Mine Shaft Tavern, Madrid, NM (History)

Opened in 1946, the Mineshaft tavern was purchased from the Albuquerque and Cerrillos Coal Company and restored in 1982. The original building burned down on Christmas Day, 1944. Oscar Huber, rebuilt the tavern for the many coal miners of the area. It reopened in 1947 and has been open ever since. Some remodeling of the old saloon was completed in 1982; however, no changes were made to its historic bar. The 40 ft. lodgepole pine bar, as well as most of the furnishings you see, were here in 1946 when the Tavern first opened its doors.

The coal boom lasted from 1869-1954 and, during Madrid’s heyday, produced 250,000 pounds of coal annually. The coal mining company in Madrid owned most of the town. They took care of their miners, unlike many other mining companies that operated at that time. The company had wooden frame houses brought in by train from Kansas to provide homes for the miners. In the 1920s, the Albuquerque and Cerrillos Coal Company had their own electric plant. They supplied free electricity to their employee’s homes. They also provided schools, a hospital, and even paved roads, a rarity in small western towns at the turn of the century.

By the 1950s, the size of the town had dwindled. Oscar Huber’s son Joseph who owned the entire town in the 1970s. He started to lease the deserted old wood buildings to wood and metal artists. This eventually would create an art community which invigorated the town.

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