By 1905, 124 coke ovens were belching fire and
the town was thriving with about 2000 residents and numerous businesses.
In 1906 the Phelps Dodge Corporation bought the Dawson mines and, sparing
no expense, determined to make Dawson a model city and the ideal company
town. Soon more businesses and many new company homes for the miners were
in place, the mines were expanded, and the population eventually grew to
some grew again to some 9,000 residents.
Tragedy came to Dawson again on October 22,
1913 when Stag Canyon Mine No. 2 was rocked with an explosion that shook
homes as far as two miles away. In the end, only 23 of the 286 men working
in the mine were found alive. Almost ten years later, the doomed town
would suffer one more disaster on February 8, 1923 when yet another mine
exploded, killing 121 men.
survived, though its cemetery was
filled with the white crosses of those killed in the many mining
disasters. However, over the decades, dependence upon coal declined and in
April, 1950, the mine was shut down and the whole town was sold to a
salvage company and was mostly razed. The site then returned to a private
ranch, who occupied a few of the remaining dwellings. Today, the old town
is on private property and the only thing that can be seen is the lonely
Continued Next Page
of America, updated October, 2008.
Dawson, New Mexico