By 1856, the area was known by the Indians, settlers, and miners as a reliable source of water. The Army built a relay station nearby for its mail service.

Mail and stage routes ran through Mexican Springs, and eventually the Butterfield Overland Stagecoach  joined them. It was established as a mail stop for the National Mail and Transportation Company and renamed Grant.  The outbreak of the Civil War disrupted stage services and they were not continued until it ended.

Then William Ralston, founder of the Bank of California and the New Mexico Mining Company, bought the property and renamed it Ralston. He mined silver nearby, but was not careful enough in staking and recording his claims. In the late 1870's, the Shakespeare Mining Company came in, bought the property, changed the name again and set about properly mining at several local silver claims. Shakespeare was in business until the Stock Market collapsed in 1929. The final blow came Then the railroad missed Shakespeare by three miles, giving birth to what is now Lordsburg. Shakespeare fell into abandonment.


In 1935, Frank and Rita Hill purchased the town and buildings. They tried to protect the authenticity of the town and maintain the sites. It was declared a National Historic Site in 1970. After their death, their daughter, Janaloo, remained at Shakespeare to protect it. A devastating fire destroyed many of the records and artifacts they had collected in 1997.

Today, Janaloo's husband, Manny Hough, continues to preserve the site.

Shakespeare Cemetery

The cemetery was begun about 1850. Many graves are unmarked or have lost markers. Janaloo Hill Hough compiled records in 1969. They can be found here.


Steins was named after Enoch Steins, a US Calvary officer killed by Apaches in 1873. Old stage and mail routes ran by the area (a natural pass in the Peloncillo Range).  But, it wasn't until 1880 that Steins was established as a stop on the Southern Pacific Railroad. It had no natural source of water, so water had to be transported in.  In 1905, a rock-crushing site was put there to produce train ballast. By 1910, Steins had 1300 people. It boasted a boarding house, two bordellos, a dance hall, a general store, hotel, railroad section house and station, as well as three saloons.


When trains switched from steam to diesel, Steins lost much of its importance. In 1925, the rock quarry closed, putting many out of work. 

In 1944, the railroad discontinued its transport of water. It offered residents free rides to wherever the railroad could take them to relocate, bringing only what they could carry. Most residents vacated. The Post Office closed.


A fire destroyed part of Steins, but enough survived to represent the once thriving town. In 1988, Larry and Linda Link bought the town, giving tours until they "retired" in 2008. 

On a tragic note, Larry was murdered in June of 2011 by an unidentified person.