Cerrillos Historical Society

We in Cerrillos realized we were close to losing our town history. With few facts and many stories we formed the Historical Society. Our goal was to plaque the buildings with their histories. Bill Baxter went to the State Archives and area libraries looking for history on the owners of each building. The wording on the plaques was approved by their current owners and 19 plaques have been installed throughout  the village.  Families are encouraged to share their Cerrillos stories and pictures to help preserve those memories for the future.
Contact Todd & Patricia Brown at the Cerrillos Turquoise Mining Museum on Waldo Street. patricia@cerrillosnewmexico.com
Cerrillos started in 1880 as a mining town when the railroad came through the Galisteo River valley. Cerrillos supported the mining district to the North. There are over 2,000 Territorial mines in the hills. The mines produced Gold, Copper, Silver, Galena, Turquoise, Manganese and Iron.  The prehistoric mining of Cerrillos Turquoise began around 900 A.D. and was traded far and wide. For a 38 minute interview conducted by NM Abandoned Mines & Minerals Department on Mining History of the Cerrillos Hills visit  https://youtu.be/ubE9fVC_P2M.

The First Cerrillos

900 to 1150 and beyond – Intensive turquoise use; some turquoise at Chaco Canyon is confirmed as coming from Cerrillos.

1320 to about 1700 – Cerrillos galena, lead ore from the Mina del Tiro and Bethsheba mines, is the material of choice for the widely popular northern New Mexico lead glaze decorated pottery.

1695 -1696 – Diego de Vargas names Alfonso Rael de Aguilar as Alcalde of El Real de Los Cerrillos, the lead & silver mining camp 7 miles north of modern Cerrillos, on the north side of Las Sierras de San Marcos (Cerrillos Hills).

Origins of Cerrillos Station

1871 – Territorial Delegate to Congress Stephen B. Elkins buys 606 acres of the future site of Cerrillos, at $2.50 an acre. Elkins and Tom Catron form the Cerrillos Land Company. In this same year Elkins gains ownership of the 108-square mile Ortiz Mining Grant, which includes the nearby coal deposits at the Cerrillos Coal Bank.

January 15, 1879 – Frank Dimmick & Robert Hart register their Bonanza #3 claim in the Cerrillos Hills, marking the beginning of the Cerrillos mining boom. Within a year there are a thousand claims being worked. The big boom city is Carbonateville, 2.5 miles north.

October 20, 1879 – One of the thousand claims, the Pride of Marshalltown Lode was recorded on this date as “one mile southeast from Turquoise Mountain and about one mile north of new town.” New town was a railroad work camp that would later become Cerrillos.

Cerrillos Station Booms

Spring 1880 – Cerrillos boasts 26 saloons, an unverifiable fact, but entirely possible. All you need for a saloon is a tent, a few bottles and a card table. If you aspire to be a First Class Saloon however, then you also need some upstairs entertainment.

Mid-February 1880 - the first rails reach Cerrillos a week after the first train pulls into Santa Fe.

March 8, 1880 Cerrillos Founder’s Day.

1880 – Judge D.D. and Myra Harkness build one of the first residential houses in Cerrillos Station, on Railroad Avenue between Second and Third, and the hearty meals Mrs. Harkness provides to the railroad workers quickly expand, with their house, into the 18-room Cerrillos House Hotel, facing the railroad tracks, occupying most of that block.

1881 – Wells Fargo & Co. opens an Express Office in Cerrillos.

1882 – The A.T. & S.F. Railroad builds a depot at Cerrillos Station.

1883 – Cerrillos’ first school opens across the tracks, on the North side.

1884 – The Methodist Episcopal Church on Waldo Street is the town’s second church, after St. Joseph’s Catholic on First Street. The Cerrillos Hills mining boom begins to wind down as many of the miners drift off in quest of richer grounds.

1888 – Richard Green builds the Palace Hotel, a 2-story masonry and wood-frame landmark that becomes Cerrillos’grandest and finest hostelry. The Palace Hotel hosts the town doctor’s office, dentist, and tailor. For years the dark stain on the floor of Dr. Palmer’s second-floor office, the relic of Black Jack Ketchum’s bullet wound is the local must-see attraction. The first meeting of the Cerrillos Masonic Lodge is held at the Palace in their upstairs room.

This year sees another new stone building, at the east end of Main Street; the town jail. The Cerrillos Gas & Water co. is organized. Plans are made for gas lighting. William C. Hurt buys a large hall, "the Opera House" on Main Street. It is the regular venue for bailes (dances) and meetings.

February 19, 1890, 11am – Nelly Bly, the famous New York World reporter who was racing back to New York on her round-the-world in 80 days journey (she made it in 72 days, 6 hours, 11 minutes, 14 seconds). Her train stopped at Cerrillos only long enough to take on water. The 67 miles from Albuquerque to Lamy by rail was done at the breakneck speed of 46 miles an hour!

June 23, 1890 – A fire consumes the entire block.“From Hogan’s (bar) to the Cerrillos House (hotel).” - thirteen buildings gone.

By 1891 – Cerrillos, pop. 1,000 is down to a respectable 5 saloons.

August 29, 1891 – Cerrillos is incorporated. William E. Dame is elected chair of the town’s board of trustees, and C.H.Whited is town clerk.

October 1891 – Father Defouri purchases for St. Joseph’s church the triangular piece of land across the San Marcos arroyo, on the Santa Fe road, for a cemetery site.

Spring 1892 – The concrete dam is built on San Marcos arroyo, three miles northeast of town.

1892 – The two-story stone school house was built in Otro Lado, the other side (south) of the Galisteo River, and it opened that September with John Barnhart as the English teacher and Flavio Silva the Spanish teacher.

Summer 1892 – The Cerrillos Land Company puts suburban lots in Otro Lado up for sale, and they sell briskly at $40 each.

