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Santa Rita, New Mexico

We stumbled upon this old church while looking for Riley. The road from Magdalena, NM is a good gravel road, however, a 4 WD or truck is necessary to cross the Rio Salado river to see more of the old Riley Ghost Town. The church and cemtery is found on the south end of Riley along with the ruins of adobe homes and school. Riley was first settled around 1880 under the name Santa Rita. It was originally a colony of Mexican-American homesteaded farms. It was granted a post office in 1890 under the name of "Riley." Deposits of coal and manganese were found nearby and in 1897 the population was estimated to be 150.The mines closed and the water table dropped and the post office was closed in 1931. Once a year, on May 22, a priest celebrates Mass for the Feast of Santa Rita at the Church.

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