Kingston was founded along the Percha Creek beneath the rugged Black Range mountains in 1882, when prospector Jack Sheddon made a rich silver strike. Word spread, and almost overnight Kingston became a mining boom town. Despite pioneer hardships, smallpox and Apache attacks, it grew. During the 1880s and 1890s the mines around Kingston produced a staggering amount of high grade ore. By the turn of the century the total value of the silver extracted from the local mines amounted to well over six million dollars.

The mineral wealth of the area drove the growth of the town which by 1890 would eventually be home to some 7000 residents, with all the goods and services that a settlement of that size requires. Twenty two saloons, 14 stores and three newspapers along with numerous boarding houses, and an Opera House gives some idea of just how busy this place once was.

A stage line connected Kingston to Hillsboro, Lake Valley, and the railroad at Nutt. Lillian Russell, Mark Twain, Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid all visited this colorful community, known as the “gem of the Black Range.” Kingston was also home to Albert Fall and Edward Doheny who were involved in the famous Teapot Dome Scandal of the 1920s.

Against the backdrop of Indian raids, boom or bust mining and the generally hard life of the 1880's, the people of Kingston made the best of it. They worked hard, played hard and were not at all shy about having a good time when given the opportunity.   

Today Kingston is a quiet and serene community, a retreat for artists and those who appreciate a quiet life well off the beaten path. Today just a few original buildings remain -- the handsome Percha Bank is now a museum and gallery. A brick assay office and the stone Victorio Hotel are now private residences. The original brick section of the Black Range Lodge B&B dates to the 1880s, while its “new” rock construction was added in the 1930s, built with stone salvaged from the tumbled-down ruins of Pretty Sam's Casino (chronicled in Black Range Tales).  

The current Kingston community is now surrounded by the Gila National Forest, and is a gateway to its hiking, biking and camping. To the west on Hwy. 152, Kingston’s cemetery offers a glimpse into the past, with gravestones dating to the 1880s, and a view of the vast Black Range. A curvy drive to 8200’ Emory Pass is rewarded with a spectacular panoramic vista of the Rio Grande valley and Caballo Mountains to the east

Kingston is located about 40 miles southwest of T or C. Take I-25 to exit 63, then turn right onto NM-152 east. Once past Hillsboro proceed an additional 9 miles to Kingston. Take the right hand fork to the main street.
Kingston Links Page

Image Gallery Archive



Web page design, site management and photographs by Tony Gondola - TheBigEye
All rights reserved