Nestled midway along the Turquoise Trail National Scenic Byway, between Albuquerque and Santa Fe, is Madrid, a quaint artsy village of about 400 residents. Bustling with 40 shops and galleries, several restaurants, a spa, and a museum, the enclave caters to the many visitors who enjoy exploring this ancient path. Madrid’s rich history, dating from the early 1800s, has taken it from a coal mining town to today’s distinctive artists’ community. Due to the unique geology of the area, a phenomenon found only in two other mines in the world—hard and soft coal—were mined here with shafts as deep as 2,500 feet. The area was booming in its mining heyday, supplying coal for the Santa Fe Railroad, local consumers and the US Government. The company town became famous for its Fourth of July parade, lighted Christmas displays and minor league baseball games held in the first lighted stadium in the West. When coal use declined, the town fell silent and became a ghost town, until, in the early 1970s, artists and crafts people arrived. They converted old company stores and houses into shops, galleries, and services. Modern-day Madrid features an original tavern, the Old Coal Mine Museum, and in the summer, events in a theatre created in the original engine house, along with festivals and concerts at the Historic ballpark. The Fourth of July parade and Christmas celebrations (held weekends in December) have been revived by Madrid’s current residents.
Old West charm and character abound in the quaint cafes, sidewalk patios, art galleries and gift shops housed in century-old buildings of the former mining town of Madrid, New Mexico.