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Colfax County, New Mexico

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Official Website

History

This county was named for Schuyler Colfax (1823-1885), seventeenth Vice President of the United States under U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant.

Colfax County was originally part of Taos County, one of the original nine counties created by the New Mexico Territory in 1852. In 1859, the eastern part of Taos County, including all of the territory of Colfax County, was split off to form Mora County. Colfax County was established on January 25, 1869 from the northern part of Mora County. The original county seat was the gold mining town of Elizabethtown.

By 1872, when the gold rush in Elizabethtown had died down, the county seat was moved to Cimarron. Cimarron was on the stage coach route along the Mountain Branch of the Santa Fe Trail, and was the headquarters of the Maxwell Land Grant. The Colfax County Courthouse in Cimarron is a contributing structure in the Cimarron Historic District, and is still in use as a Masonic lodge.

In 1881, the county seat moved from Cimarron to Springer, on the former Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad. The Colfax County Courthouse in Springer was the site of one of the last important shoot-outs in the Colfax County War. This former courthouse, which is on the National Register of Historic Places is now a museum devoted to the Santa Fe Trail.

The eastern portions of Colfax County was severed to form Union County in 1893.

After a referendum and a bitter legislative fight, the county seat moved from Springer to Raton in 1897. Raton was an important coal-mining town, and was also a railroad center. The citizens of Raton raised $8000 to pay one third of the costs of a new courthouse. That courthouse was replaced in 1932 by the current Colfax County Courthouse, an art-deco WPA structure that also is on the National Register of Historic Places.

Adjacent Counties

Cities, Towns, Villages & Communities

  • Angel Fire
  • Black Lake
  • Carisbrook
  • Cimarron
  • Colmar
  • Dawson
  • Dillon
  • Eagle Nest
  • Elizabethtown
  • Farley
  • Maxwell
  • Miami
  • Philmont Scout Ranch
  • Pittsburg
  • Raton (County Seat)
  • Rayado
  • Springer
  • Sunny Side
  • Sweetwater
  • Ute Park
  • Van Houten

Links

Wikipedia

Nat'l Reg. of Hist. Places

Carson National Forest (part)

Kiowa National Grassland (part)

Maxwell National Wildlife Refuge