Once a booming mining town in the late 1800s, Hachita, New Mexico is now relegated to a “Census Designated Place” with between 25 and 50 residents.
The post office is all that keeps this nearly abandoned town from falling off the map. There are no gas stations or grocery stores. However, the most noticeable feature is the Church of St. Catherine of Siena. Rising up from the desert and framed by the Little Hatchet mountains in the background, St. Catherine’s looks like a ghost from the old west—through the abandoned church’s origins date back less than 100 years.
St. Catherine’s started out as a high school during Hachita’s heyday. When the mining industry died after World War II, the town’s population dwindled. The school was eventually shut down, but was later reborn as a church when a New York businessman purchased and renovated the property. He named the church after his deceased mother’s patron saint in 1970.
Today, the church is nothing more than an empty shell, surrounded by high grass and broken glass. However, it still calls to intrepid travelers following the route of the old El Paso & Southwest Railroad Line, or starting their trek along the continental divide.
Know Before You Go
While there are occasional reports of the gas station being open, assume it will be closed. The nearest gas stations are 40-50 miles in either direction.
Hachita is located between Animas and Columbus on Route 9. You can reach Hachita from I-10 using the exit for Route 146. However, it’s more interesting to follow Route 9 by exiting for either Animus or Columbus and following the route of the old El Paso & Southwest Railroad Line.