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Chloride NM Townsite - Ghost town

Photos Courtesy of Mike Sinnwell March 2011

Give credit to Don and Dona Edmunds for their efforts in saving this Ghost town. Founded in 1870’s by accident it is no accident that the town is still there. Their dedication and hard work has made it possible for you to visit a classic old west ghost town.

As the story goes, a mule skinner working for the US Army spotted some float as he was hauling freight through the area. He completed his contract and came back with a partner in 1879 to staked a claim. Poor Harry Pye did not last long as he was attacked and killed a few months later by Indians.  

That didn’t stop the miners as the word somehow got out that there was a rich silver strike and soon a tent city sprang up. In 1880 the miners called the town Chloride after the type of silver ore they found near the new city.  By 1881 the town had eight saloons, three mercantile stores, two butcher shops, a hotel, assay office, livery stables, candy store, drug store, law offices, a Chinese laundry and a millinery store. They even had a stage line, a newspaper and a post office.  

Women were so scarce that the founding fathers offered free building sites to any woman that chose Chloride as a place to live. This was also available to the father of the first born, that is providing you could identify the father.  

When the US government declared gold as the monetary standard in the 1890’s Chloride started to decline. Silver prices dropped so low you could not afford to haul it out.  

Talked to Don, the man that is restoring and buying up old buildings in Chloride NM today. I always wondered about some of the gambling stories I read and heard about in the old west. Cowboys, bankers and miners sitting around the poker table gambling for their mines, ranches etc. I figured it was all Hollywood stories used to embellish movies and authors trying to make a book more exciting. Don told me that after he agreed to purchase an old building the fellow walked back to his room and produced the deed to the building. Don unfolded it and it was a mess. The deed had at least a dozen names starting with the original owner crossed out and another name added to it, all dating back to the 1880s. The last name on the title was the guy who was selling the building. When Don asked him about the crossed out names he simply said, "I won it in a poker game and so did all the names before mine."  Don said the title company went nuts when he gave it to them to do a title search.

I spent several hours with Don on a private tour and it was fun. Stories for every building.

Plenty to see and friendly folks to share their town. Go here to see more - http://www.pioneerstoremuseum.com