Like other mining booms throughout the West,
Chloride’s life would be a short one. By 1893, the ore deposits were
starting to play out and when, in 1896, the monetary standard was changed
to gold, it spelled a death knell for the town. Silver prices plummeted,
mines shut down and people left town. By the turn of the century, the city
boasted only about 125 residents.
the years, the mining district produced about $500,000 in silver and other
ores. Mining continues in the area for Zeolite, a mineral utilized in
agricultural products, water and air filtration, and numerous other
Today, Chloride is a ghost towner’s dream with about 27 of its original
buildings still standing, including the Pioneer Store, which now serves as
an excellent museum.
Its historic main street is lined with false front structures, as well
as adobe buildings, some restored and some suffering the effects of time.
There are two cemeteries in
Chloride which can be viewed. The 200 year-old oak "Hangin'
Tree" tree still stands in the middle of Wall Street.
The Pioneer Store now serves as a museum, Kathy
Weiser, February, 2008. This image available for
photographic prints and downloads
Though officially a "ghost town,” the town is occupied by about 20
residents, many of whom are decedents of the original founders.
Though all of the buildings in this historic
town our quite interesting the Pioneer Store Museum is the highlight of
the visit. The museum, situated in the original 1880 log building,
features original store fixtures, pre-1900 merchandise, photographs, town
documents and numerous artifacts from early mining activities. The Pioneer
Store was built by a Canadian by the name of James Dalglish, who operated
the store until 1897. Afterward he leased it to individuals who continued
store operations until 1908. At that time, it was sold to the U.S.
Treasury Mining Company, who utilized it as a commissary for their
In 1923, the owners closed the store, boarding
up the windows and doors, and left all the furnishings and merchandise
inside. For almost seven decades the store remained untouched, as bats and
rats made their home of it. Finally, the building was sold in 1989, but it
would take many years before it was fully refurbished to the state it is
today. The Pioneer Store as well as the adjacent Monte Cristo Saloon are
listed on the
State Register of Cultural Properties.
also provides Walking Tour brochures, a rest area, and RV Park for
To get to Chloride from
Truth or Consequences, travel north
on I-25 to Exit 83, then left on NM-181, left again on NM-52 and follow
signs to Winston. Turn left in Winston at Chloride Road and travel
southwest to Chloride.
of America, updated July, 2012
Chloride and the Pioneer Store Museum
HC 30, Box 134