Virginia City, New Mexico is Born. And Dies.

On January 6, 1868 Lucien Bonaparte Maxwell, co-owner of the Maxwell land grant, announced a public auction of 400 lots in Virginia City, a new town six miles east of today’s Elizabethtown. The new town was located along Willow Creek on Baldy Mountain’s southern slopes and  named after Maxwell’s seventeen-year-old daughter, Virginia.


Unfortunately, the town got off to a slow start. Only fifteen houses were in the next two months. Due to poor sales, the town had collapsed by the time Virginia married U.S. Army officer A.S.B Keyes two years later without Maxwell’s permission. What little remains of Virginia City is now on private property.

Sources: Urban, Jack. C.. Lure, Lore, and Legends of the Moreno Valley. Angel Fire, NM: Moreno Valley Writers Guild, 1997: 32.  Murphy, Larry R. Philmont. A History of New Mexico’s Cimarron Country. Albuquerque: UNM Press, 1972: 90. Freiberger, Lucille. Lucien Maxwell: Villain or Visionary. Santa Fe: Sunstone Press, 1999: 103.