|Another ghost town to visit. There are so many around here that we might have to stay for even longer!
Today we went to the town of Hillsboro. It was about a 40 minute drive through the most beautiful countryside. Over the hills and through the dales, with the both of us going “oooh & ahhh” each time we rounded a bend.
Hillsboro was born in 1877 when gold was found at the mines nearby. Despite fierce Indian attacks the town grew. To name the town they had a drawing. You put your suggestion in a hat and if drawn, it became the new town's name. The winning name was Hillsborough, from the man's hometown in Ohio. It was shortened to Hillsboro. By 1907 it had 1,200 people who called it home. The area mines produced 6 million in gold and silver. But, then a slowdown occurred and people started to leave. Now, the town has 80 residents.
There is a 120 year old general store (and café), the Black Range Museum (named for the mountain range you pass through to get to town, a beautiful Catholic Church and some of the nicest people you would ever want to meet.
In the museum, we had to pleasure of meeting 86 year old June, the proprietress. Very, very friendly, funny and smiled all the time.
She told us that the museum was once one of Hillsboro’s famous resident’s brothel. That would be Sadie Orchard. Sadie owned the brothel, the hotel, restaurants and even drove for a stagecoach line.
June said that the kitchen was run by a Chinese man and the room next to the kitchen became known as the Chinaman’s Restaurant. There are 7 rooms in the museum/brothel. The most interesting thing was there were no doors on any of the rooms. She thought they might have put up a curtain for privacy.
June’s aunt purchased the property with everything in it and it has now become the Black Range Museum. The museum has stuff from top to bottom in each room. It is a hands on museum, free to pick up anything and feel it in your hand. So much stuff to look at.
Inside the museum helping June rearrange items, were Jane & Steve. A super nice couple, very welcoming, friendly. The kind of people that when you meet them you know that you could become fast friends. Jane is a great girl and we hit it off immediately. Steve has a super sense of humor and they told us lots of stuff about the town. How everyone is so friendly, they help each other out, volunteering for many events that the town puts on for tourists. He is the manager for the Ladder Bison Ranch owned by Ted Turner.
He told us that Ted’s propuerty was 400 square miles. Incredible, huh?
We had lunch at the General Store & Café. It is loaded with wonderful western artifacts with an old lunch counter and ice cream freezer. Stuff on the walls up to the ceiling. John had a meatloaf sandwich and I had the best veggie burger ever! It was grilled zucchini/onions/mushrooms/chili peppers and melted swiss cheese on a bun. To die for!! We ran into June, Steve and Jane in the restaurant and they invited us to go to a musical concert in the town tomorrow. Should be fun.
One sad thing was that there were so many houses for sale. I would say that in this small town we saw at least 10 homes for sale. One thing we did find out is that many of them are older people who are moving away.
And, last but not least, we followed the road up the hill to the Cemetery. Still in use, but not kept up. This cemetery had stories to tell.....just read the captions on the photos.
We thought it would a dream to win…say $75 million on lotto. Keep in mind that this is a dream….. okay, we win the money. We buy up some land there and make an old western town coinciding with the look it has now. We build small homes to rent for tourists in a cowboy/cowgirl theme. Jim, if you are reading this, we sure could use your help!
We would help the economy of the town bringing in an influx of people with money to burn. What a hoot that would be? Guess we had better go buy some tickets!
Hope you are enjoying our tour of ghost towns, I know we sure are.
I know, you need another New Mexico fact…..so, here it is:
Well-paid single men in Elephant Butte, New Mexico are in the top 19% compared to the rest of the state.
Okay, single ladies better hike up your cowgirl boots and head on over here!