Swastika Mining Camp, Colfax County, New Mexico Genealogy

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Location:                     6 miles northwest of Raton

GPS:                           For Brilliant:    Latitude: 36.956 N;     Longitude: -104.534 W.

Elevation:                    7,165 feet (2,184 meters)

Map:                           Interactive Map.

Photos:                       Swastika Fuel Company building in Raton, 1923; Coal dry cleaning plant, 1925; foundation ruins looking south; Company homes, c.1925; Sherman pp.202-203; Swastika miner with a Fancy Lump; Swastika Fuel Company advertisement, p.155;

Post Office:                 Established 1919, discontinued 1940

                                  Name changed to Brilliant 1940, discontinued 1954.

                                  For town details on Brilliant, click here


Census Data:              No enumeration on 1900 US Census.


At the end of World War I, the Swastika Fuel Company, owned and operated by the St. Louis, Rocky Mountain and Pacific Company, was organized to open new coal deposits south of Brilliant. Soon the camp of Swastika began to take shape with neatly laid out plots of brick and concrete homes. To the local townsfolk the good fortune of swastika meant a regular pay check, warm comfortable company houses, education for the children, and company sponsored events for their entertainment.

The camp consisted of families with strong Italian imigrants with great enthusiasm for soccer. When Swastika challenged opponents, generally two neighboring camps would join together to play the game against them.

As increased oil exploration stimulated Texas and Oklahoma, more coal  was supplied from the camps of northeastern New Mexico for conversion into steam power to drive the rotary drills. This business aided Swastika, and its population reached 500 in 1929.

The old town of Brilliant, located about a mile to the north, had closed its doors. Hence, at the beginning of World War II, when the name Swastika was no longer appropriate, the name was changed to Brilliant II.

The Site of Swastika (New Brilliant) today is reduced to rows of concrete foundation outlines and black mine dumps about half a mile along Dillon Canyon.

Family History Links:

1. Robert Jefferson Bartholomew, The Raton War Years 1940-1945, by William Carroll, page 4.

2. Vincent Donnetti, American Mining and Metallurgical Manual, page 282.

3. Ricardo L. Garcia, Coal Camp Days, A boys' Remembrance, by Ricardo L. Garcia. pages 281.

4. Carlo Garicelli, Annual Report by the State Inspector of Mines to the Governor of the State of New Mexico, 1917. page 32. Google Books.

5. Adelina Rea. Scarpaci and Mormino page 90.

6. Joe Tomassi, Annual Report by the State Inspector of Mines to the Governor of the State of New Mexico, 1917. page 32. Google Books.

7. Loreto and Pasqualina Ranaldi Vallucci, and son Vincenzo Vallucci. Scarpaci and Mormino, page 90.

8. Alphabetic list of 314 people mentioned in The Brilliant Story by Father Stanley, click here.

1. Ghost Towns and Mining Camps of New Mexico, by James E. and Barbara Sherman. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman. 1974. Google Books

2. The Journey of the Italians in America by Vincenza Scarpaci and Gary R. Mormino. Google Books.

3. New Mexico, the land of opportunity: Official data on the Resources by New Mexico Board of Exposition Managers.Swastika Fuel Company by L.C. White,  page 41. Google Books.

4. The Brilliant, New Mexico Story by Father Stanley, January 1967.