Some places in Hidalgo County grew and then disappeared. What once were centers of business or community gathering places have only a building or the remnants of daily life to remember them.
In the extreme southern part of the county, Bramlett was a short-lived community about which little is known. Its only postmaster was Nathan N. Bramlett, who oversaw the post office for a year beginning in 1911, after which it was closed.
In the 1880's, the Cloverdale Ranch was established near the Mexican border south of Animas. 1n 1889, the Victorio Land and Cattle Company bought the ranch and other ranchers tricked into the area. The community took the name of Cloverdale and became the center of the ranching community. It held a yearly cowboy camp meeting and attracted cattlemen and their families from miles around for social activities and business. The post office operated from 1912 to 1943. Today, one building remains, the former store. Cloverdale Creek still occasionally runs and Cloverdale Peak is the highest peak in the Guadalupe Mountains at 6,469'.
When the Chiricahua Apache Reservation was dissolved, settlers came to the area, despite continued Indian raids, bandits, and cattle rustling. Mining claims were recorded in Granite Gap in 1879. Water had to be hauled in from San Simon Cienega, three miles south. About two hundred people lived here at the height of mining productivity of silver, lead, zinc, and copper. Eventually, there was a school and a deputy sheriff was hired. Ore continued to be shipped until about 1926.
Today, the walls of a tent town, some rock and adobe foundations, and a few cave dwellings remain. The landscape is unique, with rock formations like those of Texas Canyon in Arizona.
After Phelps Dodge Corporation built Playas and put in the copper smelter in the early 1970's, it added a settlement on its land about six miles north of Playas for residents who wanted more space for livestock or gardening. Mini Farms was a small section that had a park and large spaces rented for PD employees' trailer homes. Many raised livestock there, accessed surrounding land for horse riding and four wheeling, and put in large gardens. When the smelter closed in 1999, it was abandoned. All that remains is some playground equipment and water tanks.
Nine miles south of Lordsburg, a mining camp named for the Pyramid Mountains became active in the 1880's. Originally, it was a water station on the southern overland route to California. Eugene Leitendorf dug wells in 1852 as he drove cattle from Illinois to California, that supplied steady water. The settlement around the wells was called Leitendorf. A post office was active from 1882 to 1884 and again from 1891 to 1897. The mining settlement lasted until the late 1890's and was abandoned.
Pratt was a siding located on the Southern Pacific Railroad west of Animas, 28 miles south of Lordsburg. The post office there was active from 1905-1913. The siding offered a place to load livestock.
In 1908, a placer gold discovery caused a boom. A tent camp with 500 miners sprung up and grew to almost a thousand. The boom was short-lived and most left empty-handed. By 1909, about 70 remained, but the lode was never found. Today, a few rock foundations are all that remain.
Located three miles southwest of Lordsburg, the community grew around a few mining claims in 1885. About 1913, the Southern Pacific Railroad added a spur to the mining community, and the population grew. By 1926, the town had 2,000 residents. In 1931, Phelps Dodge Corporation bought the entire property, but a year later, closed the mines and ordered residents to leave. It razed and moved buildings and left little standing. The post office functioned from 1917 to 1932.
Many communities are still around today, though not as busy as in yesteryear.
On I-10 17 miles west of Lordsburg, Road Forks was named by Mr. and Mrs. G. H. Porter. It was settled about 1925 and became a travel stop for highway travelers and those leaving I-10 on Hwy 80 toward Rodeo. The post office operated fully from 1925 to 1955. It now gets mail from Lordsburg. The truck stop has closed and reopened a number of times. There is a hotel there, a fireworks sales building, a truck service shop, fuel storage, and a few homes and trailer homes. Students there are bussed to Lordsburg or are driven 10 miles to an Animas bus stop.
When Phelps Dodge Corporation bought and leased land in the Playas Valley in preparation for installing a copper smelter and an accompanying town site, it "missed" a small pocket of land located half a mile from Hwy 9 and 11 miles east of Animas. The small section was privately developed and sold to residents in half acre or larger parcels. It became a small center of population of trailer homes and a handful of constructed homes, two churches, and a volunteer fire department. Today, it is still occupied. Nobody knows why the subdivision was named Windmill, as there has never been one on the land.