From The Archives
The Little Red School Museum
There is no admission charge, but donations are always appreciated.
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Oral tradition has it that Red River City was founded on July 3, 1895, by Colorado miner and "land speculator" Edward I. Jones and the Red River City Town and Mineral Company. To commemorate the occasion, a young girl named Vesta Coffelt climbed Flagge Mountain - pronounced "Flag-ee" - and planted an American flag on the summit. So it began. Among the early settlers were the Youngs and the Brandenburgs, names still found in town today.
It was a mining town from the beginning and the search for precious metal resulted in hundreds of mines with colorful names like Golden Treasure, Silver King and the Black Copper dotting the countryside. By 1897, about 3,000 people were said to be living in the area, but according to the U.S. Census of 1900, there were only 205 people living in town and, by 1906, only 150 souls were said to remain. The "boom" went bust and, after the mines "played out," the town gained new momentum by renting abandoned miner cabins to flatland visitors - referred to as "Texicans" by the locals - who sought refuge from the heat in the cool mountains while enjoying trout fishing in one of the nation's most pristine cold water fisheries.
With the opening of the Red River Ski Area in 1959-60, Red River broadened its horizons. Today hundreds of thousands of people enjoy relaxation and recreation year-round in the high country of Northern New Mexico.
The Little Red School House, located on Jayhawk Trail behind the Red River Public Library at "the Y," was built around 1915-16 to replace the original log schoolhouse which was destroyed by fire. The building was the seat of education in town until classes were discontinued in the early 1940s, but it continued to serve the community as social meeting hall, church and funeral parlor for many years. In 1999, the building was moved from its original location on the banks of Bitter Creek to its present location. Today the school houses the collection of the Red River Historical Society. In addition to photos and artifacts of the early days of town, a re-creation of a period-style classroom allows visitors a glimpse of old time education. An outdoor exhibit of mining equipment adjoins the building and two historical cabins have also been added to the sight, awaiting restoration.
Please: No Photos May Be Taken in the Building.
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