake Valley until the railroad closed in the 1930s. By the 1950s the population was down to a few dozen people only a few of which eked out a living by working in the mines.

There was a brief revival in the 1950s when a company mined manganese at Lake Valley. The manganese mining stopped in 1956, and even the school closed as ranch children were bussed to Hillsboro. The last resident of Lake Valley was a retired miner, Pedro Martinez, who came from the same silver mining town in Mexico as New Mexico’s first governor. Pedro Martinez came from Zacatecas with his parents in 1906. Pedro and his wife Sabina moved to Deming in 1994, making Lake Valley a true ghost town.

-----------
    Lake Valley Today
View
The Lake Valley school closed in the 1950s, but is run as a museum today

The Lake Valley school closed in the 1950s, but is run as a museum today
Courtesy Lorie McGraw

View
Living history program in Lake Valley ghost town

Living history program in Lake Valley ghost town
Courtesy Lorie McGraw

The Bureau of Land Management, which owns most of the town made it part of the Lake Valley Scenic Byway and has worked to preserve the town, maintaining a museum in the old school house. The BLM caretaker welcomes visitors and protects the surviving buildings and old mine head frames. [TOWN PHOTO?] [HEADFRAME PHOTO]

Lake Valley, like many a western mining camp, has gone full circle from wilderness to boom town to ghost town in the middle of wide open ranch country. Only the memories and buildings survive from 120 years ago when it was a wild frontier town with miners loosing their lives to Apaches and vigilantes as well as to the hazards of mining.

Links for More Information

  Part One--


TOP





All material copyright ©2002 - 2018, Public Lands Interpretive Association except photographs where ownership is otherwise indicated. All rights reserved.