Taos County, New Mexico
Towns, Villages, and Places

This page contributed by Shalane Sheley-Cruz and copyrighted by Karen Mitchell.

These are the towns and villages of Taos County. Many of them no longer exist.
If you have any information about any of these towns and would like to contribute it please contact me at: Karen Mitchell, kmitch web at g mail .com

Agua del Lobo “water wolf” - (See Lobo) It had a post office from 1888-1905 when it was renamed to Lobo.

Agua Viva “living water” - Settlement - Tiny residential area on US 64 ten miles east of Taos in Taos canyon.

Amalia “feminine Spanish name” - (See Piña) Settlement located approximately five miles southeast of Costilla on NM 196. Originally called Piña, the post office has been called Amalia from 1919 to the present.

Amizette (historical) - Mining town - A gold rush ghost town originally located fourteen miles northeast of Taos in the Rio Hondo Canyon with saloons and dance halls. Its first post office -- established in 1893 as a result of a gold rush -- was discontinued in 1902. The gold was still there but the town (highest population 350) died for lack of a cheap way to get the gold out. It was named for the wife of the first prospector Al Helphenstine. It was also known as Twining, but a town with the same name was located just east of Amalia, and is the location now recognized as Twining

Anchor (historical) - Mining town - Originally called Swede Creek, Anchor was established in 1884 as a mining camp. Located northeast of Red River (in the Red River Mining District), it was only one half mile from the town of Midnight and low grade copper, gold & silver was mined there. Both towns disappeared as a result of a litigation battle.

Angostura “narrow” - Settlement three miles southeast of Tres Rito on NM 518, named for the point where Rito Angostura (Narrow Creek) and the Rio Pueblo come together.

Arroyo Hondo “deep stream” - Settlement - A small unincorporated town about eleven miles north of Taos on highway NM 522, Arroyo Hondo was first settled in March of 1813 by Nerio Sisneros and forty-two others. A post office has been in continuous operation since 1885. Arroyo Hondo is where Simon Turley and six to eight employees of his grist mill were killed by Native Americans in 1847 during the Taos Revolt (part of Mexican-American War). There was a very brief gold mining boom at the turn of the twentieth century. The Turley Mill and Distillery Site on Vigil Road are on the Taos County Historic sites list.

Arroyo Seco “dry stream or irrigation ditch” - Settlement located below Taos Mountain, eight miles north of Taos on NM 150. Arroyo Seco first began as a Hispanic outpost along the western Sangre de Cristo Mountains then was settled in 1804 through a 1745 Spanish land grant, led by Cristobal Martinez and Jose Gregorio. The post office was originally established in 1881 as Arroyoseco then the name was officially changed to Arroyo Seco in 1970. Its economy is now based on tourism (as a crafts center) and services to residents of retirement and vacation homes.

Bitter Creek Burg (historical) - Mining town - Bitter Creek Burg (on Bitter Creek northeast of Red River) was one of several mining camps which never got off the ground during the “gold rush” of 1895. See also Gysin City and Jellison City.

Barranca (historical) – Name of a railroad stop on the D&RG Railroad in the 1895 U.S. Atlas of Taos County, it was just north of the Rio Arriba County line, but south of Caliente. No further information available.

Braba - (See Taos Pueblo)

Caliente - (See Ojo Caliente) Name of Ojo Caliente as given in the 1895 U.S. Atlas of Taos County.

Cañon “canyon” - Settlement which began about 1700, located southeast of Taos on Highway NM 76, at the mouth of the canyon of the Rio Fernando de Taos.

Carabel (historical) - Mining camp in the Red River Mining District which mined low grade copper, gold & silver

Carson – A settlement fifteen miles southwest of Taos on NM 567, Carson was named for Christopher “Kit” Carson, and has had a post office since 1912. Dry farmers settled there in the 1920s but the land proved unsuitable for dry farming (non-irrigated cultivation of land). The village has all but disappeared but it still has a post office. The Carson School on state road 96 is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Cavarista (historical) - Settlement which was short lived in the northeast part of the county, located in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. It had a post office briefly in 1895.

Cerro “peak or hill” - Settlement. A farming community just west of NM 522, three miles north of Questa named for the Cerro Guadalupe mountains southwest of there. Settled in 1854 by people from Questa and Taos, it has had post office since 1880. The original plaza was northeast of the present community.

