The traditional village of Los Cerrillos (The Little Hills) is one of the oldest and most marked of the Old Spanish Mineral Developments in the Southwest. In fact, turquoise mined here found its way to the crown jewels of Spain. One of the last unspoiled villages, it was laid out by the Santa Fe Railroad in 1880. The village water still flows from the original dam the railroad built.
The Cerrillos Hills was the largest comprehensive mining district in the country with turquiose being the first mineral to be extracted before the advent of the Spanish. In its heyday it was home to over 3000 miners who undoubtedly frequented the 21 saloons, 5 Brothels, 4 hotels and possibly read some of the 8 newspapers. The Clear Light Opera House where Sarah Bernhardt and Lillian Langtree sang is still on Main Street. In 1899, it was reported New Mexico's production of turquoise was valued at $1,600,000, most of it coming from Cerrillos. The town's demise began shortly after the turn of the century when production of gold and turquoise slackened, but the majority of turquoise mined in New Mexico still comes from these beautiful hills.
Some 13 movies have been made in the village, the most recent one being Vampires, scenes for Hi Lo Country and the first Young Guns movie was filmed here in 1987. Walt Disney made two movies here and it was rumored that he wanted to buy the whole town.