Santa Rita, New Mexico

Santa Rita, New Mexico

Santa Rita, New Mexico

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Santa Rita is a ghost town in Grant County in the U.S. state of New Mexico. The site of El Chino copper mine, Santa Rita was located fifteen miles east of Silver City.


Copper mining in the area began late in the Spanish colonial period, but it was not until 1803 that Franscisco Manuel Elguea, a Chihuahua banker and businessman, founded the town of Santa Rita. He named it Santa Rita del Cobre (Saint Rita of the Copper), after Saint Margarita of Cascia and the existing mine. During the early 19th century the mine produced over 6 million pounds of copper annually.New Mexico Office of Cultural Affairs (1995) "Santa Rite" Enchanted Lifeways: The history, musueums, arts & festivals of New Mexico New Mexico Magazine, Santa Fe, N.M., p. 186, ISBN 0-937206-39-3 The area was relatively peaceful despite an occasional attack from the Warm Springs (Mimbres) band of the Chiricahua Apache who lived nearby at the headwaters of the Gila and Mimbres rivers. In 1837, however, an American trader named James Johnson lured the Apaches to a gathering and then massacred them to sell their scalps for the bounty offer by the Mexican government. This caused open warfare and almost all of the nearly 500 inhabitants of Santa Rita were killed in an attack on the town; only six...
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