Otero, Colfax County, New Mexico Genealogy

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Location:                      5 miles south of Raton

GPS:                           Latitude: N; Longitude: -105. W.


Map:                            Interactive Map.

Photos:                        Miguel A. Otero, pp.167 in Ghost Towns and Mining Camps of New Mexico by

                                   James and Barbara Sherman.

Post Office:                  Established 1879, discontinued 1880.

Cemetery:                    Otero cemetery

Census Data:               1880 Settlers;


Otero was located 5 miles south of the present location of Raton. It was originally a camping site for the Jicarillas, Utes and some Plains Native Ameican Tribes, and later a sheep grazing range for flocks out of Las Vegas and Taos. Later, wagon trains going to the Cimarron country or to Mora, would often stop here, there was short grass and a river nearby. This was followed by squatters by the score, but for many ejection suits sent them off to other less distressing homesteads. The Post Office was established in 1879 and discontinued in 1880. Nothing is left of Otero, the town for a short time was at the end of the railroad track for the Atcheson, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad that came in New Mexico. When the tracks reached Otero in 1879, a festive celebration was held honoring New Mexico Territorial Governor, Miguel A. Otero, for whom the town was named.

For a few months, Otero was a busy railroad town, and when the division point of the railroad was moved to Raton, the people and the town moved either to Las Vegas or Raton. Many houses, some of which are still standing in 2010, were physicallly moved to Raton. For a time, Otero was then used as a cattle shipping center.

Some of the well known town dwellers were: Dolores "Steamboat" Martinez a well known dance hall operator; Dr. T.O. Washington, a notorious doctor.

Although the town was short lived, it claimed: a newspaper, the Otero Optic (now the Las Vegas Optic), first printed on May 22 ,1879; a popular dancehall; five stores, commission houses, one hotel, two restaurants, a school house, an art gallery, a livery stable, a jail.