First off, the road (state route 90) into Silver City, is an ever changing, interesting road. You have long stretches of straight road, heading towards the mountains. Then you start climbing ever so slowly. But you climb for quite a while, and your elevation becomes so high, that you get into some snow on the ground.
Once you arrive in Silver City, you realize one thing. There is no easy way to explain this town.
One Of The Downtown Historical Streets In Silver City, NM
It’s a historical town.
An artistic and coffee house kinda town. Murals everywhere. Pretty painted buildings in pastels and brights.
I found this sign laughable. Really? A 1950’s style sign with “Like us on Facebook” as there message? Too funny.
Although it is truly a charming town and we would certainly spend more than a week here.
One of the things that make this town interesting is when it rains in the springtime. The streets come alive with water and essentially the town’s streets run free with water. For a short time at least.
Quirky yes. It did not rain when we ere there though. So we never experienced this first hand.
Back in the 1800’s the town had originally been built with the streets running north to south. The town was also built in the natural path of water runoff. Businesses sprang up and houses were built. Sidewalks were built up to accommodate the water, as you can see from the picture.
The town learned to live with the inconveniences of the summer rain. Uncontrolled grazing thinned down plant life on the hills surrounding the city. In the summer of 1895 rain washed away main street. Leaving a trail of total destruction. Houses were swept away. Businesses were ruined. The townspeople believed it was due to that uncontrolled grazing.
The businesses that did survive started using their back doors as their front doors. They eventually got permission to move their front doors permanently and a new main street was born.
The city eventually got together and formed what they called the “Big Ditch” project. They made the washed away main street a city park. They widened the ditch reinforced by a wall, planted trees and placed benches.
Take a look at this picture with David standing on the bridge that spans across Big Ditch Park. The brick house that stands behind him used to be facing the original main street. It is one of the few that survived the great flood of 1895. It is now refurbished and someone’s home.
Silver City has an interesting museum that tells all about their early history. One of the big tales is that Billy the Kid grew up here. There is even a replica log home that is designed after the one he had grown up in. The original was swept away by the great flood.
Although, what you learn quickly about being out here in the west is that every town seems to have some kind of tie to a famous person. To attract tourists and all. Some true, some you’re not to sure of. Although Billy the Kid’s mother is buried in the local cemetery here. So their is that.
The museum itself is located in the H.B. Ailman House which was built in 1881, during the height of the silver mining boom.
David was amazed that they had a Stereoscope and that he could actually pick it up and look through it. As he puts it, it’s the original 3D!
It’s an interesting museum, but certainly nothing to go out of your way to go and see. If you’re in the area, it’s worth a stop.
The reason why we decided to stay a week? There is a ton of things to do in this area. Not only do you have this historical town that has a new-age, artsy, coffee house vibe but you also have the Gila National Forest, Gila Cliff Dwellings, City of Rocks State Park and a Catwalk, just to name a few. Lots and lots of hiking trails in and around this town. We tried to fit as much as we could in the week we were there. We didn’t quite make it. I don’t even think if we stayed a month we would have seen it all. There’s just to much in this area. But we’ll be back and stay longer. I will have full posts about what we did and what hikes we took coming up. I just have to sort through the thousands of pictures I took to capture it all.
BTW… the Rv Park that we stayed at was Rose Valley RV Ranch.
Nice people, nice property with some nice views of the mountains, peaceful and quiet at night. However it was conveniently located right in town. Stay here if you are in town. Their rates are decent. We stayed a week for $170 bucks, where you going for that price?
Even BK enjoyed the view. And you know how hard cats are to please.