August 1892 – The new railroad spur to Coal Bank is completed and the town of Madrid is born.

1893 – The first “permanent” bridge across the Galisteo, a cable-supported footbridge, ran from the south end of First Street across to Otro Lado. The swayback bridge is dismantled five years later out of fears over its safety.

Late 1897 – The Mary Mining & Smelting Company builds, on Elkins property just across San Marcos Arroyo, a smelter. In five years it goes broke.

1899 – The Cochiti Gold Mining Company builds an Edison coal-fired dynamo at Madrid, which provides Cerrillos with its first electric lights.

January 1900 – The Thomas A. Edison mill at Dolores, in the Ortiz

1901 – A vehicle bridge is built where the footbridge had been, and First Street in Cerrillos, the first and only paved street in town, becomes a part of State Highway 10.

 A Quiet Town

February 10, 1904 – The Cerrillos electorate – adult male residents who had paid their poll tax for that year – voted 23 to 8, to disincorporate.

1905 – Cerrillos’ first telephone line runs between Cerrillos and Santa Fe. This same year Joe Vergolio plants three cottonwood trees at the corner of First and Waldo, in exchange for beer.

1907 – James P. McNulty, the superintendent of the Tiffany turquoise mine, buys the three corner lots on Main Street at First, in Cerrillos, the location of the future Tiffany Saloon.

1909 – Dr. Friend Palmer gets one of the first automobiles in town.

1921-22 – St. Joseph’s Church building is replaced. The first church building is removed, its location now the church parking lot. Of the many Franciscan Fathers who served at St. Joseph’s, perhaps the most well known is Fray Angelico Chavez, who was pastor here from 1960 to 1964.

1926 to 1932 – The entire State road 10 highway between Tijeras and Santa Fe was rerouted and improved. The old First Street bridge across the Galisteo River is replaced (1928), and that bridge, in turn, is washed out by a flood in 1955. The subsequent replacement, a quarter-mile east, eliminates highway traffic from First Street and from the town.

1929 -1942– the second floor of the school building in Otro Lado is the home of Cerrillos High School.

1958 – Walt Disney shoots portions of“The Nine Lives of Elfego Baca” in Cerrillos

1962 – The Cerrillos primary school is closed because of diminished enrollment and economic problems.

1962 – Fran Eckols and Nadine Heiden, buy McNulty’s former buildings and open the Tiffany’s restaurant and Saloon.

1968 – J. W. Eaves builds a Western movie set for the film “Cheyenne Social Club” on his ranch a few miles north of Cerrillos.

October 27, 1968 – The Palace Hotel burns down. The caretaker is out of town and a motorcycle group has gotten into the building. The hotel burns after they leave.

1973 – The state’s highways are renumbered. SR 10 becomes SR 14 and eventually becomes known as The Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway in 1990.

March 15, 1977 – The Tiffany Saloon, which Fran& Nadine had been subleasing at the time, was lost to arson, in an unsuccessful attempt to get the insurance.

January 2000 – The people of Santa Fe County purchased 1,116 acres of the Cerrillos Hills for a public open space, and in mid 2003 the Santa Fe County Cerrillos Hills Historic Park opens.

September 2009 – Cerrillos Hills State Park opens.

