El Caracol
Secrets and Lies

Cerrillos Journey With Jerry

He was driving this time. We see more when he drives because he drives very s l o w l y. As a general advocate of this I’m surprised at how nervous it makes me. I fear someone will run into us or get angry. But no one does and no one is. Perhaps the slow pace is just unusual. People smile and wave.  

We walked to some old mines in the Cerrillos Hills State Park and then hung out at the turquoise and mining museum. Jerry remembered stories about the big old Palace Hotel that burned down in 1968.  President Ulysses Grant stayed there when he came to the area during territorial days to look at mining prospects.

Thomas Benton Catron and his business buddy Stephen Benton Elkins of Santa Fe Ring fame had interests in Cerrillos coal mines and land and owned the town site itself in 1871. Cerrillos boomed into a lively place when the mines were open passenger rail connected it to the rest of everywhere. Amtrak still goes through town today but it's so fast you might miss it.

There used to be a wild little dinner theater and bar right there in the center of town. Places like that were popular with my parents and their friends. This was called Tiffany Saloon and Melodrama. A lot of people remember it but I mostly remember the long drives and sleeping in the back seat and pretending not to wake when we got home so my father would have to carry me inside. I also remember a lot of those places burning down within a few years of each other in the late seventies, some of them suspiciously.

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