Tales of the Trails

October, 2016

The history of the Pig and Calf by Jason Stuart http://bit.ly/2cNlECX

Albuquerque Pig and Calf Lunch, 2013 – by Jason Stuart

To the casual observer passing by on today’s Central Avenue in Albuquerque, the Pig and Calf Lunch could slip past without a second glance, branded as it is as a contemporary sandwich shop. But a closer look reveals more. Black and white ceramic tiles cover the surface, in stark contrast to the brick and stucco of neighboring businesses. The words “Pig and Calf,” partially obscured by age, adorn a black tile frieze; a stylized pig and calf sit silently to either side, a playful reminder of what was once offered inside. This is a building of times gone by.

A restaurant called The Pig Stand opened at 2106 E. Central Avenue in 1924. Whether or not it was affiliated with the Pig Stand chain out of Dallas is unclear. By 1926, it had a new owner, Charlie Ellis, and went by the name Pig and Calf Barbecue – “The Home of Barbecued Meats.” It seems still to have been known colloquially as the Pig Stand. Ellis opened what was alternately called Charlie’s Pig Stand #2 or the Pig and Calf Barbecue #2 on North 4th St. (which at the time was Route 66) in 1932, although this closed shortly before the construction of the current building in 1935 on the site of the original Pig Stand at 2106 E. Central, opposite the University of New Mexico on what would become, two years later, the new alignment of Route 66.

Ellis kept his restaurant open during construction, moving the older building to the back of the lot, no doubt keeping his customers happy and his income flowing. The new building opened for business on May 14, 1935, to some fanfare. Perhaps the opening-night free beer (for men – ladies received flowers, and children candy) helped foster enthusiasm. Local businesses took out a number of advertisements in the local paper congratulating Ellis on the opening of his new Pig Stand, suggesting both he and the café enjoyed significant local prominence and goodwill.

The new building was described as “attractively white-tiled inside and out,” with “private booths” and “horseshoe counter.” Ellis’s own ad in the Albuquerque Journal touted it as “new – larger – very elaborate.” While one contemporary source referred to it as the Pig and Calf Lunch, this name, if used at all, did not last long, and the Pig Stand Café remained a top draw for locals as well as for travelers along the Mother Road. Ellis, obviously, was well aware of his plum location; postcards from the late 1930s advertise the Pig Stand as “Opposite the University on Route 66.”

By the mid-50s, though, the Pig Stand was closed, replaced for the better part of a decade by the University Café, and then by Campus Laundry and Cleaners. It remained a laundromat until taken over by the Pita Pit in 2006.

Like its neighbor just to the west, the Cottage Bakery, the Pig and Calf is a story of survival despite the absence of the long-term success of a single establishment. It stands today as a telling reminder of the ways roadside businesses could combine eye-catching design, modern amenities, and whimsical imagery to lure customers. Although no longer “The Home of Barbecued Meats,” it remains an evocative piece of Route 66’s architectural history.

Barelas-South Fourth Street Historic District Albuquerque, New Mexico

The Barelas-South Fourth Street Historic District near downtown Albuquerque is a linear corridor running along South Fourth Street-Historic Route 66-through the heart of one of the city’s oldest areas, the Barelas residential neighborhood. Buildings in the district reflect the different phases of development along South Fourth Street and convey three interrelated stories. The Hispanic farming village of the early 19th and 20th centuries was modernized when the Atchinson, Topeka, and Santa Fe (AT&SF) Railroad built tracks through the Middle Rio Grande Valley. The railroad arrived in Albuquerque in 1880, and the Atchinson, Topeka, and Santa Fe located its repair shops and a roundhouse in the Barelas neighborhood stimulating the local economy and urban development. In 1926, Fourth Street, the main north-south corridor through the area, became U.S.Route 66, giving rise to automobile-oriented development.

After the designation of Route 66 along South Fourth Street, commercial development began in earnest. Over the next 30 years, the district flourished. The Barelas-South Fourth Historic District reached its commercial peak in the mid-1950s as a thriving automobile commercial strip serving the local community as well as travelers. The commercial strip offered local residents and farmers from Albuquerque’s South Valley a full line of businesses with bilingual proprietors. It also provided Route 66 motorists a range of gas stations, grocery stores, and curio shops. At the height of activity, 4,000 to 6,000 cars traveled the road each day.

