Fierro, New Mexico Was A Mining Town
I visited Fierro, New Mexico in the fall of 2006. These images went missing for about ten years and then I found them again.
"Fierro" means "iron" in Spanish and the town of Fierro is located a few miles north east of Silver City. Fierro was founded in 1841 by a German immigrant. It was a mining town that went belly up during the great depression.
Those who were not killed in mining accidents moved away when the economy tanked, creating a ghost town and leaving behind a church with a lonely caretaker.
St. Anthony's Catholic Church
St. Anthony's Catholic Church was built by the miners of Fierro in 1916. I don't know who would be attending church there nowadays, but I guess there's at least one person.
While poking around the outside of the church I was approached by a woman who asked if I wanted to see the inside. Her name was Juana and I said, "yes, please!" Juana let me in and preceded to regale me with with her personal testimony of the power of the Christ. Keep in mind that this was a long time ago so I may have forgotten some of the finer points but I remember her saying, "It's in the blood, the power is in the blood", over and over again.
Juana let me wander all through the church and shoot whatever photos I wanted. After a while she said, "I'm going home, bring the keys back to my house when you're done." So I did.
It was close to Halloween and Juana had ghosts hanging from trees in her yard. I didn't take any photos inside her house because that seemed rude. I can tell you though, that the inside of her house was decorated like the gift shop of a southwestern ghost town. Every possible surface, both horizontal and vertical, was covered in do-dads, artifacts, photographs, and religious paraphernalia.
Juana cooked tortillas from scratch and fried eggs over easy. All of it was delicious. She told a terrible story of how all the men in her family had been killed in the mine. Her father, her brothers, her husband, her son... all killed in mining accidents. She told me about making burritos as a child and selling them to "white people like you".
Juana was the caretaker of the church and the only resident I remember encountering in Fierro. She was gracious and friendly but I wonder sometimes if she was real.
I am DeAnna Vincent, fine art and portrait photographer in Los Lunas, New Mexico. These are the photos from my everyday adventures.