Cerro Community – Possibly the name of the original plaza of Cerro located northeast of Cerro.

Chamisal - Settlement named for the chamisa shrub in the area on NM 76, three miles north of Las Trampas. Chamisal was established in 1850 as a Hispanic farming community from people of Las Trampas and has had a post office since 1904.

Cieneguilla “from cienaga for marsh” - (See Pilar) A settlement which had a post office from 1903 to 1904, Cieneguilla died out, but was “reborn” as Pilar. The Cieneguilla Mining District was named for the town which included Glen-Woody.

Connell (historical) – Identified on the 1895 map of Taos County (U.S. Atlas) as a D&RG railroad stop between Tres Piedras and Servilletta. No further information.

Costilla “rib” - Settlement at the junction of NM 522 and 196, one mile from the Colorado state line. The name comes from the Rio Costillo creek which runs through the village and takes the form of a rib in shape. The area was originally a homeland for the Ute people. Starting in 1849, as part of the effort to encourage occupation on the Sangre de Cristo Land Grant, it was one of the seven plazas settled along the Rio Costilla. Settled by 1852 by people from Taos and Arroyo Hondo, it has had a post office since 1872 and once had four plazas. The NM 196 road formed the main street of town with the four plazas running the length of the village.

Des Montes By Shalane Sheley-Cruz 1-4-2002 - Settlement two miles east of Arroyo Seco, on record as early as 1832. An 1844 record identified the town as Sangre de Cristo de los Des Montes. Early maps had it as Los Montes. Its name probably refers to the mountains to the east.

Don Fernando de Taos - (See Ranchos de Taos)

Don Carlos Fernandez – (See Taos) - The name of a local person in Taos, which was confused with Don Fernando de Taos, the name of Taos at one time.

Edison (historical) – One of the four (others are Anchor, Carabel and Midnight) mining camps in the Red River Mining District

El Padro - (See El Prado)

El Prado “meadow” - Settlement on US 64 two miles northwest of Taos with a post office from 1936 to the present. The name of the town reflects the agricultural origins and is now closely associated with Taos.

El Valle “valley”- Tiny settlement southeast of Las Trampas off NM 76 on Forest Road 207 in the Carson National Forest.

Fernandez de Taos - (See Taos) - Name of the Taos post office from 1852 to 1885.

Fernando de Taos - (See Taos) - Shortened name of the town Don Fernando de Taos.

Fort Burgwin (historical) - Military fort located ten miles outside of Taos, southeast of Ranchos de Taos, which was built in 1852 to protect the Taos Valley from the Jicarilla Apaches and Utes. It was named for Captain John Burgwin who was killed at the storming of the Taos mission in the 1847 revolt and is buried at the fort. Fort Burgwin is known for its role in the Battle of Cieneguilla fought between the 1st U.S. Cavalry Regiment and the Jicarilla Apaches. In 1854 troops were ambushed by four hundred Indians near the Cienequilla. Twenty-two men were killed by the time they got back to the fort. It was designated a “cantonment” to indicate its temporary character and was abandoned in 1860. In modern times it has been reconstructed as the Fort Burgwin Research Center and the site currently serves as the Southern Methodist University-in-Taos Cultural Institute.

Franklin City (historical) - An abandoned mining town on the Red River, four miles south of Red River village, Franklin City was established in 1897. It lost out because of competition from nearby camps. At best, it only had a few cabins, one store and two saloons which no longer exist.

Glen-Woody (historical) - Mining town - A ghost town located about fourteen miles southwest of Taos, on the west side of the Rio Grande off modern route US 64. It was a short-lived gold camp (established 1902 by the Glen-Woody Mining and Milling Company) as the mining was a failure. It was partially named for the founder W.M “Woody” who also tried a flour mill and stage coach line, but the new automobile contributed to its final demise.

Gold Hill (historical) - Mining town located in the Taos range, north of Ski Valley (near Amizette) where extensive gold mining operations took place briefly in the 1890s.

Gordito “little fat one” (historical)

Gusdorf (historical) - Mining town - Located on US 64 east of Taos, west of Agua Fria, Gusdorf was named for Alexander Gusdorf (locally known as Don Alejandro) and his brother Gerson. They were pioneer businessmen in Taos, running mining adventures in the 1890s in Gusdorf and a mercantile store in Twining.