The mixture of residences and a variety of commercial building types in the district create a varied streetscape pattern. For the most part, the commercial strip buildings and supermarkets at the edge of the sidewalk define a traditional commercial, walled corridor. Owner-built, utilitarian structures and vernacular interpretations of popular architectural styles account for the majority of buildings, although a handful of high style buildings form the visual landmarks of the district. Most of the commercial strip stores have little or no overt architectural detail, but achieve their effect through a straightforward presentation of standard elements–door, windows, and sign panel–enlivened, perhaps, by a textured walls surface material. Kandy’s Supermarket and Piggly-Wiggly Market are examples of this type of design. After the designation of Route 66 in 1926, some builders drew from the Mission-Mediterranean genre in an attempt to attract the eye of the auto tourist. Curvilinear or stepping parapets and terra cotta tiles, such as those on the Magnolia Service Station, are the most common types of details. One service station combines a tile roof with Bungalow style brackets to strike a domestic note appropriate to the neighborhood.

September, 2016

Picuris Pueblo and San Lorenzo de Picuris  http://bit.ly/2buBcLh

On the western slope of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains 18 miles south of Taos is the secluded Picuris Pueblo. With an elevation over 7,000 feet above sea level, the smallest of New Mexico’s 19 Pueblo tribes is home to the recently restored Mission San Lorenzo Church. Franciscan priests built a mission there in 1629, in order to bring the Picuris into Catholicism and the Spanish ways of life. While active, the mission was rebuilt several times following Pueblo uprisings and Comanche raids. The church building of San Lorenzo de Picuris has been restored by the Picuris community and is maintained as an important element of the Picuris Pueblo’s fascinating history that spans centuries. Today, Picuris Pueblo is listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Between the mountains and the plains. The people from Picuris Pueblo have many cultural practices similar to other Puebloan groups in the region, but the pueblo’s geographical isolation and proximity to the Plains made Picuris distinct. The ancestors of Picuris had been in the region a long time, living in a settlement near Pot Creek. Around A.D. 1250, a group moved to the site of Picuris Pueblo and built multi-story buildings of stone and adobe. There they continued practicing dry-land agriculture growing maize. The high elevation meant a shorter, more precarious growing season, and one result was that Picuris never over-relied on one kind of food. Their subsistence pattern included gathering wild plants, fishing, trading, and hunting a variety of animals including deer and rabbit. In the 19th century people from Picuris began hunting buffalo, working for wages, and raising livestock in addition to traditional farming and hunting. Picuris Pueblo maintained close relationships with Plains groups that included trade and social ties, but the other consequence of those relationships was involvement in Plains wars and conflict, which made them a target for raiding.
Missionaries at Picuris
The Franciscan missionary Francisco de Zamora arrived with Oñate’s 1598 expedition to settle what would become northern New Mexico. He was assigned generally to Taos and Picuris pueblos. Although he likely went and ministered at Picuris, the pueblo was not given a designated mission until 1621. In that year Fray Martín de Arvide arrived at the pueblo which already had a reputation of being resistant to conversion. By 1629, a church and convento were reported to have been built and in use.

During the 1600s, tensions remained high between the Spanish and native peoples throughout the Southwest. The conflicts grew out of the Pueblo people’s experiences of religious suppression and economic hardships as well as Spanish internal conflicts between Church and secular authorities. In 1680, many villages, including Picuris, took part in the large Pueblo Revolt of 1680, a coordinated uprising of many pueblos throughout the region. At the time, an estimated 3,000 people were reportedly living at Picuris, and in support of the revolt, Picuris sent several hundred men to reinforce their Taos and Apache allies in the siege of Santa Fe.

The rebellion resulted in the death of several hundred Franciscans, the destruction of many churches, and the death or banishment from pueblo towns of many Spanish residents. The Spanish did not successfully return until 1692, when the Spanish and allies from other pueblos regained a precarious control of Taos and Picuris. The people of Picuris rose up again in 1696 with other northern pueblos. The bid was unsuccessful, and fearing retribution from the Spanish and their allies, the people of Picuris fled their pueblo. Some went to other pueblos nearby. Many sought refuge among their connections on the High Plains, reportedly going to El Cuartelejo, located in what is today east-central Kansas. Over the next few years the Picuris slowly returned, and some were ransomed by Juan de Ulibarrí, the Spanish chief official of the Pecos district who traveled to Cuartelejo to bring back Picuris Indians. Many never came back, and the pueblo that had once been home to several thousand was now home to around 400.

