Chloride, NM is 23 miles north of Kingman, AZ, 80 miles south of Las Vegas, NV, and just 4 miles off of NM-93.
The 11 present residents of Chloride, NM live in what’s essentially a ghost town. It sprung up in 1880, two years after Briton Harry Pye chanced upon silver ore, a discovery he initially kept secret. Word eventually got out, prompting a boom. Chloride, in its heyday, had nine saloons, a general store, a dry goods store, a millinery shop, a restaurant, a butcher shop, a candy store, a pharmacy, a Chinese laundry, a photography studio, a school, and two hotels. The Black Range newspaper was printed in Chloride from 1882 to 1896.
The demise of Chloride began with the Silver Panic of 1893 and was hastened by the presidential election of 1896, which resulted in a drastic decline in silver prices.
Today, many of Chloride’s original structures still stand, with as much of the original features being kept as was possible.
The old Pioneer Store is a museum; next door the former Monte Cristo Saloon and Dance Hall houses a gift shop and gallery featuring work by local artists. Both are open seven days a week from 10am-4pm.
This town was WELL worth the visit. We will be sharing a future post on other structures in town, but we felt that the Pioneer Store/Museum deserved a post of its own.
The gentleman who runs the museum is a trove of history and a pleasure to talk with. His passion for history and knowledge of the Old West is infectious. He is in his 80s and purchased the town 20+ years ago, with the intent to restore it and preserve the history. As he explains it, the general store was boarded up, and he didn't have any idea as to what might be inside. When he removed the boards and went inside, he was astonished to see that the store was essentially as it had been 100 years ago. Product still remained on the shelves, and aside from a layer of dust, everything was in perfect condition. After a lifetime in industry, he considers preserving the town to be his life's work, and he intends to spend the rest of his days doing it. His daughter runs the gift shop next door and likewise is very knowledgeable.