Bigelow Mine

The Bigelow Mine is located northeast of Hillsboro, New Mexico.  

The Bigelow mine is known by a number of variants, including Big-Low, Bigelow, Bigelow Group, and Bigelow Mine - the most common reference found on the web.  In "The Geology and Ore Deposits of Sierra County, New Mexico" by George Townsend Harley it is referred to as the Bigelow Group (p. 144).  The Bigelow claims were in a valley at about 6,000 feet on the west slope of Richmond Mountain.  The valley to the north is where the Garfield/Butler Mine Group was and the Bonanza Mine was located in the valley to the south.  Harley (ibid. p 145) believed that the vein that was worked at the Big-Low Mine was an extension of the vein mined at the Mary Richmond Mine on the east side of Richmond Mountain.

Federico Antonio Chavez Luna describes working at this mine in his video interview.


When Steve Elam and I explored this location on March 12, 2015, we found that the main shaft at the Big-Low Mine was finished by boards on all sides for the first 90 feet (framegrab above from video taken by Elam at about 90 feet).  Video of the shaft can be viewed on "Mines of the Hillsboro Mining District - Volume One”and "Mines of the Hillsboro Mining District - Volume 2", these video are also embedded below.


In Bulletin 39, “The Metal Resources of New Mexico and Their Economic Features Through 1954” by Eugene Carter Anderson for the State Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources (published in 1957) it states that “The Anderson Extension, Biglow, El Oro, Snake, Black Peak, and Portland properties were worked for short periods in 1950 and 1951. In 1952 the district produced 125 ounces of gold.” (p. 124) 

The “Diggings” website notes that A. L. Bird (Frederico Antonio Chavez Luna’s step-father) owned this mine from 1935 until 1950.  In 1950 Manuel L. Trujillo obtained ownership.  The mine first started production in 1885 and the last year of production was 1950.  Gold, lead, and zinc are all present in the mining group.  “The Bigelow claims consist of two northeast trending parallel oxidized veins which follow along latite dikes emplaced within fault-fracture zones.  The western vein was reported to be 3 feet wide.  The eastern vein was reported to be 12 to 18 inches wide and mineralized the full length of a 400 foot tunnel.  The mine consists of three unpatented claims.”

The gold ore specimen from the Bigelow Mine shown below is housed in the Mineral Museum of the New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology in Socorro, New Mexico.

Gold from the Bigelow Mine
 Mineral Museum New Mexico Institute of Mining
and Technology Socorro, New Mexico

Bigelow Mine2

Next to the headframe (see photo above) of the main shaft is a stone hut (photos above and below from March 12, 2015) which housed the winch which was used to lower and raise miners and ore.  The winch is gone but in March 2015 a barrel stove was located in the corner.

Bigelow Mine1

There are two shafts at the Big-Low Mine, both are deep and vertical.  The sides of the shafts are unstable so great care is warranted.  A fall would be fatal.  The photo below is of the second shaft, which does not have a headframe.  The fencing around the shaft is in disrepair.  The sides of the shaft have calved over time and are very unstable.  This shaft is about 100’ deep and appears to have a lateral mine to the north at that depth.


The two photographs below were taken from across the ravine to the north and show the mine on December 16, 2007.

Big-Low Mine, Hillsboro Mining District

Big-Low Mine 2, Hillsboro Mining District

© Robert Barnes 2018