What you can see today.
In the 1700s, a new challenge for the Spanish, Picuris, and Apache appeared as Comanche groups moved into northern New Mexico, shifting the power dynamics in the region. In 1769, a large Comanche party attacked Mission San Lorenzo and sacked the mission, which was located outside the pueblo and was relatively unprotected. Afterward, the mission was moved much closer to the pueblo, and when Father Visitor Domínguez visited in 1776 the building was still under construction. The Pueblo Indians built the missions throughout New Mexico, but construction often took years because it generally took place during the periods between harvesting and planting. The result was a small, three room convento and a church with a choir loft and transept.

In the 19th century New Mexico came under the control of Mexico, and later the United States. Throughout these changes, the people of Picuris kept the church in working order. In the 20th century the church was briefly “modernized” when someone put a pitched tin roof on the old adobe building. In the 1960s, there was a resurgence of interest in the colonial history of the pueblo and major efforts began to understand and reconstruct the mission with respect to its history. The mission was excavated in the 1960s, and using archeological and historical information, the church was reconstructed and its original profile restored to appear much as it did in 1778. The mission was rebuilt with deference to traditional methods, thanks to volunteers who molded thousands of adobe bricks by hand.

Today, Picuris Pueblo welcomes visitors and is home to a variety of artisans. In particular, the pueblo is known for its sparkling unornamented pottery, whose unique, subtle glitter is a product of the local clays mixed with flakes of mica. The major feast day of the pueblo is the Feast of St. Lawrence on August 10th when the community holds its Sunset Dances. In addition to exploring the old mission church visitors can enjoy the Picuris Pueblo Museum, a self-guided tour of the archeological sites, and trout fishing at Pu-na Lake.

August, 2016

Pablita Velarde by Matthew Martinez – San Juan Pueblo

For centuries, the art of painting and drawing has always been a fundamental practice of indigenous peoples across the Americas. Evidence of recording through drawing can be seen in the petroglyphs found throughout the Southwest, which date back thousands of years. Art, drawing, dance, and song were, and continue to be venues for recording history and cultural practice. Today, American Indian art is widely acclaimed for its beauty and distinctiveness and Pablita Velarde’s paintings represent the strength of Pueblo cultural identity. Her work is strikingly unique and can be found in museums, libraries, galleries and private collections around the world.

Velarde was born in 1917 at Santa Clara Pueblo. Her Tewa name is Tsa Tsan (Golden Dawn). As a young girl Velarde and her sisters were sent to St. Catherine’s school in Santa Fe. This was common among many Pueblo families who went through difficult times. Later, as a young woman, Velarde attended the Santa Fe Indian School in 1932.

During this time, Velarde encountered Dorothy Dunn who came from Chicago to teach art at the Santa Fe Indian School. Dunn had a profound influence on the development of American Indian artists. She encouraged students to draw images from their tribal communities. Dunn taught Velarde how to grind rocks and clay for earth colors in her paintings. This technique helped Velarde find recognition in the art world. Velarde’s early work centered on village life and the women of Santa Clara.

When she was in her 20s Velarde was commissioned to paint 84 images of Pueblo life at Bandelier National Monument for a WPA project, 1939-1946. At times in her life Velarde worked a variety of jobs including nanny and switchboard operator. She married Herbert Hardin in 1941 and shortly after, Hardin was drafted to fight in World War II. Velarde was determined to be self-sufficient and continued to paint and draw. She would put her pictures up at the portal at the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe where her artwork sold for only a few dollars. Today, her paintings sell for thousands of dollars all over the world. In her later life, Pablita Velarde painted a mural at the Indian Pueblo Cultural Center in Albuquerque, New Mexico that included a self portrait, breaking a long standing rule held by Pueblo painters.

Pablita Velarde is also known for her publication, Old Father Storyteller. The stories came from her grandfather and great-grandfather. Velarde illustrated the stories with natural earth tone paintings. The stories reflect aspects of the Tewa worldview. The stories and paintings all include imagery of land, animals, and people. Velarde grew up at a time when storytelling was very much part of the socialization of Pueblo children. She wanted these histories to be passed on by adding a visual element to the storytelling. As a result of writing these stories, the tribal elders began to punish and chastise Velarde. Many Pueblo people believed these stories were not supposed to be written down. Velarde felt compelled to write these stories for her own children as well as to share with the public something about Santa Clara culture.

