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Date of visit:
July 31, 2000

For location of this site in NM, click on the map:
 Location of Mogollon Ghost Town ...

We rate this site a:

Site Highlights:
 Gila National Forest
 Tough to get to
 Few visitors
 Still inhabited
 Narrow valley
 Abandoned mines
 High in mountains


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Mogollon - Getting There

Road to Mogollon
Road to Mogollon

Be advised ...

Be advised ...

Believe it !

Believe it !
Tucked away in a narrow defile of Silver Creek Canyon, which winds its way through the precipitous Mogollon Mountains rests the quiet town of Mogollon.

The road to Mogollon, hacked out of mountainsides by convict labor in 1897, rises to Whitewater Mesa and winds up the western slopes of the Mogollon Mountains. It climbs past Windy Point, near Slaughterhouse Spring, and over Blue Bird Gulch.

You round a corner, and across Silver Creek Canyon is New Mexico's most dramatic ghost town view: the remains of the Little Fannie Mine.

Your telephoto lens or binoculars can pick out the giant mill, with its chalk-white tailings spreading from its base like some colossal, dried-up laundry soap overflow.

The headframe, which covers a shaft sixteen hundred feet deep; the long covered conveyer, the link between headframe and mill; and the blacksmith shop, assay office, machine shop, and miners' residences that extend to the right and left of the major buildings.

Yet out of your view, over a rise of Fannie Hill, is much more.

You are at seven thousand feet, and so is the mine, but you will have to descend over six hundred feet into remarkable Mogollon. Its two dozen or so stone and wooden buildings and several nearly collapsed shacks line a once-bustling thoroughfare. A narrow dirt road winds north up Jack Canyon past the site of the Spanish red-light district. There it bends west around a mountain slope and past rusty machinery and abandoned mine buildings, a few of which are private residences, to the Little Fanny Mine buildings that are perched on top of an extensive fanshaped tailings dump.

Early in the eighteenth century, Don Juan Ignacio Flores Mogollon served as the Spanish governor of lands from present New Mexico to the Pacific coast. Later the extensive mountain range of western New Mexico was given his name, and amid the mountains of this locality grew the gold and silver mining camp of Mogollon.

Mogollon - Welcome
Welcome to Mogollon
Welcome to Mogollon
The intrepid visitor   Walking the street
The intrepid visitor
Mogollon is one of New Mexico's two or three premier ghost towns and certainly the best major site in a beautiful setting. Farther east up the street are two structures almost too photogenic to be real, and they aren't: a saloon on the south side and a general store across the street were part of a movie set. Only in Hollywood would you ever have a combination general store and blacksmith. See general store.

Mogollon - Town History
Early Mogollon Street (Date unknown)
Early Mogollon Street
(Date unknown)

By 1889 mines were developed in Silver Creek.

John Eberle, discoverer of the Last Chance vein, built the first log cabin in Mogollon.

Harry Herman started a sawmill and lumber trade and donated timbers for the construction of the first jail.

On occasion, when "Uncle Harry" went on a drinking bout and was thrown into his own jail, he swore that when released he would burn the place down. The town buildings were constructed of lumber, a post office opened in 1890, and the first school was added about l892.
Mogollon Fire of 1915
Mogollon Fire of 1915
From early in its life, Mogollon was plagued by a series of fires and floods. The first big fire of 1894 wiped out most of the town buildings, but ambitious citizens immediately rebuilt, using stone and adobe.

Other fires followed in 1904, 1910, 1915, and 1942, each one claiming lives and destroying property.

Mogollon Flooding of 1914
Mogollon Flooding of 1914
With the melting snows and heavy spring rains, yearly floods occurred.

These flodds rush through Silver Creek, which still runs along the north side of the main street through town.

The years of 1894, 1896, 1899, and 1914 witnessed disastrous torrents of water that swept down the mountain slopes and through the canyon, washing away tailings, dumps, bridges, houses, and people.

Little fanny Mine (remnant)
Little fanny Mine (remnant)

The Mill at Little Fanny Mine
The Mill at Little fanny Mine
Although the devastation by nature threatened to destroy the town several times, new mines-including the Little Fanny, Champion, McKinley, Pacific, and Deadwood-and the older producers extracted approximately one and a half million dollars of gold and silver in 1913, or about 40 per cent of New Mexico's precious metals for that year.

The town became so prosperous that, to some, Silver City was merely the railhead for Mogollon's eight-team freight wagons laden with gold and silver ore. In fact, over eighteen million ounces of silver were taken from the Mogollons, one-quarter of the state's total production. Close to twenty million dollars in gold and silver were extracted, with silver accounting for about two-thirds of the total.

The Express Line
The Express Line

The Mogollon band
The Mogollon band
The Silver City and Mogollon Stage Line provided daily service, hauling passengers, freight, gold, and silver bullion some eighty miles between the towns in fourteen and a half hours.

The community expanded to a population of fifteen hundred by 1915, with electricity, water, and telephone facilities. The school offered education to about three hundred children. In addition to the four merchandise stores, five saloons, and two restaurants, the town had extras including a hospital with three physicians; a photographer; an auto Line; the Midway Theatre; an ice maker; a bakery; and two red-light districts, "Little Italy," the home of eighteen white girls at the west end of town and the Spanish section on the east.

Mill Remnant
Mill remnant

Miner shacks
Minner shacks
During World War I, the demand for gold and silver dropped, and many of Mogollon's mines shut down. The population in 1930 had dropped to a reported two hundred.

In 1934 the price of gold was raised from $20.67 per ounce to $35.00. This impetus created a temporary rejuvenation of life at Mogollon, with the population reportedly zooming to a thousand residents in 1938. World War II again caused a slash in the demand for precious metals, and this turn of events, accompanied by the devastating fire of 1942, almost finished the town.

In 1950 the Little Fanny was the only mine in operation; today it is shrouded in silence.

Site Gallery 1 - The Town
Main Street Mogollon A restored house
Mogollon theatre Museum
Site Gallery 2 - Additional Images
Little Fanny Mine Little Fanny Mine Little Fanny Mine
Little Fanny Mine Images of Mogollon Images of Mogollon
Images of Mogollon Images of Mogollon Images of Mogollon
Images of Mogollon Images of Mogollon Images of Mogollon
For More Information
Glenwood, NM, Chamber of Commerce
Ghost Towns of the American West

Text source partially exrtracted from:
Ghost Towns and Mining Camps of New Mexico, James E. Sherman, 1975
New Mexico's Best Ghost Towns, Philip Varney, 1999

Black and white archival photos extracted from Ghost Towns and Mining Camps of New Mexico
Credited to James Giles, Mogollon, New Mexico
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