Submitted by Bill Baxter


Cerrillos Buildings & their History
The Briggs Building
The earliest records, from 1893, show the two structures on the east side of First Street that are today the Briggs Building as separate saloons. By the late 1890s they had merged into one large saloon, but by 1902 they were separate again, the building on the north selling clothes & dry goods and the one of the south a general store. During Prohibition (1920-1933) a tunnel was dug beneath First Street (which at the time served as State Highway 10) that allowed surreptitious movement of goods between the basement of this building and the basement of Torreano’s store across the street. Many of the locals were experienced miners and this is not the only Prohibition-inspired unofficial tunnel in Cerrillos. In 1957 E. J. Mitch & Margie Mitchell moved their antique store from the DeLallo-Simoni building and reopened here as the What Not Shop. The final curtain call for the store was August 2013. In 2014 the building was purchased by Tom & Barbara Briggs and extensively remodeled. Cerrillos Historical Society Plaque #1
The Cerrillos Bar
Charles Lyon of Carbonateville built the first structure on this site sometime after 1884, and by 1893 he operated a restaurant and the post office here. In the early 1900s this became Ella Weltmer’s stationery & books and ice cream parlor. The Cerrillos ice house - harvest and store ice in winter; sell it in summer - was situated behind this building. Tony Tappero bought the old building from Ella in 1918 and replaced it with this current structure, which for nearly two decades served as the Sahd Brothers general store. In 1936 Tony & Catherine Tappero opened the Cerrillos Bar here, with their daughter Mary and her husband Leo Mora taking it over in 1977.  After the filming of YOUNG GUNS the sign over the bar was changed to read Mary’s Bar, by which name it has been known ever since. Cerrillos Historical Society Plaque #2
The DeLallo-Simoni-Torres Building
J. H. Gerdes’ tailor & dry goods store was here, possibly as early as the mid 1880s, and certainly during the 1890s. This structure is present on the 1893 Sanborn map. In 1893 Main Street ended at the river bank east of this building, where the tiny Cerrillos jail blocked the street. For the first three decades of the 20th century this was Tom DeLallo’s building, first as a saloon, but by 1909 as the Cerrillos Mercantile Company, which grew to have branches in San Pedro (south of Golden) and Waldo (west of Cerrillos). Around 1930 Mike Leyba acquired this building, and in 1934 he sold it to Tony Simoni, who also owned the larger building next door. Businesses here have included the Monte Carlo Bar and Mitchell’s Antiques (1954-57). In the late 1970s it housed the reborn town newspaper, the Cerrillos Rustler. The Montoya family had the building for 80 years. In 2010 the building received a major overhaul by Anthony Montoya and sold to Patrick & Kelly Torres. Cerrillos Historical Society Plaque #3
The Simoni Store
In 1892 Sarah Jones purchased these lots on the east side of First Street and her husband, L. G. Jones, built this two-story structure,which housed at various time Benn & Jones bar, Miller & Legace drugs & novelties, Mrs. Doyle’s dry goods, groceries & notions, a feed store, and a meat market. On the upper floor were the Knights of Pythias lodge quarters and hotel rooms. Antonio Simoni, of Madrid, was one of those known to be outspoken and sympathetic to the working miners, and when the Albuquerque & Cerrillos Coal Company bosses made it clear he was not welcome in Madrid, Tony moved, in 1914, beyond their control across the line to Cerrillos. In 1919 for $3,000 Tony bought this building from E. W. Callender, and operated his grocery here. August Probst ran the meat market on the premises. Upon Tony’s death in 1956 this building passed to Edith & Corrina Simoni. Corrina, the last of the original Cerrillos Simonis, died in 2011. In 2014 the building was bought by Russel Saimons.  Cerrillos Historical Society Plaque #4
Rafael Granito’s General Store
Stephen B. Elkins’ Cerrillos Town Company first sold this lot sometime before 1893, and a general store was built upon it. Elkins, by this time, was no longer resident in New Mexico, so his friend and legal agent, Tom Catron, negotiated the sale and kept the proceeds against money he argued Elkins owed him. By 1898 a small house was situated on the river bank behind this store. For a time around 1902 this building was a carpentry shop, and then by 1910 it was a general store again, this time owned by Rafael Granito. Later it was John Koury’s store. The building eventually passed to Rafael’s son, Joe, becoming part of the Granito Block. J.P. McNulty, manager of the Tiffany turquoise mine, owned and lived in the house out back, which led to acrimony and eventually court action over McNulty’s right of access. McNulty’s building was lost in the late 1920s to a flood. This building was Fran Eckols & Nadine Heiden’s Starlight Cabaret for a brief time in 1970, the studio of artist John Kerrigan and presently Lori's Antiques. Cerrillos Historical Society Plaque #5
The Joe M. Granito Block
The earliest records for the five lots on the east side of First Street between Simoni’s building and Waldo Street list various members of the Granito clan, but by 1923 they were all in the hands of Rafael Granito’s son, Joseph M. Granito. At different times these lots had been occupied by offices, a second-hand store, a dry goods store, a blacksmith, a grocery, and a saloon, but Joe M. consolidated them into a general merchandising complex. In the early 1920s Joe leased the buildings then occupying the middle lot to the Sahd Brothers for a general store. In 1931, when First Street became part of State Route 10, between Santa Fe and Tijeras, Joe added an auto service station on this corner. Joe was for many years Cerrillos postmaster, and Master of the local Masonic lodge. The building housing the gallery on this corner today was built in 1975 on the former site of Joe’s garage. Cerrillos Historical Society Plaque #6
St. Joseph’s Church – Iglesia de San José
This structure was built in 1922 to replace the first church, which was situated on land now occupied by the Pastor’s residence. The original St. Joseph’s was built about 1884, which is also when the Cerrillos Methodist church on the far end of Waldo Street was built. This edifice was constructed under the direction of Franciscan Father Hesse, its first pastor, and by a team of builders led by Frank Schmitt, of Cerrillos. In 1939 Cerrillos became a Parish, with Father Rousseau the first priest. Fray Angélico Chávez was the 12th Franciscan brother to serve here, 1960-64, during which time Fray Chávez also rebuilt the church of San Francisco de Paola at Golden. Father Donnen, who retired after 9 years of service in 2002, was the last Franciscan pastor to serve in Cerrillos. St. Joseph’s is presently under the Archdiocese of Santa Fe. Cerrillos Historical Society Plaque #7

The Berardinelli House
This is a double adobe building, built in 1886, that originally served as a residence with an attached saloon. The Berardinelli family built the structure and the stone work was done by Monier & Coulloudon, the masons who built the Loretto Chapel in Santa Fe. Quintien Monier later moved to Tucson, where he was responsible for the construction of many of the masonry buildings of old town, and the William Coulloudon settled in Albuquerque in the same line of work. The varied uses of the Berardinelli saloon building, in addition to saloon, included at different times a dance hall, an undertaker’s parlor, Joseph Granito’s grocery store, and a silent movie theatre. This parcel, along with the rest of Cerrillos, was deeded by President Grant to Stephen B. Elkins in 1871. Elkins had inside information that a transcontinental rail line would pass this way in a couple of years and expected to subdivide the land and make lots of money. The depression of 1873 delayed the railroad and the development of Cerrillos for eight years, and inconvenienced Elkins greatly. Elkins was the chief Republican rival of William McKinley for the office of President in 1896, and lost out to a relative youngster named Teddy Roosevelt as McKinley’s vice president four years later. Cerrillos Historical Society Plaque #8
Rosendo Ortiz’ Grocery
Though not built until the early 20th century, sometime after 1902, the building housing Rosendo Ortiz’ grocery was among the most important locations in all of Cerrillos. The grocery opened for business in 1926, when Mr. Ortiz was 33, and continued at this location until the early 1960s. A billiard table was added in 1929, making Mr. Ortiz’ grocery the most important social center in the community, rivaling St. Joseph’s church a short distance away. Rosendo Ortiz (Hispano) was the sponsor behind the attempted holdup on December 9, 1932, of his chief Cerrillos business competitor, Joe Zucal (Italian), but for fear of inflaming communal strife no action was ever taken. In 1940 Mr. Ortiz, as agent for the Galisteo Mining Company, issued permits to local citizens to dry-wash for gold in the Ortiz Mountains. He, in Cerrillos, and Ernest Riccon, in Golden, were the only Federally-licensed buyers of raw gold in the region. Cerrillos Historical Society Plaque #9
Ciriaco Rael’s Market
The earliest records show three saloons, all of them built in the 1880s, packed closely together along the west side of First Street, north of Waldo Street. By 1900 the corner building housed Louis Darass’ saloon, and toward the middle of the block the third building was Joe & Ana Vergolio’s bakery and general store. The Vergolios later bought the Palace Hotel, the luxurious three-story masonry structure at Third and Main Streets, from the Greens. The middle building of the three, however was acquired by Ciriaco Rael, who had moved from Waldo to Cerrillos in 1905. He opened a general store and meat market, and soon expanded into Darass’ old building with his shoe repair shop. The year Ciriaco came to Cerrillos, 1905, is also the year Joe Vergolio planted three cottonwood trees in front of Darass’ saloon in exchange for free beer. One of those majestic trees survives today. Look for it. C. Rael’s remained a fixture in Cerrillos into the mid 1920s. Cerrillos Historical Society Plaque #10
Tiffany Saloon & Restaurant
When George & Ida North bought these corner lots in 1889 they replaced the small building on them with a multi-room adobe that covered the entire parcel, and opened a furnishings and hardware store. The third lot, to the west, was a barber shop. J. P. McNulty, manager of the Tiffany turquoise mine north of Cerrillos, bought the buildings in 1907 and leased them out, but his tenure forever associated the Tiffany name with them. The subsequent owners included Cipriano Lucero, Joe Juliano, Joe Zucal, Joe Coyle and Warren Sands. In 1958 Sands sold it to Fran Eckols & Nadine Heiden, who in 1962 opened the popular Tiffany saloon, restaurant and “mellerdrama theatre”. In the 1960s the Tiffany became a national destination, touted in Look magazine as one of the best restaurants in America. On March 15, 1977 the Tiffany, which had been leased by Fran and Nadine, was destroyed by fire in an unsuccessful attempt for the insurance money. The surviving building is now a private residence. Historical Society Plaque #11

