In 1879, the New Mexico Mining Company created the town of Ralston (later named Shakespeare). The founders needed more water, so they claimed a site on the Gila River and named it the Virginia Mining District, with the resulting town dubbed Richmond (for Virginia's capital). Hispanic settlers, ranchers, and traders soon occupied the area. The Gila Ranch Company owned much of the land.
In 1912, Mormons immigrating from Mexico arrived and began negotiating with the company's president, Earnest W. Virden, for land. The Gila Ranch Company sold the valley for $50,000, with $5,000 down and $500 a year until paid. The community was named Virden to honor him in 1916.
The community continued to grow stronger in the Mormon population and original Hispanic families dwindled.
Old Virden School Building
Virden Community Center
The community center is a gathering place for almost any event.
In 2009, about 122 people lived in Virden. Because the valley runs through the border of New Mexico and Arizona, residents claim to live in two states. The center called Virden is in New Mexico, but a couple of miles west, residents are in Arizona. New Mexican residents get their mail as a service of Lordsburg, NM, 30 miles to the south (88045), but Arizona residents are served by Duncan, Arizona, about seven miles to the west (85534).
School children attend school in Duncan, Arizona, on a waiver from Lordsburg Municipal Schools.
The median age is about 32 and there are slightly more males (53%) than females. Only about 7% of the population was Hispanic.
The weather is moderate and conducive to farming.