Engle is a little different from the other living ghost towns in Sierra County in that its roots were in commerce rather than mining. Beginning as a station on the A.T and S.F railroad in 1879, it gradually grew into the center of supply for miners and ranchers, the main embarkation point for prospectors heading out to the mining towns and claims of the Black Range. The Southwestern Stage Company, headquartered in Engle, ran tri-weekly coach to the Winston/Chloride area, a distance of some 50 miles through fairly rugged terrain. 

While the population through the 1880s was well under 100, the town hosted several important business establishments including a couple of general stores, hotel, saloon, express agent, blacksmith and boarding house. The Humbolt Mining Company also called Engle home at this time.    

In the early 1900s  Engle became the focal point for huge cattle drives, occasonally numbering over 17,000 head. While the mining towns were mostly in decline during this period Engle enjoyed the economic boost provided by trail drivers with money to spend and time to kill at the saloons and other venues of entertainment. Beginning in 1917, the construction of nearby Elephant Butte Dam also gave the local economy a temporary boost with Engle supplying nearly all the materials and workers for the project. This period saw Engle's population peak at just about 500 people.  
After the dam was completed, the population of the town again dropped sharply; by 1929 it was down to just 75. The road east to Tularosa was graded in 1930 giving the remaining residents hope for an improved local economy with good road access from the east and west. Those hopes evaporated however when the government closed the area to the east to all traffic, as part of its management of the first A-bomb test site.  
Today Engle is a lonely collection of buildings sitting at the end of Highway 51 with little left to suggest its busy past history. The railroad still passes through but passenger service to the town was suspended in 1960. Soon after the depot was closed, station buildings, the bunkhouse and cattle shipping pens were torn down and the usable building materials were carted away for other projects. The main presence in town today is the headquarters building for the Armendariz ranch along with a few private residences. Aside from a few outbuildings, the only vintage structure to be seen is the old school house which is presently maintained for church services and community events.
From I-25 take T or C exit number 79. Head south towards town on Date Street. Turn left onto highway 51 and follow it out some 17 miles until it dead ends. Along the way you'll pass through some spectacular country, including a great view of the Elephant Butte Dam and spillway about half way out.


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