In Search of America - Tiffany Restaurant Melodrama
by Robert Wolf Decorah, IA, USA

Background: In the summer of 1966, on summer break from college, I stayed with friends Ross and Tom on Canyon Road in Santa Fe. Across the street from Ross’s rental was the studio of Hal West, one of the last of the colony of older Santa Fe artists.

In late summer 1968, when I returned to Santa Fe from New York, Ross and I stood at the front of Claude’s bar on Canyon Road thinking of our summer two years before. That was a summer of discoveries—meeting people, exploring the city, visiting a family on a nearby ranch, learning about a city that was so different from any other I had known.

That was a summer of excitement, and when I was alone I would wonder, “What are Ross and Tom up to now?” That summer I think we all lived with a constant sense of anticipation and excitement. What was next? Who might we meet? What might we see or learn?

“That,” said Ross as we stood in Claude’s, “was a golden summer.”

We played melodramas Friday and Saturday nights in a 1880s saloon—the Tiffany Saloon in Cerrillos—which paid our way through that summer. The Tiffany was a survivor of the 1880s mining town situated about thirty miles from Santa Fe. Los Cerrillos, “Little Hills,” grew from a tent city in 1879 to a boomtown with 21 saloons and four hotels in the 1880s. Today a few hundred residents live among a handful of the remaining old buildings.

The Tiffany Saloon Street Corner
Cerrillos, New Mexico (1966)

Sometime in the spring of 1966, a friend from St. John’s and I were having lunch at the Tiffany, which had an ample buffet of roast beef, creamed spinach, tacos, bean soup and much more that drew crowds of diners from Albuquerque and Santa Fe. The Tiffany’s owners asked the two of us if we were interested in creating a summer melodrama. I was. I told Tom and we assembled a cast and ordered plays. The Tiffany’s owners renovated the grocery store adjoining the saloon into a theater and rented a truck that we used to haul theater seats from Albuquerque. We began playing a month before school let out.

When school ended, many of the original cast left for home. Tom and I stayed and recruited Ross and Linda Durham, a former Playboy Bunny. I wrote two plays with small casts to maximize our take. Our piano player was one of our St. John’s tutors.

For two weeks at the start of the summer, I stayed at the Palace Hotel, a three-story rock structure at the end of town that earlier had been headquarters for Henry Triggs’ ranch that ran from Cerrillos almost clear to Golden. I spent nights playing melodrama and sleeping at the Palace, but the days were spent roaming long stretches of barren rock and sand, thinking that I would one day write, but all the time setting down nothing on paper. After two weeks in Cerrillos, I moved into Ross’s Santa Fe rental, across the street from Hal West.

Hal was a western artist I had wanted to meet and now, on the first day of our meeting, I wanted him to join us for our plays.

“The three of us are in a melodrama out in Cerrillos,” I told Hal. “We’re doing a show tonight. Would you be our guest for dinner and the play?”

“A melodrama?” Hal said excitedly. “Why, hell yes, I will.”

We decided we would eat at the saloon. Ross and Tom took off, while I stayed with Hal.

“You know, kiddo,” he said to me as he dressed, “these impromptu parties are some of the jolliest.” He put on an English tweed cap, a tweed sports jacket, and a green wool tie. He looked natty. To complete the picture, he grabbed a cane.

We crossed the street, got into Ross’s car, and roared off for Cerrillos. Hal and I strolled around the dusty streets of this near ghost town as sunset approached, arm-in-arm. “You don’t think it’s odd my taking your arm, do you?” he asked.

“Not at all,” I said.

“I’m not quite as firm or as strong on my legs as I once was. You might have to keep me from falling.”

