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Colfax County, New Mexico

Colfax County, New Mexico
Colfax County Courthouse in Raton
Map of New Mexico highlighting Colfax County
Location in the state of New Mexico
Map of the United States highlighting New Mexico
New Mexico's location in the U.S.
Founded January 25, 1869
Named for Schuyler Colfax
Seat Raton
Largest city Raton
 • Total 3,768 sq mi (9,759 km2)
 • Land 3,758 sq mi (9,733 km2)
 • Water 10 sq mi (26 km2), 0.3%
 • (2010) 13,750
 • Density 3.7/sq mi (1/km²)
Congressional district 3rd
Time zone Mountain: UTC-7/-6
Website .us.nm.colfax.cowww
Veterans Monument at Colfax County Courthouse in Raton
Former Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad car displayed at Raton

Colfax County is a county located in the U.S. state of New Mexico. As of the 2010 census, the population was 13,750.[1] Its county seat is Raton.[2] It is south from the Colorado state line. This county was named for Schuyler Colfax (1823-1885), seventeenth Vice President of the United States under U.S. President Ulysses S. Grant.

Colfax County is the home of Philmont Scout Ranch.


  • History 1
  • Geography 2
    • Adjacent counties 2.1
    • National protected areas 2.2
  • Demographics 3
    • 2010 3.1
    • 2000 3.2
  • Communities 4
    • City 4.1
    • Town 4.2
    • Villages 4.3
    • Census-designated place 4.4
    • Unincorporated communities 4.5
  • See also 5
  • References 6
  • External links 7


Colfax County was originally part of Taos County, one of the original nine counties created by the New Mexico Territory in 1852. In 1859, the eastern part of Taos County, including all of the territory of Colfax County, was split off to form Mora County. Colfax County was established on January 25, 1869 from the northern part of Mora County. The original county seat was the gold mining town of Elizabethtown.[3]:37–38

By 1872, when the gold rush in Elizabethtown had died down, the county seat was moved to Cimarron. Cimarron was on the stage coach route along the Mountain Branch of the Santa Fe Trail, and was the headquarters of the Maxwell Land Grant. The Colfax County Courthouse in Cimarron is a contributing structure in the Cimarron Historic District, and is still in use as a Masonic lodge.

In 1881, the county seat was moved from Cimarron to Springer, located on the former Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad, since 1996 part of the Burlington Northern Railroad. The Colfax County Courthouse in Springer was the site of one of the last important shoot-outs in the Colfax County War.[3]:122–124 This former courthouse, which is on the National Register of Historic Places is now the home of a museum devoted to the Santa Fe Trail.

The eastern portions of Colfax, Mora, and San Miguel counties were severed to form Union County in 1893.

After a referendum and a bitter legislative fight, the county seat moved from Springer to Raton in 1897.[4]:23–24 Raton was an important coal-mining town, and was also a railroad center. The citizens of Raton raised $8000 to pay one third of the costs of a new courthouse. That courthouse was replaced in 1932 by the current Colfax County Courthouse (Raton, New Mexico), an art-deco WPA structure that also is on the National Register of Historic Places.[5]


According to the U.S. Census Bureau, the county has a total area of 3,768 square miles (9,760 km2), of which 3,758 square miles (9,730 km2) is land and 10 square miles (26 km2) (0.3%) is water.[6]

A large portion of the County lies in the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Geography ranges from prairies, to pinon forests, to alpine meadows.

The County contains numerous state parks, ski resorts, national forests, scenic vistas, and outdoor recreational activities.

Adjacent counties

National protected areas



Whereas according to the 2010 U.S. Census Bureau:


As of the census[12] of 2000, there were 14,189 people, 5,821 households, and 3,975 families residing in the county. The population density was 4 people per square mile (1/km²). There were 8,959 housing units at an average density of 2 per square mile (1/km²). The racial makeup of the county was 81.50% White, 0.32% Black or African American, 1.47% Native American, 0.32% Asian, 0.01% Pacific Islander, 12.80% from other races, and 3.59% from two or more races. 47.49% of the population were Hispanic or Latino of any race.

There were 5,821 households out of which 30.30% had children under the age of 18 living with them, 52.80% were married couples living together, 10.30% had a female householder with no husband present, and 31.70% were non-families. 27.70% of all households were made up of individuals and 11.90% had someone living alone who was 65 years of age or older. The average household size was 2.37 and the average family size was 2.86.

In the county the population was spread out with 25.10% under the age of 18, 6.90% from 18 to 24, 24.50% from 25 to 44, 26.50% from 45 to 64, and 16.90% who were 65 years of age or older. The median age was 41 years. For every 100 females there were 102.70 males. For every 100 females age 18 and over, there were 98.30 males.

The median income for a household in the county was $30,744, and the median income for a family was $36,827. Males had a median income of $26,736 versus $19,644 for females. The per capita income for the county was $16,418. About 12.00% of families and 14.80% of the population were below the poverty line, including 21.20% of those under age 18 and 9.00% of those age 65 or over.





Census-designated place

Unincorporated communities

See also


  1. ^ a b "State & County QuickFacts". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved September 27, 2013. 
  2. ^ "Find a County". National Association of Counties. Retrieved June 7, 2011. 
  3. ^ a b Pike, David (2004). Roadside New Mexico: a guide to historic markers. Albuquerque, NM: University of New Mexico Press. pp. 434 p.  
  4. ^ Conway, Jay T. (1930). A brief community history of Raton, New Mexico. Raton: Gazette Print. pp. 17 p. 
  5. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places.  
  6. ^ "2010 Census Gazetteer Files". United States Census Bureau. August 22, 2012. Retrieved January 1, 2015. 
  7. ^ "Annual Estimates of the Resident Population for Incorporated Places: April 1, 2010 to July 1, 2014". Retrieved June 4, 2015. 
  8. ^ "U.S. Decennial Census". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 1, 2015. 
  9. ^ "Historical Census Browser". University of Virginia Library. Retrieved January 1, 2015. 
  10. ^ "Population of Counties by Decennial Census: 1900 to 1990". United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 1, 2015. 
  11. ^ "Census 2000 PHC-T-4. Ranking Tables for Counties: 1990 and 2000" (PDF). United States Census Bureau. Retrieved January 1, 2015. 
  12. ^ "American FactFinder".  

External links

  • Official Colfax County Website
  • Colfax County information

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