Gysin City (historical) - Mining town in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, northeast of Red River, 1,300 yards west of Anchor. It was promoted by miner John A. Gysin in the spring of 1895, but everyone lost interest by summer and left.

Haynie - A station on the D&RG R R 27 miles northwest of Taos and 3 south of the Tres Piedras post office.

Hodges (historical) – A settlement southeast of Picurís (exact location unknown), Hodges had a post office from 1909-1913.

Hondo - (See Arroyo Hondo)

Jellison City (historical) - Mining town northeast of Red River in the Keystone Mining district. During the gold boom of 1895, a prospector named Jellison tried to establish “Jellison City” near his claim, but few miners showed an interest.

La Belle (historical) - Mining town eight miles northeast of Red River which had a post office from 1895-1901. As a gold mining camp, it was named after Belle Dixon in 1894 who was the wife of one of the original investors in the mining area. Within one year there were eighty buildings and six-hundred residents (which included twelve women – wives of miners). Gold finds were disappointing and it was abandoned. By 1910 there were only ten miners. Today, the ruins are very difficult to find. LaBelle is also the name of the gold and silver mining district.

La Cordillera “mountain range” - Settlement near Ranchos de Taos, now a suburb of Taos. Name probably refers to the Sangre de Cristo Mountains to the east.

La Loma “hill” - Settlement or suburb of Taos, two miles west of the Taos Plaza.

La Villita “little village” - Settlement two miles north of Alcade on NM 389, west of NM 68, East of the Rio Grande.

Lama “mud” – Lama is a settlement five miles north of San Cristobal, east of NM 522. Although it is translated as mud (and it is muddy in the area in the spring), the locals use the words zoquete or lodo for mud. The town is split into an Upper and Lower Lama.

Las Mochas -

Las Trampas “trap” - Trampas - Settlement located on (the scenic) State Road 76 six miles southwest of Peñasco on the Rio de las Trampas. (The river was named for the many beaver traps in its waters.) The adobe walled village was founded in 1751 by twelve Spanish families from Sante Fe and was originally named Santo Tomás Apostol del Rio de las Trampas after the mission church which dates from 1760 or earlier. The early settlers survived a smallpox epidemic and raids by the Plains Indians to build the San José de Gracia Church which was completed in 1776. The church is listed on the National Register of Historic Places and well as the Las Trampas Historic District. The village has been described as a part of the seventeenth century Spain or Mexico, set down in the heart of New Mexico. It has had a post office since 1898.

Llano “plain” - Settlement on NM 73, three miles east of Peñasco on the west side of Rio Santa Barbara, with a post office from 1898 to 1914 and from 1925 to the present. One of the three Llano settlements founded after 1796 with the permission of Governor Fernando Chacon.

Llano Largo “long plain” - Settlement established across the valley from Llano, at the same time and given the same permission as was given to Llano.

Llano Quemado “burned plain” - Settlement on NM 68, ½ mile south of Rancho de Taos.

Lobo “wolf” (historical) - (See Agua del Lobo) - Settlement four miles northeast of Arroyo Hondo, the post office was named Agua del Lobo from 1888-1905 and Lobo from 1905-1911, then mail to Arroyo Seco. Abandoned settlement, the origin of whose name is unknown, most llikely has some connection to Lobo Creek and Lobo Peak to the east.

Lobo Martinez No information.

Los Cordovas - Settlement 2½ miles northwest of Ranchos de Taos Named for the Cordova family, their descendents still live there. The San Ysidro Oratorio on Highway 240 is listed as a Historic site in Taos.

Los Ranchos de Taos – (See Taos)

McGreggor Place -

McGreggor City (historical) - Mining town on the Rio Hondo just up river from Arroyo Hondo where a prospector named John McGreggor struck a gold vein and people quickly flocked to it. Several houses and a road were built but it only had a post office from 1882 to 1883 then it was abandoned.

Memphis (historical) - Mining camp (in the Keystone District) five miles north of Red River on Bitter Creek named after the Memphis mining claim. In 1898, R. L. Pooler staked a claim as a gold mine, but the Midnight Mining Company sued, so the mining didn't start until 1899. But there was very little gold so the mine closed shortly after. Pooler tried again in 1910 and in 1913 found more gold. But again, results were disappointing so work stopped in 1918. The claim was leased to a molybdenum mining company which worked it on and off until the 1930's, shutting down for good in 1937. The buildings burned at some point.