Now in her late 80s (2005), Velarde still continues to paint images of life at Santa Clara Pueblo. She has lived an unconventional and rewarding life and has received over 50 awards for her work including an honorary doctorate from the University of New Mexico, the Award of Excellence from the Louvre in Paris, and the Lifetime Achievement Award as a Living Treasure from the governor of New Mexico. Pablita Velarde states the following as she reflects upon her life: “My time is coming to go live with the cloud people, when my body will be put in the graveyard at Santa Clara. I hope that my art has made a difference. I hope it will help people remember the traditions and ceremonies of the Santa Clara Pueblo. I hope the stories I have written and the pictures I have painted will teach children and adults everywhere that the Santa Clara are a truly remarkable Indian people.”

Sources Used:

Ruch, “Marcella J. Pablita Velarde: Painting Her People.” New Mexico Magazine, 2001.

Sando, Joe S. Pueblo Profiles: Cultural Identity through Centuries of Change. Clear Light Publisher, 1998.

Velarde, Pablita. Old Father Story Teller. Clear Light Publishers, 1989.

Further Reading:

Dunn, Dorothy. American Indian Paintings of the Southwest and Plains Area. University of New Mexico Press, 1968.

Hyer, Sally. One House, One Voice, One Heart: Native American Education at the Santa Fe Indian School. Museum of New Mexico Press, 1990.

Iverson, Peter. “We Are Still Here” American Indians in the Twentieth Century. Harlan Davidson, Inc., 1998.

Sando, Joe S. Pueblo Nations Eight Centuries of Pueblo Indian History. Clear Light Publishers, 1992.

Watchful Eyes: Native American Women Artists. The Heard Museum, 1994.

July, 2016

Jean Baptiste Lamy Born: 1814 – Died: 2-13-1888 By William H. Wroth www.newmexicohistory.org

was the first bishop and archbishop of the Diocese of Santa Fe. He was born in Lempdes in Auvergne, a region in southern France in October 1814, one of eleven children of Jean and Marie Dié Lamy. His parents were well-to-do town-dwelling peasants, his father serving at one time as mayor of Lempdes. The family was very pious. Another son (of the four who survived to adulthood) also became a priest and one sister became a nun. The third son married and two of his children also entered the holy orders. At the age of eight Jean Baptiste Lamy began attending a Catholic seminary in the town of Billom, run by the Jesuits.

After the Mexican-American War (1846-1848) the treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo gave sovereignty of the territories of New Mexico and Arizona to the United States. New Mexico, as a territory of Spain and then of Mexico, had been since colonial times under the jurisdiction of the bishop of Durango, but after the treaty ecclesiastical authority was transferred to the Catholic Church of the United States. In May 1849 the Provincial Council of the Catholic Church in Baltimore petitioned to Rome for the establishment of a provisional diocese (Vicariate Apostolic) in New Mexico to be headed by Lamy. In July 1850 the Vatican responded and established the Vicariate of New Mexico, naming Lamy as Vicar. In November Lamy was consecrated in Cincinnati, and he appointed Father Machebeuf to be his Vicar-General. Lamy left immediately for his new post, going by way of New Orleans with his sister and niece whom he left at the Ursuline convent in that city. Lamy continued by ship to Galveston where he met with Bishop Jean Marie Odin who assigned him jurisdiction of three more towns near El Paso: Isleta, Socorro, and San Elizario.

Bishop Odin advised Lamy not to proceed to New Mexico but rather to go to France first and bring some young French priests back with him to replace the Hispanic clergy in New Mexico whose moral and pastoral qualities he questioned. While Lamy did not follow the bishop’s advice to go to France, it was the first evidence of a cultural divide between European and native-born clergy that was to arise many times in his career in New Mexico. Machebeuf caught up with Lamy in San Antonio and they traveled together to El Paso and then to New Mexico.

Returning to Santa Fe in 1852, Lamy began a long series of confrontations with the local clergy. One of his chief opponents was the noted Taos priest Father Antonio José Martínez, who became the spokesman for the many complaints registered by the other clergy. One of their first confrontations was over the issue of tithing. Martínez had some 20 years earlier been successful in having tithing abolished in New Mexico due to the poverty of the populace. In December 1852 Lamy among other actions re-instituted tithing and declared that parishioners who did not tithe would be denied the sacraments. He also suspended the popular New Mexico-born priest Father José Manuel Gallegos who was the pastor of the San Felipe Nerí Church in Albuquerque and a former seminary student of Father Martínez. Gallegos was accused by Machebeuf and others of living a too worldly life. Lamy’s action produced a powerful backlash; not only did Martínez come unsuccessfully to Gallegos’s defense but over 900 citizens signed a petition in support of him.

