Originally settled in 1835 by land grantees, Mora was seen by the Mexican government as a buffer between their territory and encroaching Americans. The town grew rapidly from the get-go, but refused to give up loyalty to Mexico when the U.S. troops took over in 1846. Battles for control of the area raged for more than a year, until the United States finally gained the upper hand on its new territory. One hundred years ago, Mora was a bustling center of commerce and politics, and was known as the breadbasket of New Mexico because of its incredible production of wheat and grains. The wide, curbed streets and building fronts, though in need of restoration, attest to the town's past importance.
Today Mora is a sparsely settled, still mostly Hispanic farming village where you can get gas, pick up snacks at the small-town market, and enjoy a few lesser-visited but no less diverting attractions. There are a couple of informal restaurants on the main road serving traditional New Mexican fare as well as the excellent lunch-only café at Salman Ranch, open late summer to midfall.