Town History and Facts

The Red River area has a rich history. Ute and Jicarilla Apaches fought and raided nearby pueblos and roamed the area. When explorers, fur trappers and prospectors discovered the area, they put River City, as Red River was first called, on the map. Hundreds of gold, silver and copper mines were carved into the mountain with names like Golden Treasure, Silver King and Black Copper. Red River's population soared. There were two general mercantiles, a livery stable, two newspapers, a sawmill, blacksmith shop, barber shop, more than a dozen saloons, several hotels and boarding houses, a dance hall and a hospital. There was also a red light district with plenty of gambling and bar room brawls.

From Boomtown to Mountain Retreat

The mines played out eventually, but soon homesteaders outnumbered prospectors. Town gained new momentum by renting abandoned mining cabins to flatland visitors seeking refuge from the heat. In the late 1920s and early 1930s, Red River was designated the "mountain playground" that it is today. 

On the National Register of Historic Places:

  • Little Red School House Museum:  At the Y and built in 1915 and used as a school house until 1942. Visit the Little Red Schoolhouse Museum.

  • Vet Mallette Cabin:  River Street and Copper King Trail

  • Orrin Mallette Cabin:  River Ranch

  • Melson-Oldham Cabin:  Tall Pine Lodge

  • Pierce Fuller House:  Two-story cabin at Silver Bell and High Street

Red River Historic Sites Locator Map

Click on the map above for a printable version of the Historic Sites Map.

  • Little Red School House Museum (Glenn Hastings)