At the time Hal came to the show, we were presenting two short plays I had written. My favorite, The Authentic Life and Death of Wild River Jack Johnson, featured a cowardly bad man and braggart inspired by a St. John’s classmate who drove an expensive motorcycle, but claimed to come from a family of Irish white trash. He also claimed to have sailed as a merchant seaman, ridden Brahma bulls, and been a Golden Gloves boxer. He was always going to “straighten someone out.” Months after he made these claims, I saw him bouncing in a saddle, trying to ride a horse. I figured the rest of his brag was of the same piece.

The Tiffany Melodrama Players (1966)

After his first visit, Hal came to every performance. He cheered the villains and belittled the heroes.

Primed with drinks they bought before the show or from waitresses who constantly worked the aisles, the audience yelled advice and warnings to the hero and heroine. They threw peanuts at me (the villain in both pieces), and once they even threw such a continuous hail of peanuts that pin-pricked my face that I walked off stage, afraid for my eyes.  (Later that same night, one customer even threw a Coke bottle at me.) Tom was upset and wanted to know why I left. I explained, but it didn’t penetrate.

Those were great evenings on stage, roaring lines, losing lines, howling, shouting, hamming for the great crowds that poured in from the restaurant after they had dined. Standing at the crowded bar before the show or between plays or moving through the diners packed at tables, I felt the room electric with excitement.

We asked Hal if he would make a poster for us and he did. With brush and ink he drew a pretty little heroine, mouth open, being strangled by a villain who has his big hands around her throat. Standing beside the villain was the citified hero, holding a gun pointed at the villain’s head. Tom learned to make silkscreen prints and made multiple copies with black ink on brown wrapping paper, which we posted around Santa Fe.

Ross and I never did have another summer like that one: we were now in the workaday world. As for Cerrillos, it was almost a ghost town when Tom and Ross and I played melodrama there, but not long after the summer of 1966, it lost two of its most prominent survivors from the 1880s—the Tiffany Saloon and the Palace Hotel, both destroyed by fire.   

See more at: http://www.staythirstymedia.com/201207-071/html/201207-wolf-cerrillos.html#sthash.PnBKHsv3.dpuf
Doc Richard’s Drug Store
Possibly the first child born in Carbonateville, the precursor of Cerrillos three miles north of it in the Cerrillos Hills, was born in June 1881 to Doctor and Mrs. Joseph R. Richards. Three months later the family moved to the new town of Cerrillos on the railroad, into a 2-story wooden residence on this site. The Richards rented out the upstairs and lived downstairs, and Doc Richards ran his drugstore business out of the small wooden building next door, on the corner of South Railroad and Second Streets. This all came to an end on the night of June 23, 1890, when the entire downtown Cerrillos block of wooden buildings was destroyed by fire. No sooner had the ashes cooled than Doc Richards announced he was rebuilding, and that this time it would be something that couldn’t burn; double adobe. He succeeded. During Prohibition this building housed a saloon whose proprietress, apparently not warned as was customary of a raid, resisted by shooting blindly through the door. Fittingly enough, Doc Richard's fireproof built building became the first fire house of the Turquoise Trail Volunteer Fire Department in 1968.  Cerrillos Historical Society Plaque #12.
                                                             Doc Richard's Drug Store
The Mutto-Sahd Building
Sometime before 1898 the building at the southwest corner of Second and Main Streets was built. It was initially a meat market - in the absence of household refrigeration meat was almost always purchased fresh - but by 1902 it was a private residence. Around 1915 John Mutto, who had operated a baker in Waldo, the railroad junction two miles west of Cerrillos for the Madrid spur, for 18 years, moved his family and his bakery to Cerrillos and into this building. Around 1960 Joe Sahd acquired most of the houses on this block of Second Street, and he converted this building into a restaurant. The various incarnations have included the Turquesa Café, the Card House Restaurant, and the Cerrillos Café. It is once again a private residence. Cerrillos Historical Society Plaque #13
Hurt’s Hall & the Opera House
Caused to be built early on by Stephen B. Elkins, of stone to suggest the quality of the buildings to come and to encourage the development of his new town, the exact construction date of the Opera House is not known. But the building was on this site by 1881. The structure was acquired before 1884 by William C. Hurt, an ex-Confederate soldier who had come to New Mexico in quest of health. For the next five years, until Hurt’s death, Hurt’s Hall was the focus of gatherings in Cerrillos, being the frequent venue for bailes (dances) and amateur theatricals and other entertainments. W.C.’s wife and widow, Maud L. Hurt, continued the tradition, until finally selling the building in 1903 for $305 to the Cerrillos Masonic Lodge. The Cerrillos Lodge held its regular communications here and also continued to offer it, now known as the Opera House, for public events. The Opera House was for a while managed on behalf of the Lodge by J.P. McNulty, until the Lodge moved to Santa Fe, where it is currently situated. The building  is Kludget Sound Studio and is a private residence. Cerrillos Historical Society Plaque #14

The Old Boarding House
In September of 1897 Austin L. Kendall, notary public and justice of the peace for Cerrillos, purchased this vacant Cerrillos parcel, and by spring his house had been constructed here. About 1902, when Juanita de Olivas acquired this property, an Edison electric generator was installed. Thomas Edison’s association with New Mexico dates from 1898, with INDIAN DAY SCHOOL, his first distributed movie. In 1899 Edison was involved with a coal-fired power plant at Madrid, and the following year he witnessed his greatest failure, his electrical gold-extraction mill in the Ortiz Mountains south of Cerrillos. After 1910 Olivas sold this building to Edgar & Elizabeth Andrews. Edgar, a miner, soon died in a mining accident, and for the next three decades Mrs. E. Andrews’ Boarding House grew to be an institution in Cerrillos. Mrs. Andrews was famous for her pies, and passengers on the steam trains stopping to take on water were known to hurry over to buy one of her pies. During the 1950s the building was the Pure Food grocery, restaurant & an antiques store.  Up until 2013 it was a family residence and several rooms were used as a B&B. Cerrillos Historical Society Plaque #15

