Mudgap was originally called “Hueco Lodo” and “Boquete Del Fango” before the English version took hold with the gold mines in the 1870’s. The name comes from the Rio Fangoso River, which flows beneath the old mining town.
Gold was found above Mudgap Pass on Claver Mountain and several mines operated along Mine Ledge Road, the site of an artists’ and writers’ community today. The Solomon Mine was the most prosperous but two others survived into the twentieth century, The Mina Fangosa and the Quaker Lode. After the mines were shuttered in the 1930’s Mudgap evolved toward its present corporality: tourist destination, unspoiled vacation spot and home to defense and space industry professionals fleeing Las Cruces as well as copy writers, artists and free-lance authors enjoying its undiscovered mountain purity.
The town dates from 1874 when territorial Governor Giddings established postal service. It was still just a frontier camp. Prior to incorporation in 1893 civic functions were administered by the Miners’ and Merchants’ Council, which hired a “Mayor” and a “Constable” and managed a small subscription school for the Council’s children. The Council also managed the building of the Solomon Line, still operating the steam train to Las Cruces, and the historic Estatua Opera House, a favorite of tourists to the former frontier town.
The Mudgap slogan, “the town they said was fictional,” comes from a radio quiz show of the early fifties, which stumped a contestant with the question, “Which of these is not the name of an American mining town?” The correct answer was “Lickety Split, Idaho” but the contestant answered Mudgap because, as he later confessed, he didn’t think New Mexico was a real state.
Solomon Line Engine
After the decline of the mines Mudgap avoided the ghost town fate of its contemporaries when tourists, artists, authors and urban escapees succumbed to its mountain scenery and unspoiled personality. Vacationing tourists replace the gold miners of the frontier.
Old Man Morgan's Windmill, current day.
Mudgap’s Historical Society honors the town’s past and celebrates local attractions such as the Solomon Line’s steam train, the remains of the gold mines and various civic celebrations. The Primary function of the Historical Society is guarding the legacy of Mudgap’s most famous early resident, Bohannon.
Sponsored by the Solomon Line Foundation. Webmaster:
HalLownde@mudgapnm.com and Rockman Canyon Press, Principal: Dr. Lloyd Barnstaff Lloyd.