Mestecita - Settlement about four miles northeast of Red River. It had a post office from 1895 to 1898.

Midnight (historical) - It has been called a “rip roaring” mining town (with a post office from 1895 to 1898), so named (according to folklore) because midnight was the liveliest time of the day. In reality it was laid out by miners working for the Midnight Mine. It was also known as Midnight City and was located about four miles northwest of Red River, half mile west of Anchor. The abandonment of Midnight was said to be due to the lack of free-milling ores (low grade copper, gold & silver) and land litigation problems. The abandonment was so sudden that thirty-two log buildings being built at the time were never finished. Two other claims -- Caribel and Edison -- were also worked in the area.

Moly - This is possibly a shortened name for Molybdenum.

Molybdenum - Mining camp on NM 38 between Questa and Red River and is the site of a molybdenum plant which processed the ore mined there. A metal ore, molybdenum is often used in high-strength steel alloys.

No Agua “no water” - Settlement just east of US 285, north of Tres Piedras. In the 1890s it had several buildings; in WWI homesteaders moved in; in the 1930s the trains no longer stopped and it was abandoned as a station on the DG&R railroad, the old “Chili” line; it disappeared after WWII with the church being moved to Tres Pediras. It was named for the No Agua Peaks to the east.

Ojito “little eye” – Tiny settlement northeast of Las Trampas off NM 76 and County Road 012 in the Carson National Forest.

Ojo Caliente “hot eye”- Settlement on US 285 near the Rio Grande (south of NM 111), known for its hot springs, has become a vacation spot for these hot springs and commercial spa sites. The Chapel of Santa Cruz, the Ojo Caliente Hot Springs Round Barn, Ojo Caliente Mineral Springs, Howiri-ouinge, and Posi-ouinge are all listed as a historic site in Taos County. The Battle of Ojo Caliente was fought there on April 8, 1854 between the Jicarilla Apache warriors and the United States Army who were pursuing the Jicarilla after the Battle of Cieneguilla over a week earlier.

Palmilla “Soapweed yucca” - Settlement ten miles South of Antonito, Colorado which was was named for a local abundance of yucca plants. The Palmilla railroad station was the first stop on the DG&R “Chili” line out of Antonito.

Peñasco “large rock, rocky outcrop, bluff”- Settlement on Embudo Creek, on NM 75, two miles southeast of Picurís Pueblo. Originally founded in 1796 by three families from San Jose, it has had a post office since 1874. The name is to have been taken from the bare, rocky area in the valley in which it was established.

Picurís Pueblo Settlement seventeen miles east of Embudo north of NM 75 on the Rio Pueblo and eighteen miles south of the Taos Pueblo (or 24 miles southeast of Taos). Originally inhabited by the Tiwa ethnic group of Native Americans, Picurís Pueblo (or village) has been occupied in the present location since around 750 CE. The Tiwa people called it P'iwwel (pronounced pikuris). The Spanish explorer Don Juan de Oñate called them "pikuria" for “those who paint” when he visited them in 1598. When he arrived, the population was around two thousand and contained many buildings. In 1732 it was called San Lorenzo de Picurís. By 1900 there were only about two hundred residents, being decimated by disease, attacks by the plains Indians, and the theft of their land. It was growing again by 1998, but only had a population of eighty-six people in the 2000 census. In the past few years, tribal members have restored the 200-year-old San Lorenzo de Picurís Church, located in the center of the pueblo. San Lorenzo Feast Day is August 10. The Picurís Pueblo Historic District is located on Buffalo Road and is listed on the National Register of Historic Places listings in Taos County.

Pilar “pillar or column” - (See Cieneguilla) - Settlement on the Rio Grande at the junction of NM 68 and 570, seventeen miles southwest of Taos where the Rito de Cieneguilla enters the Rio Grande. It was originally an Apache farming village that was burned by the Spaniards in 1694, then in 1795 was given to twenty five Spanish families. Originally known as Cieneguilla for only one year (1903-04) until it was re-established in 1918 to became Pilar, the post office lasted only until 1921. In modern times it is where recreationists run the rapids in the Rio Grande gorge.

Piña “pine” (corrupted form) - (See Amalia) - The post office was called Piña from 1900-1919 when it was changed to Amalia.

