Date of visit:
September 12, 2000
For location of this site in NM, click on the map:
We rate this site a:
Close to Magdalena
Open summers only
Modest entry fees
View of valley
|Go to first part of day trip - Very Large Array
Go to third part of day trip - Fort Craig
|November 25, 2010
Kelly Mine Videos!
The author has returned to Kelly mine .. this time with a video camera. Meet Ms. Zamora, the owner of Tony's Rock Shop ... see her Smithsonite collection ... followed by a video tour of Kelly Mine.
|September 25, 2010
Kelly Mine Rock Picking Details!
A reader posed a question on how best to harvest rock specimens and what types are still available. Images are provided.
|August 18, 2010
Kelly Mine Update!
Available at last ... the latest and most complete information regarding legally accessing the Kelly and associated mines.
J. S. Hutchason, known as "Old Hutch," is credited with being the father of the Magdalena mining district.
His discoveries spawned the mining camp of Kelly.
Hutchason was poking around the Magdalena Mountains in the spring of 1866 when he found rich lead outcroppings. He staked the Juanita Mine and, three weeks later, the Graphic Mine. In those early days the ore was smelted locally in adobe furnaces called "vassos," and then an ox team to Kansas City hauled the metal.
Probing farther around the hills, "Old Hutch" found another promising prospect, which he obligingly turned over to a friend, Andy Kelly, who operated a local sawmill. Kelly gave his name to the mine and worked it for a time, but when he failed to do the required assessment work, Hutchason jumped the claim.
Meanwhile, prospectors attracted to the area about 1879 laid out a townsite on the west slope of the Magdalena Mountains and named it for Kelly.
In the late 1870's Hutchason sold his Graphic Mine for thirty thousand dollars. He also sold the Kelly Mine, which in turn was resold to Gustav Billing for forty-five thousand dollars. In 1881 Billing erected a smelting plant near Socorro at Park City which treated ore from the Kelly and other mines until 1893. In 1896, with the construction of the Graphic Smelter, Magdalena became the smelting town for Kelly. It treated the ore there until 1902.
With the advent of the 1880’s, the small camp of Kelly began to experience a promising growth and much activity. A branch line of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe reached Magdalena, four miles from Kelly, in 1885. Daily stages ran to Magdalena, a school, two hotels, a resident doctor, and the usual assortment of stores and saloons served Kelly. The camp also boasted a fine water system with pipes conducting mountain spring water throughout the town. With the increasing influx of miners, sleeping accommodations were scarce. Supposedly, the two hotels rented beds in eight-hour shifts.
About the turn of the century, as lead and silver were being wrenched from the earth, a discarded greenish rock was being tossed high on the waste dump piles. Cory T. Brown of Socorro shipped away some of the rock to have it tested. It turned out to be a valuable zinc carbonate called smithsonite. Brown, in partnership with J. B. Fitch, immediately leased the Graphic property and began stripping the dumps of the smithsonite. Kelly's second era of prosperity dawned as others leased properties and began doing the same thing. In 1904 Brown and Fitch pocketed a tidy sum by selling the now celebrated Graphic Mine to Sherwin Williams Paint Company. Billing sold the Kelly Mine to Tri-Bullion, who then built a smelter at Kelly.
Kelly began to boom with prosperity as it reaped the profits of smithsonite. The camp became the state's leading producer of zinc. Kelly expanded to include two schools; three churches, a Catholic, Methodist Episcopal, and Presbyterian; and a moving picture parlor. By 1931 the smithsonite deposits were exhausted. Gradually, mining throughout the district began to decrease, allowing Kelly to die. Today some mining is still being done near Kelly, but the prosperous camp that once had a population of three thousand no longer claims any residents. The only intact building is the white-stucco-front Catholic Church, where mass is still offered once a year. Adobe and rock ruins dot both sides of the dirt road beyond the church. Extensive mine workings, tailing dumps, old mine buildings, and headframes stand rusted and neglected farther up Kelly Canyon. Facing the church on the hillside is Kelly's cemetery.
In mid-2009 we were contacted by Ms. Jeanette Hopkins regarding the availability of any maps relating to the Kelly mine area. Maps of Kelly, of any kind, we did not possess. Our subsequent e-mail exchanges resulted in Ms. Hopkins, on her own, obtaining two significant maps of Kelly which she graciously forwarded to me as scanned images.
For those visitors to this web page that wish to obtain a true copy of the maps of the Kelly Townsite and Kelly Mining Claims, they may be purchased from the Socorro (NM) County Assessor. The particulars are:
Socorro County Assessor
You can call and pay by credit card. Each map is $4 (year 2009) including postage.
However, Ms. Hopkins has given me permission to make these scanned map images available for the asking. The details on these scanned images are adequate and should serve the purpose of gleaning any information to both the townsite and mining claims.
Because these images are 5 Mb and 9.8 Mb in size, they could not be stored on this web site server due to storage limitations. If anyone is interested in a copy of either (or both), please send an e-mail to the author asking for the images. They will be forwarded as soon as practical. The images are in *.TIF format, readable by any graphic, or Windows, program. Send that e-mail by using our contact page.
