December 17, 2011

Bridal Chamber Mine a Centennial Journey

by Craig Springer
The Bridal Chamber, perhaps the richest silver mine in the history of the American Southwest, is the story twice-told.  And we're telling it again, here, thanks to the Office of the State Historian.

The Bridal Chamber is located in Lake Valley, New Mexico, once a thriving boomtown. The 1885 Territorial Census counted 183 people living in Lake Valley while nearby Hillsboro had 376 residents, and 329 people lived in Kingston, according to the University of New Mexico's Bureau of Business and Economic Research.   All three towns were busy places.  Lake Valley was the jumping-off place for train passengers.  Those not staying at Lake Valley moved on by stage to the other two mining towns of western Sierra County.

Enjoy this Centennial Journey (click here), an audio presentation in celebration of the New Mexico's 100 years of statehood.

The labor force that extracted the mineral wealth of the Bridal Chamber lived at Lake Valley, seen here circa 1890. Photo Black Range Museum.

Timbers prop open the Bridal Chamber as mine workers pause for a photo in a moment of levity. Photo Black Range Museum.

Extracting minerals from the earth is a labor-intensive affair, as evidenced by this Bridal Chamber reduction operation at Lake Valley. Photo Black Range Museum.

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