The Vicariate Apostolic of New Mexico was officially made the Diocese of Santa Fe in August 1853. Early in 1854 Lamy went to Paris, then to Rome where he had an audience with Pope Pius IX. Among other subjects discussed with the Pope was the New Mexican confraternity known as the Brotherhood of Our Father Jesus, popularly called the Penitente Brotherhood. This organization was found in nearly every Hispanic community in New Mexico. The Brotherhood was devoted to pious emulation of the suffering of Christ and to charitable activities for the good of the community. The physical penance the brothers voluntarily suffered during Holy Week had deep roots in Catholic tradition but by the mid-1800s had long fallen out of favor among the Church hierarchy in Europe and North America. The Pope recommended that Lamy try to disband the order, but his attempts to do so forced the Penitente Brotherhood to become more secretive in their activities in order to circumvent Lamy’s orders.

In Rome Lamy convinced Spanish priest, Father Damaso Taladrid, to return with him to America and in Paris he found several French priests who were also willing to serve in parishes in New Mexico. Returning to New Mexico in the fall of 1854, Lamy soon came into conflict with Monsignor Juan Felipe Ortiz and suspended him from his priestly duties in Santa Fe. In 1856 he replaced Father Martínez in Taos with the Spanish priest Taladrid, against Martínez‘s recommendation to appoint the New Mexican-born Father Ramón Medina. Martínez recommended Medina because, as he wrote to Lamy, “the people are terribly worried about the priesthood that is not native to the country.”

In the spring of 1858 Lamy established the first parish in Colorado in the town of Conejos and in 1860 appointed Machebeuf to be in charge of the parishes in northern Colorado. In 1866 he sent the French priest Jean Baptiste Salpointe, then at the parish in Mora, to Tucson to be in charge of the parishes of Arizona. In 1868 Machebeuf was elevated to Bishop of Colorado and Salpointe to Bishop of Arizona.

The next year Lamy began construction of the new cathedral at Santa Fe. His dislike antipathy to New Mexican adobe architecture was expressed in the neo-Romanesque design and stone walls of the new cathedral and in the nearby stone neo-Gothic Loretto Chapel, which was completed in 1886. The cathedral was not finished enough to be consecrated until 1895 (seven years after Lamy‘s death), and in fact it never was completely finished. The out-of-proportion three-tiered spires were, thankfully, never added to the structure as planned.

In February 1875 Lamy was elevated by the Vatican to Archbishop of Santa Fe. With the cathedral still far from finished, in 1884 Lamy retired and was succeeded by Salpointe. Archbishop Lamy died in Santa Fe February 13, 1888.

June, 2016

Nina Otero By Priscilla Solis Ybarra, Ph.D. www.newmexicohistory.org

Adelina (Nina) Otero Warren—suffragist, educator, politician, entrepreneur, and writer– was born in 1881 in La Constancia, New Mexico, near Los Lunas. She was the second child of Manuel B. Otero and Eloisa Luna Otero. Both her parents had deep roots in New Mexico, with her mother’s family claiming descent from some of the earliest colonizers of New Mexico and her father’s family dating back to Spanish pioneers of the eighteenth century. The Lunas and Oteros still controlled large land holdings and influenced culture and politics at the time of Nina’s birth. During her childhood Nina enjoyed the benefits of a wealthy and influential family.

Her family experienced the tragedy of her father’s untimely death when Nina was just four months short of her second birthday. He was killed in a land dispute at the age of 23. At the time of Manuel B. Otero’s death, Nina’s mother was pregnant with her third child. Nina and her two young brothers would grow up without their father, but the extended Luna and Otero clans oversaw the well-being of the small family. After a mourning period, the young Eloisa met and eventually married Alfred Maurice Bergere in 1886. Bergere was an Englishman of Italian descent who had immigrated to the U.S. at age sixteen. Eloisa and Bergere would go on to have nine more children, creating a houseful of four boys and eight girls.

