Steeped in rich history, Red River was once a stomping ground for Ute and Jicarilla Apaches, who raided nearby pueblos and roamed the region. By the 19th century, the area was known as River City, discovered by explorers, fur trappers and prospectors. The mountains were carved with hundreds of gold, silver and copper mines, including Golden Treasure, Silver King and Black Copper. The town was teeming with miners and others, served by more than a dozen saloons, a dance hall, hotels and boarding houses, and a red light district, where gambling and bar room brawls were frequent. River City also had two general mercantile stores, two newspapers, a sawmill and a livery stable.
When the boomtown faded, homesteaders replaced prospectors and River City took on new life by renting out the abandoned miner's cabins to visitors from the flatland wanting to escape the summer heat. By the late 1920s, Red River's reputation as a mountain playground was established.
Red River's fascinating history comes to life when you visit the town's properties listed on the National Register of Historic Places:
- Little Red School House Museum: At the Y, built in 1915 and used as a school house until 1942. Visit the Little Red Schoolhouse Museum.
- Ver 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
Click here for a printable version of the Historic Sites Map.