Ranch History

In the ranches vicinity, the faint remains of Bonanza City remains, where in 1879, the discovery of silver, zinc, and lead in the Los Cerrillos hills led to the establishment of the Los Cerrillos Hills mining district. By 1880, the town site of Bonanza City was founded by John J. Mahoney, the former ambassador to Algiers. In 1881, the town had grown to include a post office, hotel, store, and smelter.

There are historical accounts suggesting that Bonanza City's population reached as many as 2000 people by 1883, although this figure was never officially confirmed. Shortly thereafter, the population began to decline. The post office closed, and by 1884, the number of residents had dwindled to around 200 people. Bonanza City's brief history gradually faded into obscurity, and the town was eventually completely abandoned at some point in the early 20th Century.

Bonanza Creek Ranch, originally known as the Jarrott Ranch, began as a working cattle ranch in the early 1950’s and it maintains its cattle operations to this day, raising over 150 free-range cattle annually. Richard Hughes, owner of Bonanza Creek Ranch, comes from a long line of New Mexico ranchers, with deep roots in the tradition of ranching in the state.

Hughes's family history and ranching goes back generations, including his great grandfather who briefly owned and operated the Forked Lightning Ranch near Pecos. Eventually the Forked Lightning Ranch was sold in the 1940s to Greer Garson and her husband, Buddy Fogelson. Garson, a famous actress, would show off the bullet holes in the mantel to visitors of which resulted from the gunfight Hughes’ grandfather was involved in when New Mexico was still a territory.