Elephant Butte Inn and Spa

Sierra County: The First 27 Years

In 1911, Sierra County underwent another important change.  Engineers began building the Elephant Butte Dam across the Rio Grande near Hot Springs, creating a reservoir of immeasurable value to desert dwellers.  Dedicated in 1916, the dam impounded 2.6 million acre feet - enough water to cover the entire county to a depth of one foot.

Hillsboro had outlived the rampages of rustlers and criminals.  It survived the decline of mining and loss of commerce.  It even rebuilt after devastating floods, but it could not endure changing political winds.

In 1935, the Board of County Commissions determined to move the county seat to Hot Springs.  Hillsboro's leaders fought fiercely in court for three years.  In the end they lost and, in 1938, the county seat was moved.  The photo is of Hot Springs in 1938.

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