Silver City & Surrounding Area
New Mexico
May 10 & 11, 2011

Silver City is one of the oldest “Anglo” cities in New Mexico, a town founded on mining way back in the 1850s when the region was still mostly lawless and unorganized territory. Today, mining is still the central theme in and around Silver City, with some of the largest open-pit mines in the world here: one in Santa Rita about 10 miles east of the city and another in Tyrone, about the same south of the city. There are many ranches in the area, and the city is also home to Western New Mexico State University. The result is an interesting blend of the three: a town with a ranching and mining edge to it, crossed with a university vibe. Its location at the north end of the Chihuahuan Desert at the base of the spectacular Gila Wilderness and Mogollon Mountains is also a draw. It’s a beautiful place, and we love visiting here.

Beth’s family has roots in the region dating back into the 1860s or so. One of her direct ascendants migrated here when the railroad came through. They settled in Pinos Altos, the small town about 10 miles north that was the original county seat to Grant County. The Couslands spread in southwest New Mexico, into Deming in particular, and did very well overall—one relative was the first from Pinos Altos to attend West Point. Today, there is no one around with her last name, but we assume many married into other family lines. Beth feels a strong spiritual connection to this place.

This visit was our fourth, I think. We bookended our trip with nights at the Black Jack Campground inside Greenlee County, Arizona, and our plans to hike in the Gila Wilderness had to be cancelled because of a large fire. So we just drove around, visited the sights, poked in the shops, and relaxed. The weather was cool and windy, but clear and gorgeous.

Photos (Click to enlarge)

Pinos Altos scenes: the museum

Street scene

The Buckhorn Saloon

The Opera House

The Buckhorn again

Beth's family plot

Grave of Billy The Kid's mother

Santa Rita Mine

Santa Rita Mine

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(c) 2011 Scott Surgent. For entertainment purposes only.