HILLSBORO WALKING TOUR

 
 


Our tour starts at the intersection of Elenora Street and NM-27, just south of NM-152 - across from and uphill a bit from the volunteer fire department.


If you turn left and head south on NM-27 for about 30 yards you will find the Cuna Cueva Gallery.  The gallery features “unique, one-of-a-kind art from Mexico as well as custom designed furniture and jewelry” - well worth the visit.


Returning to the intersection and heading west on Elenora, the Hillsboro Community Center quickly comes into view.  It is an important
meeting spot for the people of Hillsboro, Berrenda Creek, Lake Valley, Kingston, and Animas Creek.  It is an active music venue and lectures, movies and community meetings are sometimes hosted.  The public library which is housed here provides free internet and phone service.  Built in 1922, this building housed the high school until 1937 and the grade school until 1971.   The Hillsboro Historical Society Blog has an interesting article about the architectural firm which designed the structure.  This building is on the National Register of Historic Places.


Just west of the community center is the Sullivan House which was built in the 1890’s by the Sullivan/Tafoya family.  This building is on the National Register of Historic Places.


Continuing west, the Union Church was built in 1892. To the right is an early view of the inside of the church.  Note the ornate pews. The recollections of Reverend Kuykendall (from 1937) and information about his diaries are covered in the May 9, 2012 posting of the Hillsboro Historical Society.  According to”The English Work of the MEC in Hillsboro, Lake Valley, & Kingston” by Willard Steinsiek (2008) pp. 27-28:


   “Rev. Henry Carlson...preached a sermon on ‘A Temple of Worship

    for the Lord’...(which moved the people)...to undertake a new

    church.”  Steinsiek goes on to quotes a church report that ‘although

    the new church is plainly the outgrowth of this inspired Methodist

    sermon, by one of those uncontrollable tides which arise in the

    affairs of new communities, the enterprise got upon a union basis. 

    The building is advancing to completion...but remains to be seen

    how far it will be conducive to the ultimate strength of Christianity

    in that charge.’ 

        So the hoped for Methodist Church became The Union Church of

    Hillsboro.  It was outfitted with opera house chairs of metal

    and wood, with a hat rack under each chair, and a chandelier

    with space for 12 oil lamps to be individually filled and lit.  Thomas

    Harwood, himself, dedicated the Union Church Building in May

    of 1893.”


Immediately to the west of the church is the Miller House.  It was Built in 1898 from black slag bricks from a local smelter.  Remains of the slag pile can be seen just before the bridge as you enter Hillsboro from the east.  This photograph from about 1900 shows Ninette Stocker Miller (left) and her sister Harriet Stocker Galles on the porch of the house.  The December 5, 2011 blog of the Hillsboro Historical Society covers the history of this interesting family.  This building is on the National Register of Historic Places (George Tambling and Ninette Stocker Miller House).  This home is available for nightly or extended stay rental through airbnb.


Next to the Miller House is the house that Frank W. Parker, the presiding judge in the Fountain Murder Trial, lived in.  It dates, (obviously) to 1899 or earlier.  In 1912 Parker  became Justice of the New Mexico Supreme Court.


Skipping a home you will come to the ruins of the Court House and Jail (photograph right by Jan Haley).  Built in the 1880‘s this building was demolished after the County Seat was moved to Hot Springs (currently called Truth or Consequences) in 1936. Before the County Seat was moved there had been at least one attempt to move the County Seat, in 1909 an attempt was made to move it to Cutter.  Julian Chaves who led the attempt to move the County Seat to Cutter lived next door to the Millers.


Across the street from the Courthouse ruins is the Dines House, it was built before 1893 and is one of at least two homes which are two houses combined into one.


On the hill above the ruins is the King House (photo right), built in about 1900 by a mine manager in Lake Valley.


At the corner of Fourth and Elenora Street is the Tirey House.


The first home beyond 5th Avenue on Elenora (south side or left as you come down from the Courthouse Ruins) is the Murphy or Sheriff’s House.  It was built in the 1890’s by Sheriff Tom Murphy.


Across the street is the Burke-Porter House from about 1886.


Turning around and backtracking a bit to 5th Avenue turn left to Highway 152.  At the corner of 5th and Highway 152 are two adobe homes, one on each side of 5th, both were built in 1893.  The building on the western corner is the Will M. Robins House.  The building on the eastern corner is the John M. Webster House, both are on the National Register of Historic Places.  There are several adobe homes built in a Victorian style in town.


Turning right down Highway 152 and just past the house on the corner is an adobe house built in the 1890’s in “the Italian Style”.  It is known locally as the “Pink Adobe” (photo right) and was the home of Fred Mister who owned one of the last stage coach lines to operate in the United States.  A discussion of the operations of that stage line and the conditions of sale when it was last sold can be found in “The Transport Side of Sadie Orchard” on our Tales of Lake Valley page.


