March 26th, 2023
There is not much in Lordsburg, NM. It was simply the halfway point between one longer stop on our journey and the next. They had a decent KOA Journey and a couple of dollar-type stores, but that’s pretty much it. So Lordsburg is not on my “must return” list.
However, if you find yourself near Lordsburg one day, make sure to drive up the hill to the Shakespeare Ghost Town. The town was named Ralston City or the Burro Mines originally and in 1870 a real silver strike and false rumors of a diamond strike caused the town to grow to 3,000 people. When the diamond ruse was discovered the name of the town was changed to Shakespeare and it survived through the 1908-1932 mining boom.
Shakespeare did not have a church or any formal law enforcement. Throughout the years it is thought that Billy the Kid, Curley Bill, John Ringo roamed the streets of Shakespeare.
The Hill Family has owned the site of the Shakespeare Ghost Town since 1935 and they have worked to preserve the buildings and history of the town.
The first building we toured was originally the Company Mining House that was moved to the site in the 1970s. It served as a dance studio for Janaloo Hill, the daughter of the Frank and Rita Hill, who purchased the town in 1935. Janaloo was an actress and dancer who gave up her career to come home and help rehab the town.
A relative of Janiloo’s gave us the two hour tour, answered dozens of questions and shared fun stories of the town’s interesting past.
We had the chance to tour the Old Mail Station, the General Merchandise store, and an incredible blacksmith shop filled with period tools. The Assay’s Office still had the testing equipment used by Shakespeare Gold and Silver Mining and Milling.
They also have a beautiful collection of antique weapons. They asked that we not take photos in that area for security.
I waited too long to write this post, so I’m not sure I can identify each building/picture, so I’ll let you use your imagination!