ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — The coal mines at the historic town of Dawson shut down 62 years ago, but former residents and family members will gather at the Colfax County site this weekend for their every-other-year reunion, The Raton Range reported.
A total of 663 people attended the last Dawson Reunion two years ago, and earlier reunions have drawn 1,000 people or more to the old town site about 30 miles west of Raton and 5 miles north of U.S. 64, The Range said.
Only a small sign marks the road leading to the cemetery that holds many former residents of Dawson, which was home to several thousand people during its heyday in the late 1920s and early 1930s, the paper reported.
Dawson was founded in 1901 when rancher John Barkley Dawson sold his coal-rich land to the Dawson Fuel Company, and by 1905 the town had a population of close to 2,000, according to The Range.
In 1906, the mines were purchased by the Phelps Dodge Corporation, which built homes for miners and other facilities, including a hospital, department store, swimming pool, movie theater and golf course, The Range said.
Today, the Dawson site is on land owned by the Florida-based Colfax Land and Cattle Company, which opens the area to the Dawson Reunion every other year, as long as those who come on the property sign a waiver of liability, the paper reported.
A cleanup day is planned at the Dawson site at 8 a.m. Friday to prepare for Sunday’s picnic.
According to the Dawson New Mexico Association newsletter, 32 former Dawson residents have died since the last reunion, The Range said.