Across the street from the Pink Adobe is the Meyer’s House, pictured in the header of this page.  It dates from the late 1870’s.


Next to the Pink Adobe is an adobe home built in the 1880’s but which has been added on to and modified in the 1940’s and 1970’s.  In 1888 ownership was transferred as part of the Ryan divorce.  Hillsboro has a number of homes which employ alternative
energy (mostly solar) and water conservation measures including harvesting rainwater.


Next door (east) is the Tittman House.  Two adobe homes built before 1893 which were combined in the 1920’s.  Tittman was a delegate to the New Mexico Constitutional Convention in 1910. (Detail shown here.)


Across the street from the Tittman House is the Enchanted Villa Bed and Breakfast. It was built in the later part of 1930’s by Sir Victor Sassoon, who used it as a vacation home.  He was a British baronet who lived most of his life in China, primarily Shanghai.  Sassoon and Sandy Tittman were friends.  On March 9, 1941, The Albuquerque Journal carried a short article about their meeting for lunch with Mrs. Hemlick in the US Senate Dining Room.  Sassoon was in Washington, D.C. to meet with Lord Halifax, the “English” Ambassador to the United States.  By 1938 the relationship between Sassoon and the Japanese had become very tenuous.  The Japanese controlled Shanghai, and much of China, at that point, but seemed to leave the international community and enclave (where many of Sassoon’s holdings were) more or less alone - not wishing to antagonize the British or Americans.  A stalemate of sorts had developed, with the Japanese resorting to subterfuge and warfare by gangs that committed arson, murder, and kidnapping as a way to destabilize the international community.  The situation became untenable for Sassoon, and he left Shanghai in the spring of 1941 - apparently to have lunch
with Miss Tittman.  When the United States entered the war, Sassoon was in Bombay.  Following the war, Sassoon liquidated as many of his holdings in China as possible and moved to the Bahamas.


Next door (east) of the Tittman House is the William H. Bucher House, built prior to 1893 (photo right).  This is one of several homes in Hillsboro which are on the National Register of Historic Places.


Across the street from the Bucher House is Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Mission.  It was reconstructed from the original plans after being destroyed in the 1972 flood.


On the hill behind the Bed and Breakfast is a private home which was the elementary school in Hillsboro until 1937; it was built prior to 1893.  (In the photograph here, the courthouse ruins are in the foreground and across the valley the former elementary school is seen.)  The elementary school was moved to what is now the Community Center in 1937, at the same time that the High School that was housed in the Community Center was moved to Truth or Consequences.


To the east of the Catholic Mission is the Garcia home built prior to 1893.   It was a commercial space and a law office at first.


The General Store Cafe was built in 1879.  It was once part of a much larger building.  A significant portion of the original building was destroyed in the 1914 flood and was not reconstructed.  In the past this building has been a bank, the Keller-Miller Mercantile, and a post office.

In 1900, it was the Keller-Miller Mercantile (photos by George T. Miller).


Today it is a cafe which serves excellent Mexican and American food (and great pie).


Across the street from the Cafe is the Crews House, probably the first adobe home built in Hillsboro.  It was built in 1879.  Crews was a Brigadier General in the Confederate States Army (CSA) and is buried in the Hillsboro Cemetery.


Continuing east from the Cafe (on the south side of Highway 152), the next building is the Alert-Hatcher building built in about 1894.  Like many structures in town it has had a varied life.  A hospital until 1923, then a hotel and cafe, it is now a private home and the site of the Black Range Winery.  This building is on the National Register of Historic Places.  Dana and Ginger Lamb, well known travel writers/”adventurers” lived at the east end of this complex from 1962 until 1979.


Across the street from Hatcher building is the building which houses the United States Post Office and Masons Hall.  This building dates from about 1893.  The Post Office is where locals pick up their mail and share the latest news.


Continuing east from the Post Office
(on the north side of Highway 152 the next complex of buildings houses what was the Barbershop Cafe and consignment shop (now closed).  The original adobe building was built in 1879 and from just after the beginning of the last century to the end of the 1950’s it was a dance hall, consignment shop, a mercantile, a dance hall and the S-Bar-X Bar.  In 1900 in was a saloon, the photograph
was taken by George T. Miller.


Continuing east on the same side of the street is the site of the old bank.  The Rock Copies Greenhouse is now located in this building.  See our interview with its owner, James Laupan.


A short distance east of the old bank are the ruins of a service station destroyed in the September 2, 1972 flood of Hillsboro.  Across the street is the pre-1893 building which once housed the Slease Garage which is pictured on the cover of Around Hillsboro.


There are a group of buildings on the south side of Highway 152 and the east side of Highway 27.


