"Artist Colony on the Turquoise Trail" Top 5 Page for this destination Madrid by AlbuqRay
Madrid Travel Guide: 23 reviews and 63 photos
Madrid was once wholely owned by a coal company. The area was booming in the 1800's. The mine supplied coal for the Santa Fe Railroad, the US Government, and local mines and people. In the 1930's, the company town was famous for its Fourth of July parade, lighted Christmas displays and minor league baseball games in the first lighted stadium in the west. It is close to the famous Ortiz Mountains' gold mine and the historical Cerillos turquoise mine. Madrid, pronounced "MAD-dred," is ~25 miles south of Santa Fe on State Highway 14, the Turquoise Trail. It is ~55 miles from Albuquerque.
With the switch to an oil-based economy, the town died. As I understand it, in the 1950's the company tried to sell the whole town in one piece for $250,000 with no success. After breaking it up into smaller lots, evidently everything sold in a few days. The artists started arriving in the 1970's. Now many of the old buildings are restored and made into art galleries and arts & crafts shops. The original tavern is still in business. The old engine house is now a melodrama theater.
Madrid will probably never be very big. The aquifer is not good and there is a lack of potable water. Madrid is no longer the secret it used to be. Plenty of tourists from Santa Fe are found there in the summer with the corresponding impact on prices. However, it is a charming, peaceful place to visit in the off-season.
Although Madrid was once known in the 1930's as the "Christmas City of the Southwest" and TWA (Transcontinental & Western Air) used to divert its evening flights to see the lights, the last pageants of that era ended in 1941. Madrid used to have the reputation that many residents had been abducted by UFO's. There was even a shop called El Abducto. I am wondering if the lights attracted more than just TWA flights.
Madrid has revived its Xmas lights tradition. They start on the first weekend in December. Even the outdoor toilets have lights. The old house in the picture had more than enough decoration with just a wreath though. See also my Things to Do tip on "Xmas in Madrid."
The old hotel and boarding house has been restored and is now the grocery store. If you want to rent a movie, buy homemade cookies or an ice cream bar, this is the place to go. It is located on the north end of Main Street on the west side. The old minor league baseball field is around the curve just north of the old boarding house. It is abandoned now but you can see the rock walls and the old covered stands, artifacts of another era.
- Pros:Interesting people and shops; peaceful atmosphere
- Cons:Can get busy in the summer with tourists from Santa Fe
- In a nutshell:Artist colony in the foothills of the Ortiz Mountains
Madrid once had the reputation that many residents had been abducted by UFO's. Maybe the annual Xmas lights were seen... more travel advice
Madrid is a peaceful town with peaceful attitudes. There is public art everywhere. The Peace Monument is next to The... more travel advice
AlbuqRay's Related Pages
Madrid Travel Guide
Member Travel Pages
- "Artist Colony on the Turquoise Trail"
- "On the Turquoise Trail"
- "A place to play along the Turquoise Trail"
- "Along the Turquoise Trail"
- "Madrid and Cerillos, NM"
- "Madrid, Careful How you Say It...."
- "MADRID, NEW MEXICO"
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- Things to Do in Madrid
- Hotels in Madrid
- Transportation in Madrid
- Restaurants in Madrid
- Shopping in Madrid
- Warnings and Dangers in Madrid
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