Coal mining began around 1835 in “Coal Gulch,” now known as Madrid (pronounced MAD-rid). In 1889 the Santa Fe railroad extended a spur line. Madrid was a “company town” which owned everything – administering law and order, operating the hotel, car dealership, stores and the tavern. The original tavern was established around 1895, it burned down on Christmas Day in 1944.
The current Mine Shaft Tavern was completed in 1947 with much of the interior the same today. It is the oldest continually run tavern in Santa Fe County. The 40 ft. lodge pole pine is the longest stand up bar in New Mexico, built for the miners enjoyment after a long day hunched over in the mines. Most of the mines were closed in the 1950’s and Madrid became known as a ghost town for about 20 years. The Mine Shaft Tavern is said to be the most haunted place in Madrid. Odd occurrences that have been noticed include glasses falling from their shelves; doors opening and swinging back and forth; mysterious sounds; furniture unexplainably moved; and orbs showing up in photography.
Since the 1970’s the tavern has become an oasis for many. It’s known for being “Madrid’s living room,” a biker bar, artist haven, tourist stop, the melodrama theatre and more! The paintings by renowned Tinker Town artist Ross Ward (located above the bar and behind the stage) colorfully portray Madrid’s rich history, from mining days to recent past with its melodrama theatre. The Mine Shaft continues to serve its diverse clientele…Ward duly cites it as the
“Cultural Gem of the Mining District.”