Explore the Town
Kingston, Hillsboro and Lake Valley were boom towns of the Black Range Mining District from the first strike in 1877 into the early 1900s. In 1888, among New Mexico's counties, Sierra County ranked first in silver output, third in copper, fourth in gold fifth in lead and second in overall output. Step into time to the days of Gold Strikes, Indian wars and painted ladies. Starting in 1877 and ending in 1939, Hillsboro was the center of a lively commercial complex that could have been the source for every dime western novel and hollywood western ever made.
In December of 1877, the camp had taken on an air of permanence but it still had no name. People called the camp what they wished and the newspapers referred to it as the Las Animas Gold camp or the Camp in the new Las Animas district. The town received its name when Joe Yankie tossed his name in a hat, along with other names submitted by the various founders. Yankie's name was drawn and he got to name the town.
The day to day lives of people who ran businesses and provided services to support the local industries of mining and ranching remain the untold history of the area.
Today, Hillsboro is a quiet town with a mix of old families, writers, artists and retirees. Hillsboro is fortunate in that many pictures as well as original buildings still remain. We have created this page to give people a chance to visit our town, before and after.
Jim Drummond from Strongsville, Ohio was a businessman who saw the need for a bank in Kingston. So he went back to Ohio, struck up a partnership with his brother, Richard, and additional investors. Jim Drummond then married the investors bookkeeper, Bel Burke and established the Percha Bank at Kingston.
Tom Ying's Restaurant
In 2016 the Black Range Museum was purchased by the Hillsboro Historical Society. It is currently scheduled for repair and restoration.
The history of the building is not crystal clear. It was built before 1893 and is best known as the Ocean Grove Hotel of the infamous Sadie Orchard with Tom Ying’s restaurant. The museum houses many items that belonged to Orchard and Ying as well as many others that document the history of the Hillsboro area.
Sadie Orchard, the original owner of the Ocean Grove, was a strong woman with a simple name. A stagecoach driver, philanthropist, and (most famously) a madame, she has been the subject of books, TV dramas, and (especially) her own tall tales. “The Chinaman” Tom Ying was hired by Sadie to run the restaurant after 1896. His Victorian house is adjacent to the Museum.
Miller's drug store, although damaged by the 1914 flood and rebuilt at that time, is much the same today as when operated by G.T. Miller from the late 1800's when he came to Hillsboro as a mining company representative. Both the Hillsboro telephone switchboard and the post office were housed in the drug store.