To demonstrate the detail(s) shown on each map, we have provided examples below. Click on each link to open the samples:
200 Church St.
Sorocco, NM 87801
Phone (575) 835-0714
Fax (575 )835-0940
Ms. Jeanette Hopkins may be reached at
Update posted: December 19, 2009
(e-mail: hoppybb49 at mac dot com)
|Site Gallery - Kelly Mine
|Kelly Mine Update
|Through the persistent, tenacious, and diligent efforts of one individual with particular interest in the Kelly and associated nearby mines, a detailed summary of how a person may legally access and explore this region is now available. For years prior, anyone entering the Kelly Mine did so without apparently realizing (or ignoring the fact) that this mine as well the surrounding land was private property. This author was equally guilty of that ignorance 10 years ago when he first briefly visited Kelly. With this newfound awareness, this author as well as future visitors now have information and guidance of how to walk and explore Kelly, not in violation of property rights, but with sanctioned permission (with signed waivers) as well with advisories as to how to explore the mine area safely.
The update summary is detailed and specific and is available as a downloadable PDF document. Upon downloading, the visitor may store that document off line for later retrieval and/or print out a hard copy for contact information as well as an in-field in-hand guide to the mine area.
Downloadable update ... Kelly Mine Update ... (700 Kb)
>>> MODIFIED & RE-POSTED 12-03-2010 <<< at request of Mine Owners
Query and Response ... Kelly Mine Pickings ... (65 Kb)
>>> MODIFIED & RE-POSTED 12-03-2010 <<< at request of Mine Owners
|Site Gallery - Kelly Mine Update
|Geology and Ore Deposits of the Magdalena Mining District, New Mexico
(Above - Kelly Townsite ... Magdalena Mountain, in right middle ground, is also called Picture Mountain because the round patch of talus surrounded by brush on the northeast slope resembles the profile of a human head. The mountain is capped with pink rhyolite, which merges into the dike that forms the high cliff on the east slope. The dike strikes north, parallel to the plane of the picture. The horizontal layers to the left of the dike represent the glassy top of the upper andesite. The same formations constitute Elephant Butte, on the extreme left, and the hill in the southwest corner of the district. The low mounds in the valley between Magdalena Mountain and Elephant Butte are remnants of pediments equivalent to the lower pediments within the district.
For the mineral collector or geologist, the United States Department of the Interior Geological Survey published Professional Paper 200 in 1942 entitled Geology and Ore Deposits of the Magdalena Mining District, New Mexico, authored by G.F. Loughlin and A.H. Koschmann. Prepared in cooperation with the State Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources and the New Mexico School of Mines, this technical paper summarizes all aspect of the Kelly region (in particular) as to its geologic formation, mining productivity, and eventual collapse as an economic zone.
For those inclined into the geologic background of the Magdalena Mining District, it is worth downloading this free publication from Google Books (download here). The paper abstract states ...
ABSTRACT ... The Magdalena district, in Socorro County, central New Mexico, is about 65 miles south of Albuquerque and 28 miles west of Socorro. It comprises Granite Mountain and the northern part of the Magdalena Range. It has been one of the more productive mining districts in the State, but owing to declining prices in lead and zinc and the depletion of the largest developed ore bodies, its largest mines have been closed or worked on a small to moderate scale by lessees since 1930. Its early production was chiefly of lead and silver, but since the discovery of zinc carbonate ore in 1903 and the erection of mills to treat sulphide ore a few years later, zinc ore has been the most valuable product.
Geology -The Magdalena Range and Granite Mountain are of the Basin and Range type. They consist of westward-tilted and faulted Carboniferous sedimentary rocks that lie on a basement of pre-Cambrian rocks and are covered with volcanic rocks in part if not wholly of Tertiary age.
The oldest pre-Cambrian formations are argillite and schist. They were invaded successively in pre-Cambrian time by masses of gabbro and felsite, a granite batholith, and many diabase dikes.
From the end of pre-Cambrian igneous activity until Mississippian time the region was subjected to erosion, which exposed the granite batholith. On this erosion surface the Kelly limestone, of Mississippian age, was deposited. This formation, which is 130 feet thick, is the principal ore-bearing formation of the district. The Sandia formation, of Pennsylvanian age, with a total thickness of about 550 feet, overlies the Kelly limestone in apparent conformity, although the two formations do not represent successive periods of time. The Madera limestone, also of Pennsylvanian age, overlies the Sandia formation in apparent conformity. During Permian time the Abo sandstone was deposited on the Madera limestone, without conspicuous angular unconformity, although its basal beds locally contain Madera pebbles, and it is known that some interval elapsed between Madera and Abo time.
No Mesozoic rocks are present. (continued on downloaded paper)
Image source: USGS, Paper 200, Google Books)
(Surface plant of Kelly Mine in 1916, looking north. Traylor shaft in left foreground; ore bin and dump of Kelly tunnel in right foreground. High slope on left is capped with cliff-forming beds of Madera limestone. Lower quartzite member of Sandia crops out above ore bin on extreme right. Level-topped central area represents pediment F.
For those that are only interested in the paper's relevance to the Kelly and Juanita Mines, we have extracted the appropriate pages and offer them as a downloadable PDF file ..
Download USGS Paper 200 (extract from Google Books) ...
Image source: USGS, Paper 200, Google Books)
Geology and Ore Deposits of the Magdalena Mining District ... (2.1 Mb)
|Text source partially extracted from:
Ghost Towns and Mining Camps of New Mexico, James E. Sherman, 1975
New Mexico's Best Ghost Towns, Philip Varney, 1999