Indian Ruins, Glenwood, New Mexico
Gila Cliff Dwellings
The windy 44 mile drive from Silver City through the mountains in the Gila National Forest was pretty but took a little more time we expected. Be prepared to spend a minimum 2-3 for the drive and look out for havalina. Once we arrived at the monument we learned that they supplied nice shaded kennels for dogs, which is a first. The trail was a medium difficulty hike, about a mile up to the dwelling. There were 6-7 accessible rooms and 2-3 you can walk into. This is a must see for New Mexico.
The first European contact with the Gila Cliff Dwellings was by Henry B. Ailman an emigrant to New Mexico who was residing in Silver City at the time. In the summer of 1878, Ailman found himself, along with a bunch of friends, on a jury list. To avoid serving, they organized a prospecting trip to the Gila River where the site was discovered.
A couple of mummified bodies had been found at the Gila Cliff Dwellings location. Most were lost to private collectors. In 1912, a burial ground was found and the mummy was named “Zeke”. The body was described as an infant. This discovery gained national attention and increased visitations to the monument. This led to additional improvements in the next couple of years. This was the only mummy to reach the Smithsonian from the site.
Throughout the following years, many visitors would study the dwellings. In the next couple of years, the site became more accessible. In the 1890s the Hill brothers had created a resort at the nearby Gila Hot Springs. The Hill brothers would take guests on tours to the nearby cliff dwellings. In June 1906, Rep. John F. Lacey of Iowa and chairman of the House Public Lands Committee introduced a bill for the regulation of prehistoric sites.