Pot Creek - Settlement. An ancient Native American (Anasazi) pueblo nine miles south of Taos on NM 518, Pot Creek was originally occupied by the Tiwi speaking people. Now it is a cultural site with a reconstruction of an Anasazi dwelling and remains of their irrigation system.

Questa “ridge or slope” By Shalane Sheley-Cruz 1-4-2002 - Settlement on NM 522 and 38, twenty-two miles north of Taos, Questa has had a post office since 1883. It is on the old Taos trail where mountain men and traders passed through to Taos beginning in 1829 and eventually settled. A molybdenum mine was established early in the 20th century east on NM 38, but farming is still the main economy.

Ranchito “little ranch” - Settlement on NM 240, 1.5 miles west of Taos (suburb or satellite of Taos).

Ranchitos (plural of Ranchito- same settlement; also Ranchos)

Ranchos de Don Fernando de Taos. - (See Ranchos de Taos) Earlier name of Ranchos de Taos.

Ranchos de Taos - Settlement five miles south of Taos on NM 68. Originally it was a Taos Indian farming community prior to the Spanish settling there in 1716. Its first name was Rio de las Trampas de Taos, but its parish name was San Francisco de Ranchos de Taos. This was later changed to Ranchos de Don Fernando de Taos, then shortened to Ranchos de Taos. It is known for the St. Francis of Assissi church built between 1772 and 1816, one of the most photographed churches in America, which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Red River - (See Red River Town) - Recreation. Originally established as a mining and lumbering town it died out not too long after it was established, but by 1904 it became known as a summer resort. By the 1930s, the residents had completely turned to tourism as their principal economic livelihood. The resort is the new gold and Red River is thriving once again. The following sites are on the National Register of Historic Placees: Orin Mallette Cabin, Sylvester M. Mallette Cabin, Melson-Oldham Cabin, Pierce-Fuller House, Red River Schoolhouse, and Brigham J. Young House.

Red River Mining District (historical) – About twenty-five miles long by fifteen miles wide, the Red River Mining District was located at the foot of “old Baldy" mountain along the Moreno Valley. It included the mining camps of Anchor, Carabel, Edison, and Midnight where prospectors looked for, gold, silver, and low grade copper.

Red River Town (historical) - (See Red River) - Mining and lumbering town on NM 38, twelve miles east of Questa on the Red River, about three miles from where the river enters the Rio Grande from the east. It has had a post office since 1895. The town began in 1892 as a mining claim and soon prospectors followed looking for gold. A saw mill was also built on the Red River in 1882. It was organized as a town in 1894. By 1895, Red River was a booming mining camp, with gold, silver, copper, and molybdenum in some abundance, and a population estimated at three thousand. It was also called “Red River City” for a short time, with no more than two dozen shacks and a mercantile. The mines shut down a few years later and it was reborn as simply Red River. The Black Copper Mine and Stamp Mill is listed as a historic site in Taos County.

Rio Colorado (historical) - By Shalane Sheley-Cruz 1-4-2002

Rio de las Trampas de Taos - (See Ranchos de Taos)

Rio Grande Gorge Bridge - Bridge across the Rio Grande ten miles northwest of Taos, fifth highest bridge in the United States. It is listed on the National Register of Historic Places.

Rio Grande Wild River Recreation Area – National park in the Carson National Forest, the visitor's center is fourteen miles past Cerro on NM 358. Recreational activities include auto touring, biking, fishing, hiking, hunting and wildlife and scenic viewing including views of the 800 feet deep Rio Grande gorge. Within the area are petro glyphs dating from eight thousand years ago showing religious and hunting scenes.

Rio Hondo “deep river” (historical) - Settlement. Abandoned community three miles northeast of Pilar, named for its closeness to Hondo Canyon. It was also the name of a local mining (copper, gold, silver) district of which Twining was a part.

Rio Lucio “shinny river” - Settlement just south of Picurís Pueblo on NM 75 which had a post office from 1921 to 1923. Although named for a river, there is no river nearby with that name.

Rio Pueblo “river town”- Settlement on NM 75, west of 518 (at Placita Road), twenty miles south of Taos, it had a post office only from 1910-1914. The name is borrowed from the nearby mountain stream, Rio Pueblo.

