The Mattocks Site
Beginning with a site visit in 1883 by Adolph Bandelier—one of the 19th century’s most important and influential archaeologists in New Mexico—through the ownership and research of the Mimbres Foundation in the 1970s, the ruin has long attracted the interest of archaeologists. In 1929-30, the first scientific excavation was led by Paul Nesbitt of the Logan Museum.
If these walls could talk…
As you visit the MCHS, use your stay as a chance to walk through the past. Imagine what life was like for the people who built pueblo rooms of stone, and homestead houses of adobe.
The Wood House is the older of the two adobe houses on the property and dates to the 1880s. Built during the Apache Wars, it has gun ports and a steeply pitched roof for defensive measures, and is one of the few surviving structures in the Mimbres Valley. Dr. Granville N. Wood, a physician, planted an orchard of apple, peach, cherry, pear, apricot, and plum trees. The property also included 40 acres of alfalfa, a large vegetable garden, and pasture of livestock. Dr. Wood sold his homestead to Robert Floyd in 1887. In 1987 it was listed on the National Historic Register.
The Gooch House dates to the 1890s, was built by Benjamin Gooch, and was later the residence of Bert Mattocks. Robert Floyd died in 1889, leaving the property to his wife Kate. Kate Floyd married Ben Gooch at the end of 1889. Gooch quickly became a successful businessman, profiting from the produce of fruit trees, alfalfa fields, garden, and livestock. Gooch moved his family to Silver City in 1901, where he opened a green grocery and meat market. He leased part of his Mimbres property to J.D. Ross. During a confrontation in 1902, Mr. Gooch shot and killed Mr. Ross. Gooch was captured, tried, and later declared insane.
The property was sold in 1922 to the Mattocks family. They welcomed some of the early visiting archaeologists, permitting them to excavate. In time, the site became known as the Mattocks Ruin.
The Imogene F. Wilson Education Foundation acquired the MCHS property from the Silver City Museum in 2011. It now owns and manages the Mattocks Archaeological Site and the two adjoining historical Mimbres Valley ranch houses from the 1880s.
The site also includes the Mimbres Museum, located in the Gooch House. Exhibit space is dedicated to the Mimbres Culture and to the later settlement and multicultural development of the Mimbres Valley. The museum features a welcome center, a gift shop, wheelchair access, restroom facilities, and a Community Room for meetings and presentations. Visitors also have the rare opportunity to walk through one of the old Territorial houses of its era left standing.