Eldorado is a subdivision community south of Santa Fe. Like much of this area, Native Americans once did live and hunt in the Eldorado area given archaeologist information. The story about how Eldorado became a subdivision illustrates an interesting economic story about land in northern New Mexico.
After the area was abandoned by Native Americans, the area became part of a Spanish land grant which was sold for $2000 dollars in 1883! Overtime, the land had changed hands and become the Onderdonk Ranch until 1969 when it was purchased by the American Realty and Petroleum Corporation (AMREP) for $3.2 million dollars or $118.50 per acre! Then, in 1972, corporation slowly began to develop close to 6000 of their 27,000 acre holding as Eldorado at Santa Fe by selling private lots. Water rights slowed development as is common in northern New Mexico. When AMREP won a lawsuit and secured water rights for the future subdivision, development took off. By 2007, the original subdivision of 2700 lots was built out. Today, there are a few vacant lots on the market for resale.
Eldorado today is a community. It remains the largest solar community in the United States with many passive solar homes. There is a community water utility and a community school serving grades K through 8th grade. It remains a favorite destination for artists and collectors. The Eldorado Arts and Crafts Association has an annual studio tour every May and artists contribute 5% of their sale proceeds to the Eldorado Fire Department, School and Library.