Elephant Butte Inn and Spa

Elephant Butte Inn Blog

More on Jornada del Muerto

Posted December 15, 2012

Jornada del Muerto separated from the Rio Grande for 90 miles to avoid the steep canyons just west of the river. The flatlands east of Caballo Mountains were easily traversed by the wagons and livestock. Water holes were spaced about 10 miles apart and were frequently dry. Often, the wagon trains traveled at night to avoid the sun's parching heat. It took more than a week to cross the Jornada and the travelers were vulnerable to hostile attack.


Jornada del Muerto

Posted December 14, 2012

Jornada del Muerto, the "Journey of the Dead Man" was a desolate and dangerous 90 mile segment of El Camino Real del Tierra Adentro, "The Royal Road to the Interior." This road was one of four principal trade and transportation routes the Spanish built which radiated from Mexico City. For over 400 years, these roads formed a busy network used by wagons, mule trains and foot traffic. Separate routes connected Mexico City to the seaports of Veracruz and Acapulco. A portion of Jornada del Muerto passes through Sierra County east of the Caballo Mountains and west of the San Andreas Mountains.


Monticello, New Mexico

Posted December 8, 2012

Monticello was originally named Canada Alamosa ("Canyon of the Cottonwoods") and was settled by ranchers and farmers in 1856.  It was built in a square to protect residents from Apache attacks.  Remnants of the surrounding adobe walls can still be seen.  The town weas renamed in 1881 when a post office was established by the first postmaster, Aristide Bourguet.  He named the town after Monticello, New York.  Placita and Monticello today are home to several organic farms.  These farms produce highly regarded products such as fruits and vegetables, herbal health and beauty products and balsamic vinegar.

Las Placitas, NM

Posted December 6, 2012

Las Placitas ("Little Plazas") is located 2 miles south of Monticello along the Canada Alamosa River.  It was settled in the 1840s by the Sedillo family, whose descendants still live there.  San Lorenzo Catholic Church, built in 1916 still stands. The original schoolhouse, a dance hall and several houses also remain.  During peak years, more than 1,000 families lived in Monticello Canyon, which contains both Monticello and Las Placitas.  Today, there are fewer than 100 families.


Posted December 3, 2012

Cuchillo was founded in the 1850s by Hispanic farmers and ranchers.  It was named for nearby Cuchillo Negro ("Black Knife") Creek, which took its name from a local Apache Chief.

During the mining boom of the 1880s and 1890s, stage and freight lines ran between the railroad station in Engle to the silver mines at Winston, Chloride and Hermosa.  As a mid-point between these locations, Cuchillo was a natural choice for a stage stop.  In that era, it was a thriving agricultural community and was well-suited to resupply the men and horses.  The end of the mining boom plus a series of devastating floods on the Cuchillo Negro Creek greatly reduced the town.  Today, it is a small village with some farms and ranches.  

This photo is of the San Jose Mission in Cuchillo.

Chloride Pioneer Store Museum

Posted December 1, 2012

The Pioneer Store Museum in Chloride is located in the original 1880 log building. Featured are the original store fixtures, includinjg the cash register, safe, silver-nickel showcases and much of the pre-1900 merchandise. Also on display...
are artifacts from early mining activities in the nearby mountains, many photographs, town site records and personal papers and possessions of the pre-1900 residents. Also included are tributes to two of the town's most famous residents: Raymond Schmidt and Cassie Hobbs.


Weekend of Lights

Posted November 30, 2012

December 8 at 5pm - Enter through the main gate at Elephant Butte Lake State Park - A festive holiday event, sponsored by the Elephant Butte Chamber of Commerce that is sure to warm your heart. Stroll the Elephant Butte Lake State Park sandy beach path lit by 4,000 Luminarias and along the way you'll enjoy free refreshments at approximately 26 bon-fired and decorated campsites all hosted by businesses, organizations, clubs and individuals. There are hayrides, campsite, boat and "Steel Soldiers" lighting contest, caroling, and of course an appearance by Santa. At 6:30pm be sure to look out over the lake to see the gorgeous lighted Boat Parade, sponsored by Marina Del Sur. The event is also a fundraiser for the Make-A-Wish Foundation with donation cans sponsored by the EB Rotary Club. Awards ceremony and Christmas party with a live band follows at the Elephant Butte Inn and Spa. Price:$5 park entry fee; Phone: (575)744-4708; Website

Historical Town of Chloride

Posted November 25, 2012

Harry Pye, an Englishman and prospector, was delivering freight for the U.S. Army in the late 1870s when he discovered silver float in a canyon. After completing his freighting contract, he and two other men returned to the area in 1879 to stake a claim. A tent city grew up nearby and became an established town. Originally named Pyetown, then Bromide, it became known as Chloride after the type of high-grade silver that was mined in the area. It was the center for all the mining activity in the area, known as Apache Mining district.

Historic Town of Winston

Posted November 23, 2012

Winston was founded in the early 1880s by miners who found Chloride "too rowdy."  They moved 2 miles north, settling in Fairview.  The town grew to about 600 people.  In 1929, the town changed its name to Winston in honor of Frank H. Winston, a local miner, businessman and legislator.  Winston flourished until the silver panic of 1893.  Frank winston's old house still stands on Main Street, as do several other buildings he owned and built.  Many other buildings were destroyed in a flood in the 1950s.  The old schoolhouse, built in 1890, is visible to the east from Main Street.  It is located on private land.

History of Sierra County, Part 4

Posted November 18, 2012

Following the construction of the Elephant Butte Dam in 1916, the town of Hot Springs grew around the hot mineral springs area that had been used for centuries.  As knowledge of the waters' healing powers became more widely known, people journeyed here to take the mineral baths.  The town continued to grow as a health and spa resort.  A county-wide vote in 1936 moved the county seat from Hillsboro to Hot Springs.  In 1950, Hot Springs changed its name to Truth or Consequences as part of a publicity stunt for the Truth or Consequences radio show produced by Ralph Edwards.  With the increased popularity of Elephant Butte Lake, a state park was established in 1965.  The community of Elephant Butte grew along the Lake and was incorporated n 1998.  The city offers a wide variety of support services to thousands of recreational visitors annually.  This photo is circa 1920s of the Dam.


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