-- Historic "Cerrillos Mining District" --

A New Mexico "Cultural Property"--not a mine zone

-- This summary thanks to Alexis Higginbotham & Archie Tew --

To History and Maps of the CMD


    We have repeatedly seen how present day mining companies, in an effort to obtain industrial mining zones in the Cerrillos Hills, have implied or referenced the "Cerrillos Mining District" (CMD) as a grandfathered mining "zone". Representatives not familiar with the historical background have found the distinction between the historic mining "District" and mining zones confusing.

    The original designation of the Cerrillos Mining District in the 1880s was done solely for the convenience of miners to locate boundaries and sort out small claims, and the District was defunct near the turn of the century (1889). The eventual placement of the Cerrillos Mining District on the register of Cultural Properties in 1973 occurred because of its vital importance as one of the most historic districts of its kind in the entire state. It is not considered a mining zone and has no legal status as such, since the area's zoning has always been agricultural and/or residential. There has also been a tremendous change of character in the area since those old pickax mining days. The shift from what was once a pickax mining district to a larger surrounding residential area with a tourist-based economy has been recognized and underscored by Santa Fe County's acquisition of the Cerrillos Hills Historic Park and the expected purchase of neighboring Mount Chalchihuitl.

    The historic Cerrillos Mining District dates from 1694 when de Vargas created El Real de Los Cerrillos and its prehistoric mines date back 1100 years. It is valued for almost 2000 historic and prehistoric mine sites. These ancient mine sites are extremely rare because so many others have been obliterated by subsequent modern mining techniques that destroy large tracts of land in a short period of time. Again, historical mining in the CMD was done by pickax which caused minimal disturbance to the land. Strip mining and hard rock crushing operations on the other hand, degrade and destroy any historical sites they encounter.

    We cannot emphasize enough the importance of preserving and protecting our New Mexico heritage in this area.

                                                                            --SOURCE: Presentation, "Historic 'Cerrillos Mining District'", before the Santa Fe County CDRC, 4/26/2001, regarding the Waldo Aggregate Project request for a mining zone at Buffalo Mountain. [They were to withdraw their application.], compiled by historian, Marc Simmons and Ann Murray of Cerrillos, NM.


To more in-depth reading: The History of Mining in the Cerrillos Mining District, NM 
(the minutes of the founding meeting March 27, 1879)
on the Amigos de Cerrillos Hills State Park web site.

-- To CGP main page--

To: Cerrillos Sand and Gravel-Beginnings and Endings

Rural Conservation Alliance, P.O. Box 245, Cerrillos, NM 87010

--This publication represents the views & opinions of the RCA--


Site managed by RIII for the RCA

Updated January, 2014