The Palace Hotel
The grandest hotel in Cerrillos was built by the enterprising Richard Green on the southwest corner of Third and Main Streets in 1888, and it was run by his wife Mary. It was one of the few masonry buildings in the largely adobe and wood frame town, and the only 3-story structure in all of Cerrillos. The guests are reputed to have included ex-President Ulysses S. Grant and Thomas Edison. The hotel also housed the town doctor, dentist, tailor and the Masonic lodge. For decades the macabre must-see at the old Palace was the bloodstain on the wooden floor of Dr. Palmer’s second floor office, the result of the Doctor, at the point of a gun, treating the outlaw Black Jack Ketchum’s wound. Some months later Ketchum was captured and hung, in a botched and grizzly hanging, at Clayton, N.M. Richard Green died at the Palace in 1906, and in 1911 his widow, Mother Green, sold the building to Joe and Anna Vergolio for $300 in gold. The Vergolios continued to live there and run the hotel into the mid 20th century, when the building came into the possession of local eccentric Henry Trigg. The Palace Hotel was destroyed by fire on October 27, 1968.  A  wall using stones from the hotel may be seen on Third Street. Cerrillos Historical Society Plaque #16
Juan & Bartola Padilla House
Juan and Bartola Padilla occupied the first house on this lot after their marriage in 1904, and their fourteen children grew up here. The adobe house you see here today dates from that year, or, at most, a couple of years before. Juan was born seven miles north of Cerrillos at La Bonanza, the now-deserted sheep raising and mining camp on the old Santa Fe road. La Bonanza is approximately at the same location of the original Real de los Cerrillos, 1695-96. Today the site of La Bonanza is within Bonanza Creek Ranch, and is a popular location for movie making. After Juan married Bartola Baca, of Peña Blanca, the couple came to Cerrillos so Juan could walk every day the two miles to his work at the Morgan Jones mine at Madrid. This was a time when large families were the norm. Servino arrived in 1905, followed by Felix 1906, Antonio 1907, Conrado 1909, Ignacio 1911, Pedro 1913, Lillie 1916, Pita 1918, Jeronimo 1920, Frank 1923, Simonita 1925, Tita 1927, Roman 1928, and Juan Jr. 1931. Juan Padilla passed away in 1941, and Bartola died later the same year. Cerrillos Historical Society Plaque #18

Casa Grande Trading Post
Todd & Patricia Brown began the construction of this living hacienda in 1975, and it has grown, along with their six children, to become the 28-room structure you see today. Sixty-five thousand adobes, most of them molded and dried in the middle of Waldo Street, went into its construction.  Casa Grande Trading Post features turquoise and jewlery from their Little Chalchihuitl Turquoise mine claim and over 50 hand crafted products the Brown's create, rocks, minerals and antique bottles. It also houses the Cerrillos Turquoise Mining Museum with mining district artifacts, displays & antiques of the area, diorama's and collections, and the Cerrillos Petting Zoo where you can feed the animals. The Palace Hotel covered part of the grounds now occupied by the Casa Grande, and a masonry wall constructed from the remains of the old Palace may be seen today on the Third Street side. Look for the bits of turquoise imbedded in the threshold at the entrance to the Casa Grande. Cerrillos Historical Society Plaque #17
The Mary and Consolidated Works
Capt. Marion Ballue built the Mary Mining & Smelting works on land on the north side of the San Marcos Arroyo railroad bridge, in 1897. The construction of the plant included laying a gravity-fed pipeline to bring water from the Mineral Spring, a mile up in the Arroyo de las Minas, down to the smelter works. Remnants of that pipe can be seen today in the Cerrillos Hills State Park in the vicinity of the Mineral Spring. The plant was named Mary because of the Mary Group of mines near Magdalena, Socorro county, which were owned by Capt. Ballue and his partners, and which provided by rail most of the ore that was processed at the plant. Under manager J. H. Dunn, using separate smelters for lead and copper, the Mary M. & S. Co. could process 250 tons of ore per day. But Capt. Ballue’s imperfect business plan together with difficulty getting fuel from Madrid - Colorado Fuel & Iron Company had taken over all coal production at Madrid just a year earlier - and the variability of the ores received made it difficult for the Mary M. &.S. Co. ever to operate at a profit. In 1902 Steve Elkins and Tom Catron, the mortgage holders, sold the works to R. B. Thomas and the Consolidated Mining & Milling Company. Thomas was what Ballue was not: an experienced smelter operator and savvy businessman. Consolidated M. & M. Co. prospered, achieving its greatest success around 1912 when most of its ore came from a single unvarying source, the Tom Payne mine in the Cerrillos Hills. At its peak in 1913 Consolidated had 100 men working in shifts on its 120-ton lead smelter. By 1918 the Consolidated M. & M. Co., too, was defunct. The heavily contaminated site of the Mary and Consolidated works was remediated by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency in 2002. Cerrillos Historical Society Plaque #19

Schmitt House
Built around 1922. This house was built by German immigrant Frank "Dutch" Schmitt. He and his wife Teresita raised 16 children. Frank was the lead builder of St. Joseph's Church in 1922 and this house was built during this time. Schmitt built several dry washers which helped him find gold in the area. Current owners, the Umi family, also are curators ofthe First River Gallery in Cerrillos. Cerrrillos Historical Society Plaque #20

Cerrillos School House
In 1892 the construction of this two-story masonry Cerrillos public school house in Otro Lado, on the south side of the Galisteo River, was completed. The lead teachers that year were John M. Barnhardt (English) and Flavio Silva (Spanish), and Miss B.K. Gilday. Dr. F. Palmer was the first school trustee. Early in 1895 Richard Green (of the Palace Hotel) and Doc Joseph Richards, the druggist, were elected school trustees, and later that same year the school board chairman, Tony Neis, was implicated in a scandal over missing school funds. Early in 1896 the Cerrillos Public School had to be closed for lack of money. The school reopened for the 1898 school year only to be closed again because of an outbreak of smallpox. In the 1901 Cerrillos election the merchant John Koury was chosen school director (trustee). Bessie Kavanah was school principal and head teacher that year, with Burta Rogers in charge of the primary students and Flavio Silva the Spanish subjects. There was the promise of hiring a fourth teacher if enrollment warranted it.

