Silver City Guide
Last updated on Friday, February 21, 2003
One very large value of life here - one I had not fully anticipated - is the overwhelming abundance of opportunities for hiking in the Gila Wilderness. With the good fortune of meeting some avid hikers and their invitation to join them, I now passionately look forward to frequent hikes as my recreation, my spiritual development and my therapy. There are several I would like to recommend to others planning a visit or a relocation here.
In 1873, Silver City resident Louis Abraham, a boyhood friend of Henry McCarty as he was known then, described her as a "jolly Irish lady, full of fun and mischief." But for being the mother of Billy the Kid, history would probably never know the name of Catherine McCarty. One hundred and twenty-five years later, history still knows precious little about her.
Double-E Guest Ranch is a 30,000 acre working Cattle/Guest Ranch which adjoins the legendary 3 million acre Gila Wilderness in southwestern New Mexico, in the small community of Gila. This area is considered by many to be one of the most spectacular in the world - generally untouched and pristine. Rising from an elevation of 4,700 feet at Ranch headquarters on Bear Creek to over 7,000 feet in the Pinos Altos Mountains, the setting at the Ranch offers guests a variety of astonishing landscapes - from wind swept mountaintop vistas, to deep incised vertical rock canyons; from open upland plateaus to peaceful cottonwood and sycamore-lined creek bottoms.
Little extras can really enhance the dining experience. After 28 years of being in business, El Paisano's owner, Natalia Palacios, has learned that giving more than is expected can pay dividends in repeat business. The combination of great value and consistently good food is why El Paisano is one of Silver City's most popular Mexican restaurants.
Providing car rental, flight instruction, aircraft rental, aircraft maintenance and Phillips Aviation fuels. At the Grant County Airport, Silver City, NM.
Visitors to the Silver City area will soon find its art scene is alive and thriving. In this part of New Mexico, many artists have been born, raised and nurtured in their art. Others, who have migrated from other parts of the nation and abroad, have helped bring diversity and enrichment to our local culture.
When my husband and I dug the foundations for our home in the Mimbres Valley of southwestern New Mexico, we found a metate - a large grinding stone - buried two feet deep. We had selected this building site, with its view of a distant mountain peak, because it was close to the Mimbres River but not close enough to be flooded in a rainy season. Now we knew that another family had made this same decision. Perhaps a thousand years ago, they too had chosen this place for their home.
The Spanish journeyed to Santa Rita looking for Cibola, the City of Gold, and instead discovered rich deposits of copper, thanks to a friendly Apache chief who showed them where his people had been mining the shiny metal for untold years. The result was the Santa Rita del Cobre . . . and the beginning of the Kneeling Nun legends . . . legends that will likely persist, as long as she continues to grace the landscape above this Southwest New Mexico community.
Pinos Altos (Tall Pines) is located about six miles north of Silver City on NM Highway 15. The townsite is located along the Continental Divide at an elevation of 7,067 feet at the southern end of the Pinos Altos Mountains. Pinos Altos is a very old mining town; it was Grant County's first county seat.
"Pinos Altos? It's six miles north of Silver City on NM 15."
The history of humanity is a long and complex one. When stripped of all the manifold facts and figures, it really comes down to two key fundamentals: food and sex. Food sustains the living, while sex insures the continuity of that living.
Mildred Cusey spent most of her life engaged in the professional aspects of both basics. She was early caterer for the former and later entrepreneur of the latter.
Most of the 300 residents of this mountain hamlet will say that far from being an appendage to Silver City, Pinos Altos is a distinctive community in its own right. Looking down on the larger city from an altitude of 7,040 feet, it is ten degrees cooler in the summer and ten degrees brisker in the winter.
For travelers on I-10 in Southern New
Mexico, there's an escape from the truck traffic and even from the 20th
century: a side trip to the ghost town of Shakespeare,
located about three miles south of Lordsburg. Because this
place is privately owned by the Hill family, a visitor has to catch one of the
weekend tours (Call ahead to schedule).
