San Marcial, New Mexico

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
San Marcial
Ghost town
San Marcial is located in New Mexico
San Marcial
San Marcial
Coordinates: 33°42′00″N 106°59′14″W / 33.70007°N 106.98725°W / 33.70007; -106.98725Coordinates: 33°42′00″N 106°59′14″W / 33.70007°N 106.98725°W / 33.70007; -106.98725
Country United States
State New Mexico
County Socorro County
Time zone Mountain (MST) (UTC-7)
 • Summer (DST) MDT (UTC-6)

San Marcial was a community in Socorro County, New Mexico, United States, but is now deserted. San Marcial was about 25 miles (40 km) south of Socorro.[1]


San Marcial was founded around 1854 by Pascual Joyla, who built a house on the east side of the Rio Grande and began selling produce and firewood in Fort Conrad, to the north. A small community grew up around Joyla's house taking its name from the 3rd century French Saint Martial of Limoges. A flood wiped out the village in 1866, and the people relocated to the other side of the river.[2] In July 1881 a fire almost completely destroyed the new community The town was rebuilt, and became a center for the surrounding irrigated farms,[3]


When the railway came through in the 1880s a new community called at first "New San Marcial" developed near the railway station to the west. This later obtained the Post Office name of San Marcial. Between 1890 and 1920 San Marcial was the second largest town in Socorro County.[2] San Marcial reached a population of about 1,400 by 1929.[3] In 1917 the villages to the south of the community were told to evacuate since they would be flooded by the Elephant Butte Reservoir. Many of them moved to San Marcial or to Valverde. In 1920 a flood caused great destruction in the region, leaving many homeless. After this, much work was spent on flood defenses.[1]


On 13 August 1929, following heavy rain, there was a massive flood. According to the Socorro Chieftain of 17 August 1929:[1]

Flooded Rio Grande Devastates Entire Towns; People Escape in Night Clothes – The first disaster occurring at 2:00 o'clock Tuesday morning (Aug. 13) when the highway bridge at San Acacia gave way sending a five foot flood through the town, giving many only time to escape to the foot hills to the west in their night clothes. Orchards, alfalfa fields with other valley crops in this district as well as at Polvadero and Lemitar are reported a total loss. From San Acacia to Lemitar, the water was spread out on both sides of the railroad three miles from bank to bank. With women and children safely out of town, men at San Marcial were fighting in the midst of crumbling structures in a last desperate effort to save their town from total destruction.[1]

After the August 1929 flood the town was abandoned. A cemetery remains as the only trace of the former settlement.[3]



  1. ^ a b c d Harden 2006.
  2. ^ a b Julyan 1996, p. 317.
  3. ^ a b c Chenoweth 2012.