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Lucky Mining Company, Orogrande, New Mexico photographs

 Collection — Box: 1
Identifier: Ms-0545

Content Description

Four mounted photographs made at the Lucky Mine and Nanny Baird Mines, owned by the Lucky Mining Company, Orogrande, New Mexico, ca. 1905. Embossed stamp on front of boards reads "Humphries Photo Co, El Paso, Texas." Photographs depict one interior and three exterior scenes with miners, mine operations and the mining site.


  • 1907

Biographical / Historical

The Orogrande Mining District is located in the Jarilla Mountains of Otero County, New Mexico, between El Paso and Alamogordo. Although gold was reportedly discovered in the area around 1865, mining in the region didn't begin until around 1880. Lack of water was cited as the main obstacle to development of the mining district in the 19th century. A branch line off the El Paso and Northeastern Railway was constructed into the mining region of the Jarillas in the late 1890s and the location was named Jarilla Junction. Turquoise was the primary mineral exploited in the Jarilla Mountains until a 6.5oz. gold nugget was reportedly found in 1904, setting off a boom period and prompting the name of Jarilla Junction to be changed to Orogrande, meaning "big gold." The Southwest Smelting and Refining Co. bought up many of the claims in 1905 and built a smelter north of Orogrande in 1907. The company operated the Lucky Mine and Nannie Baird Mine in the Orogrande Mining District, near Orogrande, New Mexico, between 1897 and 1929. he Silver Bar Mining Co. production in 1905 with its sister mine the Nannie Baird was estimated at $66,000 consisting primarily of gold, garnets, malachite, and other minerals. The reservoir depicted in one of these photos was fed by a 55-mile-long pipe laid from the Sacramento River to the town and mines, and at one time featured a population of several thousand people. Nearly all of the Orogrande structures have been bulldozed and eliminated, and little survives of traces of the Lucky Mine or surrounding mines. The Lucky Mine was partially reopened and worked by Texan Homan Arnold (1890-1971) in the early 1960s. Humphries (b. 1876) was a British-American photographer who operated in Arizona, Texas, New Mexico, and California, originally a partner in the Arizona Photograph Co. in Prescott, with Baer, Armitage, Bate & Suppinger, he had opened his own studio originally in Bisbee at the Copper Queen Hotel. In 1905-1907, he operated out of El Paso, Texas and later expanded his studio to San Francisco, California. The Lucky Mines are near Orogrande, New Mexico. Historically the area has been part of the Orogrande Mining District. The Lucky Mines was closed at the time of data entry with no known plans to re-open. Past operations took place from 1897 to 1929. Production size when active was considered to be small. Mine operations consist of surface and underground workings. There is one known shaft. Subsurface depth reaches a maximum of 67 meters (220 feet). The ore mined is composed of malachite, chalcopyrite and gold with waste material consisting primarily of pyrite, garnet and calcite. The ore body is described as having an irregular shape of unknown dimensions. Associated rock in this area is monzonite from the Pliocene epoch 5.33 to 2.58 million years ago. The Mexican Highland of the Intermontane Plateaus characterize the geomorphology of the surrounding area.


4 Photographic Prints

Language of Materials



Four photographs made at the Lucky Mine and Nanny Baird Mines, owned by the Lucky Mining Company, Orogrande, New Mexico, ca. 1905. Photographs depict one interior and three exterior scenes showing miners, mine operations, buildings and the mining site.

Condition Description

Good. Some yellowing, abrasion, and slight silver mirroring
Guide to Lucky Mining Company, Orogrande, New Mexico photographs
Dennis Daily
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description

Repository Details

Part of the New Mexico State University Library Archives and Special Collections Repository

Branson Hall
PO Box 30006
MSC 3475
Las Cruces New Mexico 88003 USA