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Dawson New Mexico Townsite - Ghost town

Photos courtesy of Mike Sinnwell March 2009

Sometimes you go looking for one town and end up finding another different one. That happened to me recently. I was not looking for Dawson but I saw a road that looked interesting and Dawson was at the end of the road. I guess I should say the Cemetery was there as the town and all the buildings are gone.  A few buildings do remain but they are on private land. This is one of those sites that when you feel the spiritual nature of the site you know there is a story. In this case it is all the lives that were lost in the mining accidents and all the brave men and woman that helped make America.

When J. B. Dawson made his oral agreement to buy land from Lucian Maxwell in 1869 he thought he bought 1,000 acres for $3,700. A really good deal. It was not until years later that he realized he actually held title to 20,000 acres. He started raising cattle on his land but it was not long before his neighbors became interested in buying his coal. Soon he discovered it was more profitable to sell coal than to raise livestock. Half million dollars later he was in business with the railroad, he had a town was named after him, and his wife had the rights to all milk sales in town for ten years.

Dawson was a model company town with over 4,00 residents at one time. It is said that some of the "long shafts" in the mine extended five miles under the mountain. Several mine explosions rocked the town. One in 1913 that took 263 lives and another in 1933 when 122 men died. You can see the rows of crosses dedicated to these miners. I was also surprised at the wide variety of nationalities living in Dawson. Many of the engravings were in different languages on the tombstones.