The village of Los Cerrillos was first established as a tent camp between the lead and silver mines of the Carbonateville to the north and the coal mining camp of Madrid and the gold mines of the Placer and Ortiz Mountains to the south.
Los Cerrillos flourished as a natural access point between the two areas; however, it really began to grow with the arrival of the railroad in 1880. The town was laid out by the Santa Fe Railroad in 1880 and the same year, a post office was established. Two years later the mining camp became an official city, when the railroad siding was built, the town held its first election, and the first permanent home was completed.
The mineral boom of the Cerrillos Hills peaked in the mid-1880’s when miners were extracting gold, silver, lead, zinc and turquoise from their crusty depths. At this time there were some 3,000 prospectors working the area hills and in the leisure time supported some 21 saloons, five brothels, four hotels, and several newspapers in the city. The town became so well known that it was seriously considered for the capitol of New Mexico. After Cerrillos’ peak mineral production in the 1880’s coal mining began to take over as the mainstay of the economy in the area.
In 1899, it was reported New Mexico’s production of turquoise was valued at $1,600,000, most of it coming from the Cerrillos Hills.
Just a few of the area mines survived into the 20th century, the biggest of which was the American Turquoise Company, a subsidiary of Tiffany’s of New York on the north side of the Cerrillos. When World War I commenced, several of the lead mining operations were reopened, including the Cash Entry and the Tom Paine mines. However, by the time the depression began in 1929, all large company mining was ceased. Today, some small private mines continue to be worked by hobbyists, but the majority of turquoise mined in New Mexico still comes from these beautiful hills.
Today, the charming, tree-shaded town of Los Cerrillos is officially a “ghost town,” though many residents continue to live there and the town thrives as a Santa Fe day trip destination. On some days, these dusty streets are filled with traffic much like they were more than a century ago. The washboard dirt roads of Los Cerrillos and the remaining buildings on its old Front Street look much like a movie set, and in fact have been used as in some 13 movies. The films The Nine Lives of Elfego Baca , Young Guns, Young Guns II, and Vampires were made there, as well as John Wayne’s 1972 movie, The Cowboys, filmed just north of the town.
Warren R. Henry Dome/Observation & Fine Dining
Built in 1955 for the Union Pacific Railroad, the dome car features panoramic viewing upstairs, a formal dining room or boardroom for meetings and a beautifully appointed lower level lounge with satellite TV, DVD, and CD player. A complete bar is located on the lower level. An added feature is an open rear platform where guests can take in the fresh air at each stop along the way.
Evelyn A. Henry Sleeper Car
Built in 1954 for the Union Pacific our deluxe sleeping car features 6 double bedrooms with lower and upper beds. A shower and bathroom is located between each pair of bedrooms. A new feature is the master suite “Grand Canyon” with queen size bed, private bathroom, TV/VCR, and a spacious closet.
The Evelyn Henry can sleep 10 guests utilizing both the lower and upper beds or can be used in suite configuration for 6 guests featuring four deluxe suites with two lower beds in each suite and private bathroom.
First class service includes turndown service in the evening, fresh brewed coffee, newspaper brought to your room in the mornings, and 24-hour laundry service. The on board library offers an excellent selection for nighttime reading.
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