New Mexico offers many opportunities to explore its history, whether it be visiting museums, hiking to see petroglyphs, or wandering through forts used in the Civil War. While being perhaps a less conventional historical outing, we think it would be super fun to add exploring ghost towns into the mix!
Some estimations claim New Mexico has more than 400 ghost towns! While many of these have nothing more than some foundations and vestiges of mining equipment, some have more robust relics to peruse, and some are even still functional communities bustling amid the shells of buildings standing sentinel against the vast New Mexico sky.
Just a short drive from Santa Fe is the ghost town Hagan, located east of I-25, beyond the San Felipe Casino north of Albuquerque and down a dirt county road heading towards Madrid.
Formed in 1902 by The New Mexico Fuel and Iron Company to develop coal mines in the area, Hagan was the home of the Hagan Coal Mine and at one point was sited for a planned community intended for 500 residents. A team of 100 laborers and 60 masons built more than 100 adobe structures over a period of three years. Supplied by electricity and running water, the town grew to include a bank, post office, barber shop, pool hall and a general mercantile, as well as a school set up to serve 70 pupils through the eighth grade.
Peaking at approximately 200 people, the town grew from 1924 to 1930, with residents being mostly local Hispanics from Madrid and Los Cerrillos, and Italian and Slavic miners from the coalfields of Raton and Dawson. In the early 1930s the miners hit a layer of shale, which widened and eventually prohibited further coal production. Compounding matters, the railroad, which never reached profitability, ceased operation and was dismantled in 1933. In 1939 the Hagan Mine closed down.
What’s left of Hagan for visitors to see today? Only the foundations and several brick walls of the general store, power plant, reservoir, and a few smaller buildings. The site can be seen from Indian Service Road 844/Madera Road, which follows the railroad grade from San Felipe. If you want to see the ruins up close, you’ll need to contact the Diamond Tail Ranch as the ruins are on their privately owned land. Typically not open to the public, occasional organized tours may be available.
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