Dawson

Name:

Dawson

County:

Colfax

Zip Code:

 

Latitude / Longitude:

36°39’20N 104°46’23W

Elevation:

 

Time Zone:

Mountain (MST) (UTC-7)

Comments:

Dawson (also Mountview) is a ghost town in Colfax County, New Mexico, United States. Dawson was the site of two separate coal mining disasters in 1913 and 1923. Dawson is located about 17 miles northeast of Cimarron, New Mexico. Dawson was a coal mining company town founded in 1901 when rancher John Barkley Dawson sold his coal-rich land in northern New Mexico to the Dawson Fuel Company. The Dawson Railway was built connecting the town to Tucumcari, New Mexico. The mines were productive, and by 1905 the town boasted a population of nearly 2,000, later reaching around 9,000.

Remains:

In 1906, the mines were purchased by th ePhelps Dodge Corporation. The corporation needed to attract workers to the remote location, so they built homes for the miners, along with numerous other facilities including a hospital, department store, swimming pool, movie theater, and a golf course. With these amenities, Phelps Dodge was able to maintain a stable employment rate despite the inherent dangers of mining and the isolation of northern New Mexico. Many of the miners were recent immigrants.

Established:

 

Disestablished:

 

Current Status:

The town of Dawson is now largely gone, with only a few buildings remaining. The tall smoke stacks of the coking ovens were eventually demolished in the early 2000s because they represented a liability to the current owner of the property. The only significant landmark remaining in Dawson is the cemetery, which is on the National Register of Historic Places. The cemetery is filled with iron crosses painted white marking the graves of many miners who died in the mines. Other markers show the burial locations of other residents of Dawson. Dawson can be reached by taking Route 64 approximately 12 miles east of Cimarron and then heading north onto A38 at the striped sign and proceeding on that road for another 5 miles. After A38 crosses the adjacent railroad tracks a second time, turn onto the dirt road on the right (which proceeds east of A38 for approximately 1000 feet) to reach the site of the Dawson cemetery. The ruins of Dawson can be seen by continuing north on A38, which turns into Barus Road and then splits into Lauretta Road and Rail Canyon Road

Remarks:

Dawson did not become a ghost town until 1950, when the Phelps Dodge Corporation shut down the mines. At closure, Mine 6 was the largest producer, and several other mines had been previously closed out because of declining demand. The closures were also due in large part to the completion of the twenty-five year coal contract with the Southern Pacific Railroad. The entire town was sold or razed, with some of the miners’ houses moved to other locations.

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