Gold and silver were discovered in the late 1880’s in what is now southwest Catron County, New Mexico. Preferably, in order to contain costs, gold and silver needed to be processed as close as possible to the mines. However, the problem in this particular area was that Whitewater Canyon, where the majority of the mines like the Confidence, Blackbird, Bluebird and Redbird were located, was too narrow.
The next best location was at the mouth of the canyon and in 1893 John T. Graham arrived to build the mill, and in so doing had the mill town that would spring up named after himself. The mill location, however, had its own set of challenges since there wasn’t enough water to run the steam generators. Nor was there sufficient water to supply the town of around two hundred residents.
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