Hillsboro New Mexico was founded in 1877 when gold was discovered at the nearby Opportunity and Ready Pay mines.
Despite fierce attacks from native Americans, the town prospered and in 1884 became the Sierra County seat. Area mines produced more than $6 million in gold and silver, and by 1907 Hillsboro had a population of at least 1,200.
Today, this charming, peaceful village of a hundred souls is a wonderful getaway (lodging is available at two hotels and in nearby Kingston) featuring flower-filled yards and old cottonwoods lining the main street. You’ll find many enticements, including gift shops, artist studios and galleries; restaurants; the remains of the old county courthouse; the Black Range Museum; and numerous other historic buildings.
All of these sites (and more!) can be seen on the Hillsboro Walking Tour (see a map of the tour, below).
(32 miles SW of T or C on NM 152; driving directions)
Historic Hillsboro New Mexico Walking Tour
Listings marked with an asterisk (*) are listed on the National Register of Historic Places
1. Black Range Museum *
Built before 1893 as the Ocean Grove Hotel owned and run by Sadie Orchard and Tom Ying, the Chinaman. Adjacent is Tom Ying’s frame Victorian house with porch.
2. Sue’s Antiques
Formerly a general store, pool hall, and dance hall, as part of the original commercial district.
3. Site of the Union Hotel
Once the center of Hillsboro night life, burned in 1904.
4. Community Center *
Built in 1923; served as the High School until 1937 and as the Grade School until 1971. Today, the Community Center hosts concerts and other community events.
5. Sullivan House *
Built in the 1890s by the Sullivan/Tafoya family is a classic 3-room L-shaped adobe.
6. Union Church
Built in 1892 for all denominations. Features a semi-circular apse and a unique chandelier.
7. George Tambling and Ninette Stocker Miller House *
Built in 1898 in classic Victorian style of black slag bricks made from smelter waste.
8. Courthouse Ruins & Jail
Built in 1896, it was the site of many famous trials including the Oliver Lee trial for the murder of Albert Fountain and his son. After the County Seat was moved to Hot Springs, the Courthouse was sold and demolished. The Jail was immortalized in many Eugene Manlove Rhodes stories.
9. Dines House
Built before 1893, the house is actually two adobe houses joined together. Fran Dines, a local rancher, was born here. She is mentioned in Eugene Manlove Rhodes books.
10. King House
Built circa 1900 by the manager of the famous Bridal Chamber Mine in Lake Valley.
11. Rubio Complex
Owned by the family that maintained the roads in the Hillsboro area for over three generations.
12. The Tirey House
Built in 1894 of adobe with a Victorian façade.
13. Murphy House
A classic adobe ranch house built between 1893-1898. Home to Sheriff Tom Murphy.
14. Two Victorian Adobe Houses
Built before 1893 with similar floor plans.
15. The Pink Adobe
Built in the 1890s, the home retains its Italian style. It was the residence of Fred Mister, the owner of the last known operation stage coach line in the United States.
16. Enchanted Villa Bed and Breakfast
Built in the late 1930s by Sir Victor Sassoon, a Chinese–Indian entrepreneur who was the first non-British Islander to be knighted.
17. Edmund Tittman House
Actually two houses built before 1893, joined in the 1920s. Home to the first Territorial Representative for Sierra County. On the New Mexico Historic Registry.
18. Bucher House *
Built before 1893, the Bucher house was the residence of a well-known banking, ranching and mining family.
19. Our Lady of Guadalupe Catholic Mission
Reconstructed to original plans after the 1972 flood.
20. The Old Grade School
Built before 1893, it served as the grade school until 1937. Today it is a private home.
21. General Store Café
Built in 1879 as part of a larger structure that was destroyed in the 1914 flood. The building has housed a bank, post office, general store and the Miller Drug Store. It retains a 1890 ambience and is very popular with locals and visitors.
22. The Crews House
Hillsboro’s first adobe home, it was the residence of the first M.D. who practiced well into the 20th century.
23. Post Office/Masons Building
Built before 1893, it features a turn-of-the-century Masons’ Hall on the 2nd floor.
24. Hatcher Hotel/Hospital *
Built before 1893 and used as a hospital until 1923, then as a hotel and café.
Originally used as a dance hall, then the S-Bar-X Bar.
Locations listed on the National Register of Historic Places but not shown on the map/list above include the Will M. Robins House (Main @ 5th, southwest corner), the John M. Webster House (Main @ 5th, southeast corner), and the Meyers House (northern side of Main between 4th and 5th.)