Along with Mr. Silva, the best known teacher at the Cerrillos school was Mrs. J.L. McCraw, born Fannie McNulty, the eldest daughter of J.P. McNulty of Tiffany turquoise fame. Fannie first taught in Cerrillos 1897-1903. She returned as Mrs. McCraw in 1919 and remained a teacher here until her retirement in 1943. In 1946 she came out of retirement for a stint as the English and Spanish teacher at Madrid. The following was written by Mrs. McCraw about the Otro Lado school.

The School was a two-story building made of sandstone quarried from the hills at the south of town. It was heated by hot air furnace, and had an excellent ventilating system. It was well equipped with everything needed in a modern school. Some of the relief maps still remain. In one of the spring 1945 issues of the Albuquerque Journal, the “50 Years Ago” column carried an item stating that Cerrillos had more children enrolled in school than Albuquerque. It was here that Wm. Cody (Buffalo Bill) in 1907 entertained the pupils and people of Cerrillos in the large school auditorium, with readings of his poems, some of which he illustrated with the sound of galloping, running, halting horses, by slapping his thighs with his hands. This imitation was so realistic that people standing in the aisles declared they could distinctly hear the clatter of the hoofs approaching. Mr. Cody said that he had learned to sing from the Rocky Mountain Canary.

In the 1930s and 1940s Isabel Ward was the principal-teacher. Because of diminished enrollment the Cerrillos school was to be closed in 1959, and in 1962 it breathed its last. A fire destroyed the school building several decades ago, though the lower walls still stand as an exhibition space. The school grounds are today part of a private residence.

Cerrillos Station
Cerrillos Station - The citizens of Cerrillos Station, on the AT&SF railroad, complained in 1881 (a full two years after the founding of the railroad town) that they still didn’t have a depot building. The Railroad Company finally began to develop the station complex at the beginning of 1882 by identifying the site and by moving the siding which was two miles west of Cerrillos (where a decade later Waldo would be located) to Cerrillos. There were double tracks through Cerrillos, plus a siding. In April of 1882 a newspaper item said the buildings were about half finished, and “will be of a substantial character.” The depot was completed by June 1, 1882. The two-story addition to the depot building and another siding was added in late 1889, and in 1892 the monthly payroll to the workers loading coal at the Cerrillos depot had risen to an astounding $8,000. That, however, was its peak, as Waldo was under construction and would soon take most all of the coal-transport business away from Cerrillos. In the mid 20th century, with the demise of steam trains and the abandonment of coal for heating, the trains didn’t stop at Cerrillos anymore. Those same factors turned Madrid into a ghost town and killed Waldo. But those railroad buildings were indeed “of substantial character”. They were built to last. Portions of this old Cerrillos depot building are still in use today in Santa Fe City and in Macintosh, Torrance county.
*View CHS Locator in Attachments to see the plaqued buildings located on the town plat.
                                   Dynamiting "Devil's Throne" for railroad ballast

BRIEF HISTORY OF CERRILLOS TO 1890 & Cerrillos Masonic Lodge #19

Native Americans were mining as early as 900 AD. As the Spanish settled in the area in the 1600s, they added their mining skills and interests to the mix, and we began to see in the Cerrillos Hills for the first time silver mines, and not far away the first gold mines.  

The Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railroad obtained a route through Raton Pass in February, 1877 and the first rail town of Otero, about two miles south of Raton, was established in March, 1879.  In expectation of riches to be made from the coming of the railroad, politicians like Stephen Elkins had acquired from the government land along the expected route.

Frank Dimmick & Englishman Robert Hart, two miners from Leadville, Colorado, came to the Cerrillos Hills that same year to try their luck. They returned to Leadville with ore samples and tales of gold, triggering a stampede. By mid-summer 1879, there was a tent city of 300 miners extracting gold, silver, copper, lead, and zinc. Coal was discovered along the Galisteo River. Mining towns sprang up nearby including Carbonateville , Purdin’s Camp, Poverty Flats and Bonanza City.

The new rail line grew nearer and the new railroad station called Cerrillos began to appear on the Galisteo River, on the south side of the Cerrillos Hills. The tent city of Cerrillos was reported to have its share of saloons, gambling, and con men. According to Father Stanley, “No squeamish, self-respecting gentleman lingered here of a Saturday night during those first few months.” From the mayhem of the tent city, a town began to emerge. The Santa Fe to Lamy rail spur was completed in February, 1880. In April of the same year, the main rail line extended all the way through to Albuquerque. The AT&SF railroad established Los Cerrillos Station as the supply center for the surrounding camps of Carbonateville, Golden, San Pedro, and Dolores. In later years newer mining camps would join the list of those camps relying upon Cerrillos; Madrid and Waldo.

D.D. Harkness had moved to Cerrillos when it was still a tent city. He built a temporary home and brought in his family from Las Vegas. When the railroad track were being laid in 1880, six railroad workers and a foreman were unable to find anywhere to eat or sleep. While D.D. Harkness was away on a prospecting trip, Mrs. Harkness offered to put them up in their home. Upon her husband’s return, she told him she had taken in seven boarders and that they were now in the hotel business. They set to work building the eighteen room Cerrillos House, the town’s first hotel.
The first Post Office opened in January, 1880, with George A. Waller named as the town’s first postmaster. The next ten years saw eight different locations and postmasters.

