White Oaks In 1879, following the discovery of gold and coal
in the Jicarilla Mountains, White Oaks sprang
into existence from nothing. It was frequented by
notable Old West personalities, including Billy
the Kid, Pat Garrett, and Shotgun John Collins.
The town, at its peak, had a population of 2,000
people, reached by 1890. In 1882, with a
population of 500, construction was completed
on Starr's Opera House, and the town sported
several saloons, general stores, a school, and a
town hall. In 1884 Lyman Hood held the first
church services in an actual church building, with
those meetings taking place previously in the
town hall. During this period, the town was
frequently a haven for cattle rustlers and other
By 1885, White Oaks was beginning to thrive.
Several attorneys opened businesses there, and
other professionals began to arrive in town,
opening businesses. However, its continued
existence was dependent on a railroad passing
through it. Due to a dispute, this didn't happen,
with the railroad instead running twelve miles to
the west, through Carrizozo, New Mexico.
By the late 1890s the mines had dried up, and
the population dwindled. By the early 1900s the
town was a shadow of its previous self. It is now
a ghost town, with several of the old buildings
still standing today. Now the home to a small
group of artists and craftsmen, annual events
include the White Oaks Artists Studio Tour and
Gold Rush Days, a rowdy celebration of the
heritage of this unique community.
Artist's Studio Tour First weekend after Apr 15.
(505) 648-2985 or (505) 628-2732
Gold Rush Days Annually in June:
Parade, Vendor, Exhibitions www.whiteoaksnewmexico.com