1862-70, it was worked by Messrs. Sweet, LaCosta, Brand, and Fresh,
using for their labor Mexicans from Chihuahua and as a smelter a
small Mexican blast furnace with a capacity of about 2,000 pounds of
refined copper per month.
The mass development of the Santa Rita Copper Camp really dates
back to 1873, when it came under American management. Work con-
tinued steadily until the early 188o's when a decline in price caused the
mines to close down until the late 18oo's. Then the Hearst estate
secured an option which in 1899 was sold to the Amalgamated Copper
Company for $1,400,000. Now (1939) the mines are owned by the
Nevada Consolidated Copper Company, and the ore is treated at Hur-
ley, 10 miles south of Santa Rita. The concentrate is shipped to the
American Smelting and Refining Company at El Paso, Texas.
Evidence of old Spanish and Mexican workings have been found
in the mines, even skeletons and old fills together with many old tim-
bers. Since the beginning of steam shovel operations, there have been
further developments. In stripping the Romero section the skeleton
of a very tall man of the Indian type was unearthed, the skull and
teeth practically replaced by carbonate of copper. Two copper bars
three feet in length were also found. They had been punched with a
hole at the end and showed that they had been hammered into shape.
Several vessels of hammered copper have been unearthed, also mining
tools and bullets. On the northern extremity of what is known as the
Hearst pit, while stripping, 50 skeletons were taken out from a depth
of 6 feet above the natural slope and about 15 feet under an old
dump. Legend has it that at one time 50 convict miners were im-
prisoned in this mine by a cave-in and their bodies never recovered.
Encircling the pits of the mine the highway leads westward, passing
the flag station stop of Cobre, 65.6 m., branch railroad from Hurley to
the mines, and Bayard Station, 67.5 m., an unloading point for the
Fort Bayard Hospital, joining US 260 at 68.2 m.
At 68.5 m. is the junction with US 260 (see Tour 18).
US 260 and NM 180 are united to Silver City (see Tour 18).
(Kenton, Oklahoma) — Valley — Folsom — Raton — Hoxie — Col-
fax—Cimarron—Taos; US 64, NM 72, US 64.
Oklahoma Line to Taos, 197.3 m.
Bituminous-paved roadbed between Rat6n and Colfax; elsewhere two-lane