“Cerrillos is lively and coming to the front as a rich mining camp and a lively town,” reported the Las Vegas Optic, February 19, 1881. “The railroad company are looking well to their interests here, which are of importance, and among other things are shipping coal miners, and giving them $2.50 a day to mine the best coal in the West. Preparations are being made for extensive workings of the coal mines here, and the railroad company means business . . . Captain Harkness will feed the crowd, and will have his hands full, as he already has over fifty boarders. The captain is one of the original inhabitants of the burg, and has kept the ‘hotel’ for over a year, starting with but two boarders. The want of water has been badly felt, but is being overcome. Miners are arriving from all over.”

The Santa Fe New Mexican reported April 23, 1882 that “the Mina del Tiro and the old turquoise mine are of particular interest to the antiquarian. A number of miners, inspired by the success that attended the efforts of the Spaniards . . . went earnestly to work to derive benefit from the hidden treasure of the little hills. Since that time they have established several thriving towns, all of which have bright futures before them. They are Cerrillos, Carbonateville, and Bonanza City. At the first named place, business at this time is very brisk . . . The businessmen of the place are very much elated over the prospect of having the Texas, Santa Fe, & Northern run into their town, and there is general confidence in the future.” (Unfortunately the T.,S.F.&N. project - see below - never came to pass.)

In 1882, a town council was elected, and D.D. Harkness was chosen Justice of the Peace. By 1884, the stable town population reached one hundred. Joseph Richards was postmaster and ran a drug store, J.B. Daniels was a grain dealer, William C. Hurt had a general store, George Lay was the blacksmith, William McClurg was the carpenter, F.H. Mitchel was town constable, William Nesbit and George L. Williams had saloons, Joseph Silrey was town barber, Rev. W.C. Wheeler took care of the Methodist church, and C.W. Uptegrove ran the Tabor House. [* The references to Daniels, Lay, McClurg and Silrey appear nowhere else in the historical records save Father Stanley Crocciola’s THE CERRILLOS, NEW MEXICO STORY, where he does not list any of his sources.]

Although mining of silver, gold, & turquoise played an important role, it was coal that brought the greatest prosperity. Beehive ovens were set up at Waldo to convert coal to coke. Madrid mines were worked before 1869 by the New Mexico Mining Co. Testing revealed the quality of the coal from those mines to be the best outside Pennsylvania, prompting the town’s nickname of “Little Pittsburg.” The railroad took advantage of this valuable local resource, eventually purchasing the coal mining property at Madrid in 1891. The following year A spur line was installed from Madrid to Waldo to bring coal to the main rail line.

Four passenger and six freight trains passed daily through Los Cerrillos. There were 340 registered voters in the 1890 election. The Cerrillos Rustler, always a cheerleader for the town’s development, reported in 1890 that “there are no vacant houses in Cerrillos.”

An article in the Santa Fe New Mexican stated, “There is to be a rail line built from Texas through the breast of New Mexico that will have Salt Lake and the Northwest for its destination – and that road will come through the Cerrillos coal fields. It is not long off, either.”

Thus, Cerrillos became a junction of stage, horse and ox drawn freight, and rail lines, setting the stage for rapid growth and prosperity. Within a few years, it had grown to a population of over 1000 people and boasted a two-story schoolhouse, twenty saloons, meat markets, grocery stores, a bakery, barber shops, two livery stables, two blacksmith shops, several general stores, Wells Fargo Express, Western Union Telegraph, a theater, dance halls, Methodist and Catholic churches, three or four hotels, two newspapers, a jail and the “Little Pittsburgs” baseball team.


On a balmy May evening in 1889, fifteen men climbed an outside wooden staircase to the second floor meeting room of the new addition to the Palace Hotel in Cerrillos, New Mexico. Among them were miners, merchants, railroad men, a Judge, a minister, the Chairman of the Town Board, and the hotel’s owner - Masons from at least six different lodges in four states.

The meeting was called by order of Right Worshipful Charles F. Easley, Grand Lecturer, for the purpose of organizing a new Masonic lodge. The officers opening the lodge were Easley, J.D. Bush, John Gray, Eugene B. Ames, Joyce Board, William J. Jackson, C.W. Watergrove, and S. C. Wright. Other Master Masons present were L.D. Sugar, F.W. Estas, and C.W. Uptegrove. Kelley, Wyllys, Green, Jenks, Ames, Wright, Kendall, Board are listed as Petitioners for Dispensation.

Meetings were set for the first Saturday night of each month, and Brothers Green, Wright, and Board were set to work drafting by-laws to be submitted to the Grand Lodge Saturday, May 4, 1889. Two days later at the first regular communication, the by-laws were approved. The first degrees were conferred on June 1, 1889, when William E. Dame and Otto Zeigler were initiated Entered Apprentices. Zeigler was a partner in a dry goods store in San Pedro.

At the same meeting, petitions for affiliation from Rev. William J. Jackson of the Methodist Church and hotel owner C.W. Uptegrove were voted on and approved, as were petitions for the degrees from John King and P. Cunningham. Uptegrove was active in politics and chaired the 1890 meeting of Republican delegates in Santa Fe. By December, ten degrees had been conferred in Cerrillos Lodge.

Of the charter members, several held Grand Lodge offices. L.D. Sugar served as Grand Junior Deacon in 1899, S. C. Wright as Grand Tyler in 1889, George L. Wyllys as Grand Marshal, and C.W. Uptegrove as Grand Secretary in 1889. Uptegrove, incidentally, owned the first major hotel in Cerrillos, the Tabor House at Main and Second Streets. Joyce Board was a partner in a liquor, wine, and cigar store. John Gray sold real estate and insurance. Wyllys was a county commissioner. John Jenks served as one of the town’s early postmasters. The Palace Hotel where Cerrillos Lodge met for nine years was the creation of Brother Richard Green, a charter member of the lodge and Master in 1899 and 1900.               

Bert Dalton

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