Rock Wall – Small settlement east of Vadito on the Rio Pueblo near where NM 75 and NM 518 meet.

Rodarte – Settlement. Farming and ranching community near Peñasco, three miles south of NM 75 and nineteen miles southwest of Taos. It was named after Cristobal de Rodarte, one of the first settlers of Santa Cruz in 1696. It has had a post office since 1917.

San Antonio - (See Valdez) – It had a post office from 1867 – 1868 then became Valdez.

San Antonio del Rio Colorado - (See Questa)

San Cristobal - Settlement - Originated from the San Cristobal Grant to Severino Martinez in 1815, the agricultural community of San Cristobal was founded around 1860. It is located on NM 522, fourteen miles north of Taos. It has had a post office since 1932. The Lawrence Ranch Historic District on Lawrence Ranch Road is listed as a Historic Taos County site.

San Francisco del Rancho de Taos - (See Rancho de Taos)

San Geronimo de Taos - (See Taos Pueblo)

San Lorenzo de Picurís - Early name of Picurís.

Servilleta “napkin or flat plain” (historical) - Settlement on US 285 ten miles south of Tres Piedras. The origin of name is unclear as it is also one of the commemorative titles of Virgin Mary La Madonna de la Servilleta. It was first used for the Servilleta Plaza in Rio Arriba County just over the county line to the west. When the DG&R railroad was built in 1880-1885 the name was transferred to the siding in Taos County around which a village grew. The railroad was abandoned and the village disappeared (spelled as “Servileta” on the 1895 U.S. Atlas of Taos County).

Shady Brook - Settlement on US 64 seven miles east of Taos named for the large cottonwoods shading the Rio de Fernando de Taos.

Sheep Crossing Campground - Primitive campground on NM 378 near the Rio Grande Gorge State Park, about four miles northwest of Questa (as the crow flies). It provides multiple outdoors recreation activities such as whitewater paddling, hiking, swimming, and fishing. Sheep Crossing Campground is a very popular campground with the residents of Questa.

Sipapu – Ski resort and recreation area for winter sports, twenty-seven miles south of Taos. The name comes from a Hopi word for a small hole or indentation in the floor of kivas used by the ancient Pueblo Peoples and modern-day Puebloans. It symbolizes the portal through which their ancient ancestors first emerged to enter the present world. The area offers skiing, skating and toboggan slopes.

Skarda - Settlement which was thirty-seven miles northwest of Taos on the Taos county line. It was named after one of the local ranchers as a station on the DG&R railroad (old “Chili” line). Homesteaders came in after WWI and it had a post office from 1922 to 1942 but it was abandoned because of dry years and hard times. In 1940 the post office was moved across the county line to Rio Arriba County.

Solo -

Stong - (See Taos Junction) - Named for a station agent on the old DG&R Railroad “Chili” line built about 1885 and had a post office from 1919-1942. The railroad was abandoned, but the settlement survived as Taos Junction.

Sunshine Valley - (See Virsylvia) - Settlement ten miles north of Questa, three miles west of NM 522. Post office was Sunshine Valley from 1921-1931. It is a farming and ranching community.

Talpa “knob” - Settlement on NM 518, six miles south of Taos. An ancient site where pit houses and pueblos were built here from 1100 to 1300, it was first settled by Europeans in the early 18th century as part of the colonies of Rio de Taos (a tributary of the Rio Grande). The name probably refers to a local feature in one of the canyons. It had a post office from 1904 to 1923.

