Thursday, October 21, 2010

White Oaks

 White Oaks is an old mining town that was founded in 1879 when gold was discovered on nearby Baxter Mountain. The town quickly grew to about 2,500 people and there was a post office, bank, four churches, school and a mortuary.
school house
There were also several blacksmith shops, meat market, general merchandise store, restaurant, drug store, laundry and even a dairy.
Several prominent New Mexicans were part of White Oaks history. W.C. McDonald arrived as a surveyor and later became New Mexico's first governor after statehood. He is buried in the White Oaks cemetery.
Billy the Kid was chased by a White Oaks posse to the Greathouse Trading Post where White Oaks deputy, Jim Carlisle was killed. His body was brought back to White Oaks for burial as was deputy James Bell, who was murdered by The Kid during his escape from the Lincoln County jail.
There are many historic buildings in town, including this brick mansion.
Hoyle house
Watt Hoyle constructed the home in 1893, allegedly for his prospective bride. After she wrote him a "Dear John" letter, he never finished the inside of the house.
Gumm house
The Gumm brothers owned a lumber mill and Pat Garrett was allegedly at the Gumm house arranging to purchase lumber for the scaffolding needed to hang Billy the Kid when Billy made his escape from the Lincoln County jail.  The home is now owned by the only realtor in White Oaks and has undergone extensive renovation.
Miner's Home & Tool shed museum
The Miner's Home and Tool shed museum contains a recreation of the way life would have been in the area in the late 1800's. It contains hundreds of artifacts and history. There is a tool shed out back containing mining tools and samples of various ore.

White Oaks was destined to become a flourishing metropolis but was undone by greedy town leaders who refused the right of way to the El Paso and Northeastern railroad by pricing the land outrageously high. The negotiators simply walked away and headed for Corona and Carrizozo.
Today White Oaks is home to not only museums and historical sites but many artists studios and the "NO Scum Allowed!" bar.

From the US 54 between Corona and Carrizozo, turn on County Road 349.

For more information about White Oaks, please go here:


  1. I have always liked White Oaks. Nice pics, girl! BTW, my brother's name is James Bell!