Elizabethtown, New Mexico

Coordinates: 36°37′9″N 105°17′4″W / 36.61917°N 105.28444°W / 36.61917; -105.28444
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Elizabethtown, New Mexico
Photo looking South from the E-Town Cemetery over what was once Elizabethtown, New Mexico
Elizabethtown is located in New Mexico
Location within the state of New Mexico
Elizabethtown is located in the United States
Elizabethtown (the United States)
Coordinates: 36°37′9″N 105°17′4″W / 36.61917°N 105.28444°W / 36.61917; -105.28444
CountryUnited States
StateNew Mexico
8,481 ft (2,585 m)
Time zoneUTC-7 (Mountain (MST))
 • Summer (DST)UTC-6 (MDT)
GNIS feature ID928727[1]

Elizabethtown is an unincorporated community in Colfax County, New Mexico, United States.[1] It is located just off New Mexico State Road 38, between the communities of Eagle Nest and Red River. Elizabethtown is just east of the Carson National Forest. The community is a former mining town, and lies northeast of Scully Mountain, and west of Baldy Mountain.


Elizabethtown, mining relics, 1939
Church at Elizabethtown (1943)

Elizabethtown began in 1866 when miners began placer mining and founded hard rock mines like the Mystic Copper Mine. It was New Mexico's first incorporated town. Founded by the commander of Fort Union, New Mexico (north of Las Vegas, New Mexico), Captain William H. Moore, and named for his daughter, Elizabeth Catherine Moore. Nicknamed "E-Town," the town rapidly grew to from 1867 to 1879 with a regional gold rush. The town possibly had 5,000 to 9,000 residents at its height of prosperity in 1869, - making it the most populous place in New Mexico at the time - although it can't be said for certain due to the fact that no census was taken. In 1870, it was designated the first seat of the newly formed Colfax County. However, by 1872 there were only about 100 residents left as the gold rush ran dry and the mines dwindled. The County seat was then moved to Cimarron.

The town was somewhat revived when the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad passed nearby in the early 1890s, making mining feasible once again. The village was also part of the Colfax County War. A fire claimed a majority of the wooden town in 1903. The town population dwindled with the decline in the mines and by 1917, few called the Town home.

Today, Elizabethtown is a small collection of ranch homes, built atop the once bustling city. Many of the homes are informal houses built over time with available materials. The only remnant of the original town is the stone wall of boarding house. There is also a large cemetery atop the hill with graves belonging to a variety of peoples, primarily Hispanic.

Charles Kennedy[edit]

Serial killer Charles Kennedy lived between Elizabethtown and Taos, luring weary travelers to dine and stay with him at his cabin; he may have killed 14 or more people.[2] Kennedy was killed by a group of angry vigilantes, led by the notorious Clay Allison.


Location of Elizabethtown is 36°37′09″N 105°17′04″W / 36.61917°N 105.28444°W / 36.61917; -105.28444 (36.619198, -105.28445).[3]

The elevation is 8481 feet (2585 m).

Major highways[edit]

See also[edit]

flag New Mexico portal

Baldy Town, New Mexico

Eagle Nest, New Mexico

List of ghost towns in New Mexico


  1. ^ a b U.S. Geological Survey Geographic Names Information System: Elizabethtown
  2. ^ Story of Charles Kennedy - at Legends of America
  3. ^ "US Gazetteer files: 2010, 2000, and 1990". United States Census Bureau. February 12, 2011. Retrieved April 23, 2011.

External links[edit]