Taos - Settlement (county seat) located on US 64 at NM 68. The Spanish colonists established farms and ranches near the Taos Pueblo in the mid 1600's. The Spaniards were attacked by the natives in Revolt of 1680 and the village was abandoned. It was referred to as Don Fernando when Cristobal de la Seina was given the area as a land grant in 1710 and the new community was called Don Fernando de Taos. This caused the town to be confused with a local resident Don Carlos Fernandez and was mistakenly called Fernandez de Taos. The village was the scene of annual trade fair for many years in the early 19th century where Indians and Spaniards and mountain men came to barter their wares, and even slaves. It was also identified as El Valle de Taos by writer Jonah Gregg in 1844 in honor of the Taosa Indians who lived north of the valley. The post office was known as Fernandez de Taos from 1852 to 1885 and that area became the commercial center. Los Ranchos de Taos, yet another name for the area just south of Fernandez became the agricultural center. Both areas (combined) officially became Taos because of the confusion of names and the post office was changed to simply Taos in 1885. The river in Taos is still called Rio Fernando de Taos. Artists began to settle in Taos in 1899, and eventually the famous Taos art colony developed. Taos was incorporated as a town in 1934. The following locations in Taos are included on the National Register of Historic Places:
E. Martin Hennings House and Studio Historic District
Eanger Irving Couse House and Studio-Joseph Henry Sharp Studios
Ernest L. Blumenschein House
Bernard J. Beimer House
Gov. Charles Bent House
Hacienda de los Martinez
Harwood Art Museum
Kit Carson House
Leon Gaspard House
Mabel Dodge Luhan House
Nicholai Fechin House
La Loma Plaza Historic District
La Morada de Nuestra Senora de Guadalupe
Ranchos de Taos Plaza
Severino Martinez House
Taos Downtown Historic District
Taos Inn

Taos Junction - (See Stong) - Settlement at the junction of US 285 and NM 567, thirty miles west of Taos, it was originally named Stong (which lost its post office in 1942), but the settlement survived as Taos Junction.

Taos Pueblo - Settlement eight miles east of Rio Grande off US 64, three miles northeast of Taos. The name Taos is similar to the Tiwa word meaning “village”. According to the Spaniards, the Taos Indians called their village Tua-tah, which the Spaniards couldn't pronounce so they called it just Taos. Other sources state that the word means “place of red willows” in the Tiwa language. The people of the Taos Pueblo have lived in the Taos Valley for about 1000 years. The present buildings were built between 1000 and 1450 A.D and look pretty much the same as they did in 1540 when the Spaniards arrived looking for the golden cities of Cibola. At one time there were many thriving communities around the Taos Pueblo which are now only ruins. At one time was called Braba (a corruption of the Spanish word Brava or brave) by a narrator of Coronado's. The Spaniards also called the Taos Pueblo Vaolladolid after a city in Spain, as well as Teoas, after the natives. In 1605 Onate called it Tayberon (for reasons unknown). The mission church was built in 1617 and was named San Geronimo de Taos – which it is still called – after the patron Saint Jerome. The church was destroyed in the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, rebuilt, destroyed again in the Mexican-American War in 1847 and rebuilt once again. Taos Pueblo is on the National Register of historic Places and the United Nations World Heritage list, home to around 2,000 Indians with 150 living in the old Pueblos full time.

Taos Ski Valley - Recreation area located in the Carson National Forest on NM 150 ten miles northwest of Valdez. NM 150 follows the route of an old toll road. In 1955, Ernie and Rhoda Blake founded Taos Ski Valley, becoming the leader in bringing the ski industry to New Mexico. Resembling a Swiss village as a winter resort, it now is the most popular recreation site in New Mexico and can accommodate over one thousand skiers. There were fifty-six permanent residents in the valley as of the 2000 census.

Tayberon - (See Taos Pueblo)

Tienditas “little stores” - Settlement on NM 64, twelve miles east of Taos. The village no longer exists but the schoolhouse remains. The locals still use the name.

Trampas – (See Las Trampas)

Tres Piedras “three rocks” - Settlement named for the three large granite formations to the west, it is located twenty-eight miles south of the Colorado border on US 64 at US 285. Tres Piedras was a favorite hunting ground for the ancient Tewa Indians. It was settled in 1879 as a lumber and ranching community and has had a post office since 1880. The Tres Piedras Administrative Site Historic District and the Tres Piedras Railroad Water Tower are on the list of Historic Sites in Taos County. In modern times it has became a favorite place for the sport of antelope hunting.

Tres Ritos “three creeks” - Mining and lumbering camp established about 1900 in the Sangre de Cristos Mountains on NM 518 at the point where three creeks meet: Rio La Junta, Rio Pueblo, and Agua Piedra. Originally a camping ground for freighters on the old Taos-Las Vegas trail, it is now a resort area.

Twining – (historical) - Mining town located close to the original Amalia mining town, approximately five miles southeast of Costilla on NM 196. It was first established as a copper mining town in 1902 by financier Albert Twining, who later went to prison on embezzlement charges. Two other prospectors took it over, had an argument and Jack Bidwell shot Clarence Propert after an argument and theft accusations. The mine closed in 1903, then the mill burned in 1932 and nothing is left of the original town. A modern ski resort site was built on the ruins of the historical town of Twining.

