Founded in 1882, Kingston was a rollicking silver-mining boom town known as the “Gem of the Black Range.” Home to more than 7000 miners, merchants and madams, in its heyday Kingston boasted the largest population in New Mexico Territory. The Hole in the Wall Saloon and Pretty Sam’s Casino are two of twenty-seven drinking establishments that served the daring fortune hunters, who came from as far away as Europe and China.
California oil magnate Edward Doheny had humble beginnings as a miner in Kingston, as did his partner Albert Bacon Fall who was later implicated in the Teapot Dome Scandal. Lillian Russell performed in the local opera house, and Mark Twain also wandered through, later depicting Kingston’s male-only Spit and Whittle Club in “Roughing It.”
Today, this lovely wooded valley is a quiet community of 30-some residents. A few historic buildings remain, notably the assay office, the Victorio Hotel, and the Percha Bank – now a museum and art gallery. The old village bell in front of the Volunteer Fire Department was cast in St. Louis, and was originally used to announce Indian raids until the final Apache surrender in 1886. Before silver was discovered here in 1882, Kingston had been the haunt of the great Apache leaders Mangas Coloradas, Cochise, Victorio, and Geronimo – the last tribe of Indians to surrender their land in North America.
To learn more about Kingston and our region’s mining heritage visit: