The traces of two pueblos discovered in this area date to at least 1300 but the town of Golden got its start in 1825 during the first gold rush west of the Mississippi. The gold boom brought prospectors and miners along with saloons, stores, a school and even a stock exchange. The gold rush lasted until 1880s but by 1928, the post office that had opened in 1880 closed, and Golden became a ghost town.
The San Francisco Catholic Church, built in 1830, still stands, and is one of the buildings most often photographed along the Turquoise Trail . New Mexico author and historian Fray Angelico Chavez restored the church during the 1960s when he was pastor of St. Joseph’s Church in Cerrillos.
To the west of the church, you can still see ruins of the Golden’s stone schoolhouse, and the Golden General Merchandise Store, which opened in 1918, is still in business, known locally as the Henderson Store.