Madrid, New Mexico & Kiln Opening [part 2]
This will be the final post about the anagama wood firing I participated in over the past month. I’ve been asked a few questions about Madrid, New Mexico, so I thought I’d say a little about that, then conclude with a slide show of the gorgeous skies and people of the firing, a few pictures of Madrid, and a few of my pieces that sold at the kiln opening. Similar works are being listed this week in my Etsy store.
Madrid (pronounced ma-drid in these parts), New Mexico, is located in a valley of the Ortiz mountains, and is the oldest coal mining town region in New Mexico (as early as 1850). By 1892, the village was connected by a narrow gauge spur to the Santa Fe Railroad. By 1893 a seven story anthracite breaker was constructed, and by 1899 all coal production in the area was consolidated at Coal Gulch, which later became Madrid. Wood framed cabins were dismantled in Kansas and brought to Madrid by train to house the miners and their families. The town flourished as a “Company Town” of some 2500 people. In 1919, Oscar Joseph Huber was hired as full time superintendent of mines. Under his leadership, Madrid became a model for other mining towns to follow. Schools, a fully equipped hospital, a Company Store and an Employees Club were some of the benefits of life in Madrid during the 20’s and 30’s. However, production dwindled with W.W.II and the mines closed in the 1950’s.
In the early 1970’s Joe Huber (Oscar’s son), then owner of the entire town site, rented a few of the miner’s cabins to rugged individuals, artists and craftsmen eager to make a home in the mountains of New Mexico. He remained dedicated to the town he’d grown up in and its new community until his death in the late 1980’s. Madrid is now an active village with a quiet residential area and a short but bustling “Main Street” (State Hwy 14, also known as the Turquoise Trail or the scenic route between Albuquerque and Santa Fe) with galleries, shops and a few restaurants. It has a funky vibe, thanks to the conglomeration of hippies, tourists, locals, bikers, dogs, and artists who share in daily life.
I hope my vast readership have enjoyed this little foray into my adventures along the Turquoise Trail, through Madrid, and at the anagama kiln climbing a hill in the Ortiz Mountains.