Historical  Society

    The Historical Society was chartered in 1949 by a small group of citizens worried about the destructive social energy following World War II. It uses the picturesque former home of gold mine superintendent Armstrong Baxter who built the two-story adobe hacienda on a prominent butte called Colina Del Oso. The Society’s primary duty is attending the memory of Mudgap’s most famous early resident, Elmer Bohannon, founder of the town’s schools. Heirs of the Morgan Freight and Mercantile Company, a major long hauler in frontier New Mexico before the arrival of the steam train, habitually purchased failed businesses and local estates and owned most of the buildings along the original main street. Their grandma’s-attic accumulation became the Historical Society’s foundation.  Starting in the old “Alley Building” on Front Street the preserved treasures soon relocated to the former Baxter place on Colina Del Oso.
 
Main Street 1903
 

Early Class

 
Old Trestle at Apache Draw
    Mudgap’s frontier days boasted several colorful characters the most famous being Elmer Bohannon.  Bohannon’s legacy encourages much of Mudgap’s tourism and has inspired more than one local author in Mudgap’s growing writers’ community.  The Society devotes an entire wing to his memory and conducts tours for curious tourists to his grave and former home site in the Ocultado.
    The Historical Society sponsors municipal celebrations appropriate for a participant in the great American saga. The most constant and well attended is the Fourth of July festival and fireworks display.  Others include occasional winter carnivals, first held in the 1880’s, an outdoor, winter presentation of King Lear and concerts in the Estatua Opera House featuring popular music from the frontier days.

 
Bear Hill Players

 
 
    In addition to the Society’s Bohannon Wing you will see the Pageant Room recalling the 1974 centennial pageant, the Tectonic Room simulating two earthquakes that struck in the 1880’s and the Native American room featuring artifacts from Rockman Canyon.  Videos explore the scholarly mysteries of the ancient stone statue that gives name to nearby Montana Estatua and the stone tower on Colina Del Oso.  Displays include mockups of the original Morgan Store and of a Morgan freight outfit with mules, Studebaker wagons and a one-eyed driver snapping his whip above the beasts’ heads.  The Historical Society regulates the heartbeat of modern Mudgap for residents and vacationers alike making it a living ghost town.