Andrews east of present-day Hillsboro, New Mexico, USA.
Remains of the dance hall/hotel.

The abandoned mining town of Andrews lies east of Hillsboro, New Mexico, USA.  It is the site of the El Oro facilities and a number of shafts.  Traveling along NM-152, turn west at MP 55, and travel 3.2 miles westward and then northwestward as indicated in the map below.  The second half of the road requires a high clearance vehicle.  There are a number of building foundations, some standing walls, and several mine shafts at the location.  

Andrews Access

At the turn off from NM-152 there is signage for the Copper Flat Mining Facility owned by THEMAC, a Canadian-based mining company.  Do not be fooled, this is a public road.  The route is fairly straightforward, take the first clear road to the right and then stay left anytime there is an opportunity to do otherwise.

Andrews is named after William Henry Andrews.  Andrews moved to Sierra County after losing an election in Pennsylvania.  He was elected to the New Mexico Territorial Council in 1903.  He was a Delegate to Congress from the New Mexico Territory from 1905 until 1911.  He had great aspirations to a Senate seat when New Mexico became a state but Thomas B. Catron and Albert B. Fall apparently got in the way.  His arrival date in Sierra County varies with the source, Wikipedia (7/9/2015) gives it as 1902.  “The Report of the Governor of New Mexico to the Secretary of the Interior” dated September 12, 1900, which covered the fiscal year ending June 30, 1900 states that: 

Andrews entered the field of mining in New Mexico in 1897.  He purchased and bonded a large number of claims in the Hillsboro district...retained...El Oro, Golden Rule...Situated on the El Oro are the company’s buildings, which consist of a hotel, store, corral capable of stabling 30 head of horses...(Andrew’s home)...and a bunk house.  The latter has just been completed, and is unique in its arrangements.  Every employee is supplied with an iron bedstead, mattress, and pillow.  There are reading and toilet rooms, the former supplied with the latest periodicals and newspapers, and the latter with towels, soap, etc.  Each occupant is assessed 10 cents per week, which defrays the expenses of the janitor and subscriptions to the magazines and newspapers.  All the buildings are substantial and comfortable.  

The improvements are under way and contemplated are a schoolhouse, which may be used on Sundays for religious services, an electric plant, capable of furnish power for 400 16-candlepower incandescent lights and 10 arc lights, and the enlargement of the corral.” (pp. 424-425)

Harley (Bulletin 10) was able to visit the site in the early 1930’s (p.163).  Apparently the shafts had been flooded, dewatered, flooded, dewatered etc..... His opinion was that “the surface plant and improvements in progress were larger than justified and that they represented an ill-advised expenditure of money in view of the very small amount of ore actually blocked out in the mine.”  He estimated that the total production of this part of the Hillsboro Mining District, from its founding to the time of his report in 1933, was not more than $285,000.

The remaining walls of the hotel/dancehall which stands on the hillside across the wash from the mine workings is shown above.  During prohibition it was rumored to be a speak easy - it was certainly easy to see the sherif coming from miles away.  The get-a-way car might need a tune-up, however.  The mine infrastructure (see photo below) was extensive.  Like so many operations in the area it is difficult to know if they were based on hope or fraud.  

Additional photographs from Andrews are included in the photo gallery.  The drive out to Andrews is the subject of an auto tour video, which may also be accessed through the Roads of the Black Range video portfolio or directly.  It is embedded below.

© Robert Barnes 2018-2023