In 1879, two miners from Leadville, Colorado found deposits of gold in the area and in no time, American prospectors rediscovered the ancient diggings in the Cerrillos Hills.
Before long there were hundreds of prospectors roaming the area in search of gold, silver, lead, copper, and turquoise.
The mineral boom of the Cerrillos Hills peaked in the mid 1880s when miners were extracting gold, silver, lead, zinc and turquoise from their crusty depths.
The town became so well known that it was seriously considered for the capitol of New Mexico.
After Cerrillos' peak mineral production in the 1880's coal mining began to take over as the Just a few of the area mines survived into the 20th century, the biggest of whichwas the American Turquoise Company, a subsidiary of Tiffanys of New York on the north side of the Cerrillos.
The Saint Joseph Church, built in 1922, still holds mass every Sunday and the village water still flows from the original dam that the Santa Fe Railroad built.
While in Cerrillos, an absolute "must stop is the Cerrillos Hills Historic Park, just north of town.
Here, you can purchase Cerrillos turquoise that is still mined and made by the Brown family at their family-owned Little Chalchihuitl Mine in the Cerrillos Mining District.
The town also sports the What Not Shop filled with antiques of every description, an old saloon, an art gallery, and riding stables.
The films The Nine Lives of Elfego Baca , Young Guns, Young Guns II, and Vampires were made there, as well as John Waynes 1972 movie, The Cowboys, filmed just north of the town.
This historic city still provides a few open businesses including the Casa Grande Trading Post and Mining Museum, which also features a petting zoo.
The whole town is lit up for Christmas, so it was amazing.
The room is immaculate, fully stocked kitchen, pots & pans, dishes, etc. A wonderful addition to this rural community who can now sample special amenities, even organic groceries, usually found only in Santa Fe.
Around this same time the Spaniards returned and forced the Indians to work the Mina del Tiro Mine for silver, until the Pueblo Revolt of 1680.