On the Turquoise Trail to Cerrillos, New Mexico

Cerrillos, New Mexico… not really here or there

An easily overlooked stop on a Turquoise Trail road trip, Cerrillos, New Mexico is literally a living ghost town. At least six or seven people still live here and they even put up historical markers providing interesting information on the town’s ancient buildings. 

Most tourists will want to visit Madrid, which is just a few miles to the south. Madrid has fun things like restaurants, art galleries, and coffee shops and is welcoming to visitors so long as they spend money don’t stray off the main road. Should one decide to venture off the road with pavement, the hills suddenly have eyes and you could easily be cursed by a stray dog, disappearing through a portal to the nether world, never to be seen or heard from again. 

For more adventurous spirits, there is a secret place in Madrid that makes it worthwhile to stop by. If you’re feeling brave, go check out the Land of the Dead Cemetery.

And then there’s Cerrillos.

There’s nothing for tourists to do here so the whole town has eyes. Everywhere you go, someone is watching, possibly living and possibly not, but they’ll let you know if step out of line.

The ghosts of Cerrillos are surely unimpressed by flashy jewelry and pretentious enlightenment so, if that’s your bag, just drive on to Santa Fe.

St Joseph Catholic Church
Elephant head door knocker on the historic Berardinelli House, built in 1886.

Mary’s Bar

Possibly the most iconic building in Cerrillos, Mary passed away in 2016 but her bar lives on.

About 15 years ago, I was actually able to get a photo of Mary tending her bar. Unfortunately, those images were lost lost to time and to moving back and forth across the country twice. In part, the purpose of this blog is to preserve my travel memories and to make sure that all future images are preserved.

Casa Grande Trading Post in Cerrillos, New Mexico

Antique lamps at the Casa Grande Trading Post
Antique bottles in the window of the Casa Grande Trading Post

The Casa Grande Trading Post is located at: 17 Waldo St. in Los Cerrillos, New Mexico. This 28 room adobe building houses a gift shop that carries many unique items including handmade jewelry, Turquoise and other valuable stones, and antique lamps and bottles. There is also a petting zoo out front.

The Palace Hotel

The Palace Hotel in Cerrillos, New Mexico was built in 1888.
The Palace Hotel built in 1888

Once the biggest and grandest hotel in Cerrillos, this small stone wall is all that remains of the Palace Hotel. Built by Richard Green in 1888, the Palace Hotel sat at the corner of 3rd and Main Street. Unfortunately, the original structure was destroyed by a fire on October 27, 1968.

Clear Light Opera House

The Clear Light Opera House in Cerrillos, New Mexico was built in 1881.

The exact construction date of the Clear Light Opera House is not known but the building was on the site in 1881. It is thought to have been built by Stephen B. Elkins.

In 1884, the building was bought by an ex-confederate soldier named William C. Hurt. For the next five years, Hurt’s Hall was the go-to gathering place for dances and theatrical productions. After Hurt’s death in 1889 his wife, Maude, continued the tradition.

In 1903 Hurt’s Hall was sold to the Cerrillos Masonic lodge for $300. The Cerrillos Lodge held their communications here. Now known as the Opera House, the Cerrillos Lodge continues to offer their building for public gatherings.

Bill Skrips Studio Workshop

Through the window of the super creepy Bill Skrips gallery.

Bill Skrips is a one-of-a-kind artist creating sculptures and wall hangings that are both unsettling and intriguing. His workshop is located at 11.5 1st Street in Cerrillos, New Mexico. Be sure to visit his website to learn more information about Bill Skrips.

Abandoned adobe building

The historic marker was on around on the back end of this house but I didn’t go back there. There was an extremely shady looking fellow who was crawling around on the train tracks. I wanted to know, but I didn’t want to know that bad.

These photos were taken on March 25, 2019.

1 Comment

  1. […] up the road from Madrid is Cerrillos.¬†Cerrillos is a small town that rose and fell under similar circumstances but, for whatever […]

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