Vadito - “little ford” - Settlement off NM 75 two miles east of Picurís Pueblos. The name is from the crossing of Embudo Creek in the village. Vadito is noted for the Laureano Cordova Mill which is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Valdez - Settlement twelve miles north of Taos on NM 230 and six miles east of NM 522. First settled between 1750 and 1800, it was named after Jose Luis Valdez of Mexico who came to New Mexico following the re-conquest of 1692. Its full name is San Antonio de Valdez for the chapel. It has had a post office since 1895.

Valladolid - (See Taos Pueblo)

Vallecitos – Settlement (and probably a lumber camp) on NM 576 just east of NM 111 in the Carson National Forest

Valle Escondido “hidden valley” - Residential development just south of US 64 and twelve miles east of Taos, named for the location.

Ventura “luck-chance” - Alternate name for Ventero.

Ventero “innkeeper” - Settlement seven miles east of Costilla and one mile south of the Colorado border on NM 196 off NM 522.

Virginia (historical) - A D&RG railroad station from 1868-1869 on the eastern county border, listed in various counties on old maps as Taos, Mora, and Colfax.

Virsylvia - (See Sunshine Valley) - Probably named after the Virsylvia mountain close by, it had a post office from 1909 to 1914 when it was renamed to Sunshine Valley.

Types of ore found in the Taos County Mining Districts (historical)
Keystone and Midnight Mining District – gold
LaBelle Mining District – gold and silver
Rio Hondo (Twining) Mining District – copper, gold, silver
Cuieneguilla (Glen-Woody) Mining District – gold
Copper Mountain District - copper, gold, silver
Black Copper Mining District – gold

D&RG Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad: the old “Chile Line” The Chili Line was a narrow gauge branch of the Denver and Rio Grande Western railroad (D&RGW). It was officially known as the Santa Fe Branch but got its nickname from a large portion of its freight being chili peppers. The line ran 125 miles from Antonito, Colorado to Santa Fe, New Mexico and was completed in 1886. The D&RGW closed the Chili Line in 1941 because of competition from road transportation and the line was abandoned shortly thereafter. However, Taos retained the line and currently is the only public transportation system.


Harrington, John Peabody. An Introductory Paper on the Tiwa Language, Dialect of Taos, New Mexico. Washington D.C. 1910 (via http://www.archive.org )

Julyan, Robert. The Place Names of New Mexico. Albuquerque:University of New Mexico Press. 1996.

Pearce, T. M. New Mexico Place Names: A Geographical Dictionary. Albuquerque:Pacific States Publishing Co. 1977.

Fugate, Francis L & Roberta B. Roadside History of New Mexico. Missoula:Mountain Press Publishing Co. 1989.

Garcés, Francisco Tomás Hermenegildo & Coues, Elliott, translator. On The Trail Of A Spanish Pioneer; The Diary And Itinerary Of Francisco Garcés (Missionary Priest) In His Travels Through Sonora, Arizona, And California, 1775-1776; Translated From An Official Contemporaneous Copy Of The Original Spanish Manuscript. Volume: 2. New York:F. P. Harper.1900. (via http://www.archive.org)

Gregg, Andrew. Drums Of Yesterday: The Forts Of New Mexico. Santa Fe, NM:Press of the Territorian. 1968.

Looney, Ralph. Haunted Highways: The Ghost Towns Of New Mexico. New York:Hastings House. 1968.

Shermann, James & Barbara. Ghost Towns And Mining Camps Of New Mexico. New Mexico:Norman. 1980.

The New York Times Archives for April 18, 1897.

Varney, Philip. New Mexico's Best Ghost Towns:A Practical Guide. Flagstaff, Arizona:Northland Press. 1981.

Woods, Dora Elizabeth Ahern. Ghost Towns and How to Get to Them. Santa Fe, NM:Press of the Territorian. 1964.

Wootton, Thomas Peltier.“Geologic Literature of New Mexico.” New Mexico School of Mines: State Bureau of Mines and Mineral Resources. E.H. Wells. Bulletin No. 5 Socorro, NM. 1930. (via http://www.archive.org)

Taos county list of historic places http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/National_Register_of_Historic_Places_listings_in_Taos_County,_New_Mexico

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