Scenic USA - New Mexico
Steins Ghost Town
|Photos by Ben Prepelka
Scenic USA Artist Website
Beginning in 1857, the Birch and Butterfield Stage Lines passed through the streets of Steins Pass, one of the many stops along this mail route from Tipton, Missouri to San Francisco, California.
The town was firmly established in 1860 when the Southern Pacific Railroad arrived, but it took another 20 years before Steins earned an official U.S. Post Office.
The small railroad town was named after U.S. Army Major Enoch Steen, who camped nearby while exploring the lands acquired in the Gadsden Purchase. Steen played an important part in exploration of the western states, with landmarks in Oklahoma, Oregon, and New Mexico named in his honor. During the late 1800s, Cochise, Geronimo and their Apache bands, along with horse thieves and express robbers, such as Black Jack Ketchum, all terrorized the citizens in and around the Steins area in the Peloncillo Mountains.
By 1910 Steins (Steens) boasted as many as 1300 residents, most attracted by work at a rock-crushing plant. When the Southern Pacific Railroad upgraded its engines from steam to diesel power, the rail service no longer required a stop at Steins to take on water and fuel. When railroad operations ceased in the mid 1940s, so did the town's water supply. Relying on the railroad to bring in the entire town's supply of water, the townspeople packed up what they could, hopped aboard the train and departed their town forever.
Today, ghost town visitors will still find remnants of Steins, located along New Mexico's Interstate 10. Preserved for serious researchers as well as curious tourists, ghost town tours are available on a limited basis. Sidelined for a year following the tragic death of owner Larry Link, Melissa will do her best to schedule an appointment for you to tour the town.
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