The building on the corner is Sue’s Antiques.  This building was built prior to 1893 and has housed a dance hall, oil storage facility, a pool hall, and a general store.


The building which currently houses the Black Range Museum and the Gift Shop of the Hillsboro Historical Society.  It was built prior to 1893 and was originally the Ocean Grove Hotel.  It housed Tom Ying’s restaurant in the winter of 1918 when the photograph above was taken
.


In the mid-1890’s Sadie Orchard (right) stood in front of the Shady Grove Hotel, thought to be one of her establishments in the Hillsboro and Kingston areas.  She and her husband also ran a stage coach line.  Photo by George T. Miller.


Across the street from this group of buildings is the Hillsboro Park.  Up the hill on Highway 27 brings you to the starting point of our walking tour.


Continuing east past the park and over the bridge you will note the slag on both sides of the road.  The Miller home (near the beginning of the walking tour) was built from this slag.  The smelter was fully operational in 1900 (photo right).


The home just uphill on the
north side of NM-152 (photo right) was once the power house.  The plant, which used coal and then diesel generators was built in 1930 and operated until 1952.   In 1941 the Sierra Electric Cooperative was formed with its headquarters in Hillsboro.  By April 1947 the Sierra County Cooperative and the Town of Hot Springs (Truth or Consequences)
were before the New Mexico Supreme Court arguing over jurisdiction.


On the north side of NM-152, just east of the drive to the old power house is the Romelia Chavez Luna home, built prior to 1893.


Continuing east there are a number of homes before you exit town.  This part of town is generally referred to as “Happy Flat” in the area.  The origin of the name is not known, although some believe that it was a derogatory reference to the Hispanics who lived in this part of town.  In 1890 George T. Miller took several photographs of the area (here and in the right column).



ON THE ROAD TO NUTT


If you are traveling on to Nutt on Highway
27 visit our NM-27 Auto Tour page which includes video and photographs of views along the way - as well as a description of points of interest.





ON THE ROAD TO KINGSTON


If you are traveling on to Nutt on Highway
27 visit our NM-152 East of Hillsboro to Emory Pass Auto Tour which includes video and photographs of views along the way - as well as a description of points of interest.


 

A Stroll Through Hillsboro

Or, if you wish, you can drive



The original plans for the Hillsboro High School - May 1922.

The Union Church Today
The Miller House today (above) and as it looked in 1905 when George T. Miller took a picture of his home (below).

The Sierra County Courthouse was located in Hillsboro in 1892 when this picture (above) was taken.  The photo below shows what part of the ruins look like today.

Dines House

King House
Tirey House
Will M. Robins House
The “Pink Adobe”
Colorful homes abound.  This one is across the street from the Pink Adobe.
Between the Pink Adobe and the Tittman House.
Sasson’s wife founded the Sassoon Heart Foundation following his death.  The Foundation has been recognized in many ways, including the stamp above.
Sasson owned thousands of properties, some large like the Cathay Mansion in Shanghai (above) and some not quite so large like the building which is now the Enchanted Villa B&B (below).

Our Lady of Guadalupe




In March bike racing teams descend on Hillsboro.  Independent riders join strong Regional teams for a day long event.

The General Store Cafe is open from 8 to 3 everyday except Wednesday & Thursday.  It is a Wi-Fi Hotspot.
Local gardens abound in vegetables, fruits, and flowers.




The Old Hatcher Hotel space now houses the Black Range Winery.




The United States Post Office in Hillsboro.




Barbershop Cafe (Closed)




The Old Bank

Flood Ruins




Sue’s Antiques




Black Range Museum




Tom Ying’s Restaurant and Store by George T. Miller in about 1890




Men inside the smelter at Hillsboro by J. C. Burge in about 1900.

Slag from the smelter is on both sides of NM-152 just before the bridge.




“Happy Flat” in 1890 by George T. Miller




A Studio Photograph from the area in about 1890.

Sunsets in the area can be strikingly complex or breath taking in their simplicity.




Wildflowers, like this Evening Primrose, dot the roadsides in Hillsboro.

A town where the value of a good horse is recognized.
A hardcopy tour by Patty Woodruff and Matilde Holzwarth is generally available at businesses in Kingston and Hillsboro & at the Geronimo Springs Museum in Truth or Consequences.


THE CULTURAL HISTORY SEEN THROUGH LANGUAGE


There is some dispute about whether or not there was a Spanish speaking community at “Happy Flats” prior to the mining boom.  However, Hillsboro was primarily an English speaking town during the mining boom - not to discount the Chinese and Spanish speakers.  By 1912 (Steinsiek, 2008, p. 31 - see Kingston page for full reference) Hillsboro was ‘almost depopulated of English speaking people’.  Today, everyone speaks English and many speak Spanish.