A successful rancher and sheep man from San Rafael New Mexico purchased the land that includes the Ice Caves and Bandera Volcano in the early 1900's. The land would expand Mirabal's vast holdings which were used primarily for grazing purposes. The Volcano and Ice Cave were considered to be just oddities in those days, and the ice was mined as a resource to cool the beer in the saloon that was built in the mid 1930's.The property was leased to various people in those days, but eventually the land that includes the Ice Cave would pass to his oldest daughter Prudencia.
Prudencia Mirabal and Manuel Candelaria
Sylvestre arranged the marriage of his oldest daughter, at the age of 15 to Manuel Candelaria, oldest son of Juan Candelaria of Concho, Arizona. The Candelaria brothers were equally successful sheep men (sons of the legendary Manuel Antonio Candelaria "El Cautivo") who had vast land holdings of their own. Such a marriage would bring together lands that would stretch from Albuquerque New Mexico to the White Mountain area of Arizona. The land, needed for sheep and cattle, would ensure prosperity for the combined families for many years into the future.
Prudencia Mirabal Candelaria
On the passing of her father Sylvestre, Prudencia became the owner of the property that included the Ice Caves and Bandera Volcano. During the mid 1930's, a saloon and dance hall was built by people leasing the land. By the mid 1940's those who leased the property moved on and Prudencia needed to find someone to manage the Ice Caves and Bandera Volcano for her. After several summers working at the Ice Caves, her youngest son David, his wife Reddy, and 2 year old Janet came to run the business at his Mother's request. The year was 1946.
David and Reddy Candelaria
With youthful exuberance and a pioneering spirit, Dave and Reddy began the arduous task of managing and developing the Ice Cave and Bandera volcano as a tourist attraction. The early years were hard. The lack of roads, electricity, and phone lines made life difficult, but the vision they had for the Ice Caves spurred them on. Through their tireless efforts, the roads, phones, and electricity came, and so did the people. Trails were established that allowed the greatest number of people access to the beautiful Ice Cave and Bandera Volcano. The hard work of Dave and Reddy produced the highly accessible natural attraction you are visiting today.
Over the years, the "Man Who Owns A Volcano" has worked hard to promote the Ice Caves and Bandera Volcano. In addition, he has worked to promote tourism for the State of New Mexico, and recently was elected as a charter member to the New Mexico Tourism Hall of Fame. The Ice Caves has been more than just a tourist attraction. It is a place where the Candelaria children grew up, family and friends visited, and many happy times were had. The Ice Caves continues to be run and opperated by family members, and along with Dave and Reddy themselves, two great grandsons make 4 generations of family that reside here year round. The Candelaria Family is happy to share this natural phenomenon with you.