Tucked against rolling mountain foothills at 5,920 feet, Silver City's mild climate, Victorian charm, friendly people and proximity to the Gila Wilderness have for decades attracted adventurers and people seeking a healthy, low-key lifestyle. Longtime mining and ranching influences commingle with such growing segments as retirees, entrepreneurs, artists and naturalists.
So you've decided to explore Southern New Mexico. You
have your road maps, a cooler of food and beverages, and jugs of water in the
back just in case. You set out across broad basins under an ocean of blue
sky, wandering over rugged mountains rising up from the surrounding
plains. The rolling massiveness of the Cooks Range, the
rocky needles of the Organ Mountains, and the lofty heights of
the Mogollons inspire you. You're an idealist. But
no matter how romantic your impressions may be, no matter how much the bright
sunshine makes the expansive scenery glitter, the chances are what you won't be
thinking about is a fortune in gold. As you gaze out over the enchanting
vistas, odds are you won't be imagining a long, trailing caravan of Spaniards
and Indians trekking over ridges and basins in search of a golden legend.
Sometimes the unseen hand of fate descends to arrange a
unique opportunity. When visiting Steins (pronounced Steens)
Railroad Ghost Town, just off I-10 in southern New Mexico near
the Arizona state line, I had the chance to take a rare photograph.
By It has been written that behind every great personal
fortune lies a crime, and there is probably no better illustration of that adage
than the cattle empires of the Old West. New Mexico's territorial days offer a
number of such illustrations, but perhaps none better than the story of the
Lyons and Campbell Ranch and Cattle Company of the Gila River country and beyond.
Angus Campbell, a Scotsman, came to New Mexico from
California after gold-rushing with his parents. He discovered what became the
Gosette Mine on Lone Mountain in the late 1870s, established a foundry in
Silver City, and went into business with
Thomas Lyons, an Englishman who had recently arrived in the Territory from
Wisconsin. The partnership prospered, but the two decided that the future was in
cattle and in 1880 sold their mine and foundry and began to acquire land and
cattle. The "LC," as the company was popularly known, began its climb from
modest ranch to cattle empire, and its holdings at the turn of the century
stretched from Silver City west to Arizona and from Mule Creek south to Animas - more, it was said, than five hundred
It's no secret why we call New Mexico the Land of Enchantment. Our state
possesses some of the nation's most beautiful natural wonders, including
Carlsbad Caverns, Taos' Moreno Valley and
White Sands National Monument.
Having grown up in Silver City at the doorstep of the
Gila National Forest, I have always felt very lucky to have
come from such a special place. During my time as a Senator, I've worked to help
promote New Mexico and its splendor as a tourist destination - because it's
important to our people, our economy and also our sense of pride in our home
For attractive, comfortable, and convenient lodgings in Silver City, no place surpasses the Palace Hotel. The hotel's charm combines old world elegance with down home Western comfort. Situated on the corner of Broadway and Bullard Streets, the heart of downtown Silver City's historic district, the Palace Hotel is within walking distance to shops, galleries, and restaurants.
The West Street Inn is Silver City's newest and most elegant private guesthouse. The inn is available as a short term rental and features executive accomodations. It is designed in a contemporary southwestern style with warm glazed walls, tile floors, comfortable furnishings, and quality bedding. Whether you are vacationing in the area, traveling on business, or considering a relocation, the West Street Inn is your ideal choice in fine affordable lodging.
Certain stories are so evocative of time and place, they
enter a zone of both fiction and common knowledge. The story of the Johnson
Massacre is such a story. It has been retold in books and magazines claiming to
report real life in early New Mexico. The story has been borrowed by the movies,
for its dramatic qualities give themselves to the medium of film. Let me tell
you the legend, and the real incident which gave rise to it.
"The months ahead are filled with exciting events in the Silver City area," according to Camille Clark, the new director for the Silver City Grant County Chamber of Commerce. The Silver City calendar is peppered with exciting events that really capture the romance of this southwestern town.