In 1879 two miners from Leadville, Colorado, found deposits of gold in the area. Short afterwards, the Santa Fe Railroad came through, and a postoffice opened in 1880. Soon, silver, copper, zinc and lead and turquoise worth about a million dollars were discovered as well. Thomas Alva Edison is said to have spent over two million dollars at his laboratory in the Ortiz Mountains trying to discover how to separate gold from its imprisoning rock through an electrostatic process because of the scarcity of water in that region.
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By about 1890, the mining activity of the precious metals was over but by then coal was taking over as the mainstay of the economy in the area. The population of Cerrillos once was about 800, now it is a small, but very nice and friendly village.
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