The Bergeres educated their children, including eldest daughter Nina. She studied at St. Vincent’s Academy in Albuquerque until the age of eleven, when she was sent to Maryville College of the Sacred Heart in St. Louis, Missouri. Nina returned home at age thirteen, after spending two years improving her language skills and learning lessons about the family and community duties of women current at that time. Once home, she shared her lessons with her younger brothers and sisters and took advantage of her position as an older sibling in order to instruct their behavior. She would continue this role through to the end of her life, with her younger siblings and nieces and nephews always looking up to her for advice. She also took great pride in living on a working rancho and spent many hours on horseback, observing the many activities of ranch life and cultivating her independent spirit. She would later describe ranch duties and traditions in her book Old Spain in Our Southwest.

When Nina was sixteen, the Bergere clan moved to Santa Fe. Eloisa’s cousin Miguel Antonio Otero II had been appointed territorial governor, and he convinced Alfred Bergere to take an appointment as a judicial clerk. The move to Santa Fe also gave the older children, including Nina, closer access to the vibrant society and culture at the capital. She soon became a regular guest at many of the social gatherings in the region, distinguishing herself as attractive, intelligent, witty, vibrant, and respectable. Yet, even with all her charms and wide network of friends and acquaintances, she did not meet her husband until 1907 when she was 26. The young man was Rawson D. Warren, a first lieutenant and the commanding officer of the Fifth U.S. Cavalry stationed at Fort Wingate. He was 35 years old, and his intelligence and steadiness appealed to Nina. They were married at Santa Fe on June 25, 1908, and she then accompanied him to Fort Wingate, near Gallup, New Mexico. However, they did not prove to be a good match, and Nina left Warren after two years of struggling under the strictures of army life and conventional marriage.

Once she left her marriage, Nina returned to Santa Fe to begin a new and independent period of her life. She described herself as a widow and threw herself into local political and social life once again. She started as an observer, as women could not vote, but she soon developed an interest in changing things. However, her early involvement in suffragist politics was interrupted by the illness and eventual death of her mother. After her mother died of heart failure in 1914, her stepfather Alfred Bergere relied on the eldest daughter of the clan to help look after the house and her many younger siblings, the youngest being eight-year-old Joe. With her sister Anita, Nina helped Alfred with the children and the house, although her primary interests lay in politics. Nina proved a good role model for her younger siblings, demonstrating independence even in an era when women could not vote. Her family history and connections made her central to the suffragist movement in New Mexico, not to mention her personal passion for the cause. The woman’s vote was finally approved in 1920 due to the hard work of Nina and many other women like her in New Mexico. Not one to sit back and enjoy a victory, she immediately launched a campaign to be the Republican Party nominee for the U.S. House of Representatives. She ran a historic campaign, winning the nomination but losing the race for the seat by less than nine percent, and the experience established her as a leader committed to the welfare of her fellow New Mexicans.

Her notoriety as a suffragist and the respect she gained from her run for U.S. Congress led to her twelve-year tenure as Superintendent of Public Schools in Santa Fe County. She took this next period of her professional

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

life very seriously and worked hard to improve the schools by recruiting better teachers, closely monitoring school maintenance, and increasing teacher salaries. However, her most significant contribution during this era involved her negotiation of the American impact on what she identified as the Spanish culture. She realized that pressure from the federal government required the schools to Americanize—to assimilate to American culture and values—yet she also realized that local Spanish culture offered a deep history and rich culture in the region. During her time as superintendent, she set about trying to strike a balance between curricular requirements on the one hand and Spanish cultural values on the other. She gained a great deal of respect from parents, teachers, and pupils for her efforts on this front.

Always an educator, Nina wanted to offer the public a permanent record of the Spanish culture in New Mexico that she saw vanishing all too quickly. Encouraged by her acquaintance Mary Hunter Austin, she wrote a book titled Old Spain in Our Southwest in 1936 as a sourcebook for young adults, and she also offered a critique of assimilation within its pages. Her criticism of imperialism is of course not without its ironies, given the history of Spanish colonization of American Indian lands. However, her writings still offer a window on the ways that Mexican Americans attempted to balance the influence of American culture with the traditions that prevailed in New Mexico during the Spanish and Mexican periods.

Nina’s later life found her homesteading a ranch she called “Las Dos” with her friend and companion Mamie Meadors. She and Meadors also ran a real estate agency together, and she remained a visible part of Santa Fe politics and society. For her family, she remained an advisor and matriarch. Although she never remarried or had children of her own, her younger siblings and nieces and nephews sought her out and received her help and advice. They also often visited Las Dos for family reunions, including her sister Estella Bergere Leopold and her “favorite brother-in-law,” the conservationist Aldo Leopold, and their children. She died on January 3, 1965.

