In the early 1860s, Mexican prospectors located silver ore at the mouth of Santa Fe Canyon. By March 1863, Americans learned of the find and organized the Santa Fe district. By summer, 3000 claims were staked in the new district, and early the next year the Guadalajara townsite was platted. Despite the quick development and number of mining companies in the district (nearly 20), only a few were successful and Guadalajara reached its peak population of 150 in mid-1864. Ore began to decline and the town followed suit, and by 1870 only 50 people remained. That number dropped to 37 by 1881, and before the close of the 80's Guadalajara was deserted.

Ruins of several stone buildings remain at Guadalajara, at least one of which sports rifle ports for protection against Indian attack. The ruins are on private property and permission must be obtained prior to visiting. A big thank you to Ralph for allowing access.