Baldy Mining Camp, Colfax County, New Mexico Genealogy
Location: Northeast of Eagles Nest, and north of Ute Park, which is west of Cimarron. East of
Ute Park, off of US 64, take County Road B-13 north to the end.
GPS: Latitude: 36.6264 N; Longitude: -105.1906 W.
Elevation: 9,820 feet (2,993 meters)
Post Office: Established 1888, discontinued 1926.
Census Data: 1880 Census: see Elizabethtown or Ute Creek. The people who lived in Baldy were probably enumerated in one of those precincts.
1900 Census . Other close enumeration precincts are: Ponil, Ponil Park, Elizabethtown and Cimarron.
The gold strike that gave the surge to establishing the mountain burg of Baldy took place in the early 1860's, when a Ute Indian showed a rich "copper" float at Fort Union. This Native American led the interested men (WH Kroenig and William Moore) near the barren top of Mt. Baldy. The two men staked a claim (Mystic Lode Copper Mine) in 1866. Later they sent 3 men to work at the site, while camping at Willow Creek, they discovered gold.
While they swore to secrecy by the spring, the news leaked and started a stampede to the area. In 1867, Mathew Lynch and Tim Foley discovered gold bearing quartz veins on the east slope of Baldy Mountain, The Aztec Lode, was said to be the richest in the Western United States.
Baldy was located about 3 miles down Ute Creek from the Baldy mines. The mining camp had about 600 to 800 miners: 2 boarding houses, large enough to house 100 men, one called "Hotel Baldy" with 2 dining rooms and a bar room served the elite, a saloon, a store, and a post office. The peak of its population was in the early 1880 when it reached 2,000. In 1897 it claimed: 200 inhabitants, a public school, a Methodist Church, 12 producing mines, 4 stamp mills, a telephone line to Springer, a blacksmith, tailor, barber, laundry, justice of the peace, saloons, general stores, and livery stable. By 1899, 3 million dollars worth of gold had been mined.
Supplies were freighted in over tortuous roads to keep the hotels, bars, and stores supplied over the long winter months. Game was shot and trapped to feed the hundreds of miners. In 1918, more than 400 victims of the influenza epidemic were buried.
W. P. McIntyre, who arrived in 1897, was convinced that a mother lode, lay deep inside the Mt. Baldy Mountain. He and his brother Alex McIntyre devoted the rest of their lives to digging a tunnel through the mountain, 2,000 feet below the peak. For 36 years two tunnels on opposite sides, ate into the mountain. W.P. McIntyre died in 1930. Six years later, the tunnels almost met. They were within an inch of each other. They never found the mother lode they were looking for.
In 1903 there was a short lived resurgence of the town with new discoveries of gold played up by the newspapers. In 1941, the buildings of the town were razed sold as scrap iron and lumber to the government for the war effort. Today, the only visible signs are: stone ruins, a chimney, mill foundations, mine tailing dumps, and a smelter slag pile. The site is part of the Philmont Boy Scout Ranch.
Family History Links:
1. Fine Hammell, Stanley, page 216.
1. Ghost Towns and Mining Camps of New Mexico, by James E. and Barbara Sherman. University of Oklahoma Press, Norman. 1974.
2. The Grant that Maxwell Bought by F. Stanley, page 216.Google Books.
3. New Mexico Magazine, May 1947.
4. The Mines of New Mexico: Inexhaustible deposits of gold, silver, copper, lead and coal.1895. By the Burau of Immigration. pages 11-14. Google Books.
5. The Denver Public Library in its Western History Photograph Collection has an undigitized folder for Baldy.