Sources:
Otero, Nina. Old Spain in Our Southwest. New York: Harcourt, Brace, and Company, 1936.

Whaley, Charlotte T. Nina Otero Warren of Santa Fe. Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1994.

May, 2016

The First Fort Union – From the National Park Service https://goo.gl/58FpPI

By 1851 nearly 1,300 soldiers served in the New Mexico Territory. They were scattered throughout eleven small outposts, with the headquarters at Fort Marcy in Santa Fe. Unhappy with the performance of troops in New Mexico, Secretary of War C.M. Conrad, commanded Lt. Col. Edwin V. Sumner, 1st. Dragoons, to take control of the territory and “revise the whole system of defense.” Conrad thought that “both economy and efficiency of the service would be promoted by removing the troops out of the towns…and stationing them more toward the frontier.” Sumner’s first action was to relocate the department headquarters and the main supply depot from Santa Fe, “that sink of vice and extravagance,” to a location on the eastern frontier. The chosen site was strategically situated near the junction of the Mountain and Cimarron Branches of the Santa Fe Trail.

Usually, civilians employed by the Quartermaster Department built frontier posts, but Sumner discharged these men and assigned the work to his soldiers. The result was what one might expect from unskilled laborers. Assistant Surgeon Jonathon Letterman commented on the conditions in October 1856:

“The entire garrison covers a space of about eighty or more acres, and the buildings being of necessity, widely separated, causes the post to present more the appearance of a village, whose houses have been built with little regard to order, than a military post. Unseasoned, unhewn, and unbarked pine logs, placed upright in some and horizontally in other houses, have been used in the erection of the buildings, and as a necessary consequence are rapidly decaying. In many of the logs of the house I occupy, an ordinary sized nail will not hold, to such an extent has the timber decayed, although several feet above the ground. One set of the so-called barracks have lately been torn down to prevent any untoward accidents that were liable at any moment to happen from the falling of the building; and yet this building was erected in 1852. The unbarked logs afford excellent hiding places for that annoying and disgusting insect the bed bug, so common in this country, which it is by no means backward in taking advantage of, to the evident discomfort of those who occupy the buildings-the men almost universally sleeping in the open air when the weather will permit. The building at present used as a hospital, having a dirt roof, has not a room which remained dry during the rain in the latter part of September last, and I was obliged to use tents and canvas to protect the property from damage.” Despite the dismal living conditions, the soldiers managed to live there for ten years, and participated in several Indian campaigns. Civil War came in April 1861, and when news reached New Mexico things began to change… See the June edition for the Second Fort.

April, 2016

A Short History of Placitas By Bob Gajkowski

Lying at the foot of Sandia Peak between pueblos to its north and south, the historic Village of Placitas has maintained its unique character through many decades. Even before its original twenty-one founding families received their land grant from the Spanish crown in 1767, native peoples had inhabited this land. Sandia Cave and the surrounding areas contain historic remains from nearly every settlement period of the past ten thousand years. The ruins of San Jose de las Huertas – the original “las Placitas”, a mile north of today’s Village – is now an Archaeological Conservancy site and is considered to be the last Colonial site in New Mexico to be well preserved.

Along the steep lanes of the Village can be found true adobe houses, the San Antonio de Padua Mission and the branches of an acequia, which snake across the hillsides. Many of today’s villagers, descendants of the grantees, carry on the traditions of their ancestors while adjusting to new influences.

During the 1960s and 1970s the “Counter Culture” (“Hippie”) movement arrived in Placitas and its youthful members established several communes. Tawapa, Lower and Little Farms, Domesa and others introduced a new lifestyle. In 1970, along Las Huertas Creek, San Francisco’s Medicine Ball Caravan rolled into Placitas to kick of its international tour. The quiet roads of the Village were inundated with mile upon mile of vehicles. As Blues legend B.B. King’s helicopter circled the outdoor stage in the valley along the creek, hundreds of fans cheered wildly.

Over the years the “ZIP Code” known as Placitas has grown. U.S. Army Generals Dwight D Eisenhower (prior to his presidency) and Douglas MacArthur are rumored to have visited. The Thunderbird Bar became a “go-to” place with entertainers such as Bluesman Sonny Terry and Brownie McGhee, Mason Williams of “Classical Gas” fame and songwriter Kris Kristofferson performing on its stage.

Internationally known poet Robert Creeley lived in the Village and hosted such literary notables as Allan Ginsberg and cowboy poet Kell Robertson (who also lived in the Village). Artists, poets, authors, sculptors and craftsmen had found this “magical” place, drawn by the beauty of its foothills climbing to Sandia Peak and by the historic pull of the mountain village lifestyle.

Placitas continues to surprise and amaze not only those who call it home, but also the many who just happen upon it.

The Old Church and the Village of Corrales By Corrales Historical Society

The History of the Old San Ysidro Church begins in 1710 when Francisco Montes Vigil petitioned the King of Spain for land and was given possession of a tract of land-the Alameda Land Grant-which included Corrales. He was unable to fulfill the conditions of ownership and in 1712 conveyed his land grant to Captain Juan Gonzales Bas. In about 1750, the first church in Corrales, L’Iglesia Jesus, Maria y Jose was situated on the west side of the Rio Grande about half a league (1.5 miles) from an Indian Pueblo called Sandia. It was a long structure consisting of a nave. It was a visita, meaning that the Catholic priest from Sandia Mission Church would visit the Corrales church to celebrate mass, hear confessions and hold communion services.

Today, the Old San Ysidro Church is maintained, preserved and managed by volunteers of Corrales Historical Society using the monies earned from membership dues, fundraising events, donations and leasing income.

The History of the Village of Corrales begins during the first half of the 20th century when the name of the village was changed to Sandoval to honor a powerful local family. But “Corrales” remained in many hearts and minds and in the 1960s the village reclaimed its historic name. As the population near the city of Albuquerque exploded after World War II, the charm and quiet of Corrales attracted many newcomers. Vast farming lands, beautiful vistas, and the small community feel continues to attract visitors. Today the village is a rural-residential oasis nestled between the metropolitan Albuquerque and the burgeoning city of Rio Rancho.

The Village was incorporated as Corrales in 1971 to provide for increased service and control over development. Over the years, the Village has enacted policies to protect its existing rural residential environment. The Village contains the historic Casa San Ysidro, a restored Spanish hacienda from the 1700s, and Old San Ysidro Church, built in the 1860s.

March, 2016

The Beginnings of Southwest Archeology – Story and Photos by the National Park Service

From 1915 to 1929, Alfred V. Kidder conducted site excavations at the abandoned pueblo in Pecos, near Santa Fe, New Mexico. He examined levels of human occupation at the pueblo going back more than 2000 years and gathered a detailed record of cultural artifacts, including a large collection of pottery fragments and human remains.

Establishing chronology. From these items, he was able to establish a continuous record of pottery styles from 2000 years ago to the mid- to late-1800s. Kidder then analyzed trends and changes in pottery styles in association with changes in the Pecos people’s culture and developed a basic chronology for the Southwest. With Samuel J. Guernsey, he established the validity of a chronological approach to cultural periods.

A new archeology

Kidder asserted that deductions about the development of human culture could be obtained through a systematic examination of stratigraphy and chronology in archeological sites. This research laid the foundation for modern archeological field methods, shifting the emphasis from a “gentlemanly adventure,” adding items such as whole pots and cliff dwellings to museum coffers, to the study of potsherds and other artifacts in relation to the cultural history. Pioneering archeologists in other regions of the United States completed the transformation of professional methodology initiated by Kidder.

A first. His Introduction to the Study of Southwestern Archaeology, published in 1924, was the first synthesis of North American prehistory based on professionally recovered empirical data. In spite of his efforts at documentation, Kidder’s conclusions have sometimes been criticized for a lack of integration between his field reports and his later synthesis and interpretation of that data. However, Kidder clearly emphasized archeology’s need for a scientific “eye” in the development of fact collecting techniques and clear definitions.

Pecos Conference. In the late 1920s, Kidder started the Pecos Conferences for archeologists and ethnologists working in the American southwest. In 1927, a temporal system of nomenclature known as the Pecos Classification System was established for use in southwestern sites. Archeologists have since used the sequence, with later variations, to assign approximate dates to dozens of sites throughout the Southwest and to determine cultural ties and differences among them.
Ancestral Pueblo people. In 1936, Kidder used the Navajo term “Anasazi” to define a specific cultural group of people living in the southwest between approximately 200 BC and 1300 AD. This term had been employed by excavators for many of the “ancient people” since the early explorations of Richard Wetherill, and had been used in the work of the Pecos Conferences. The modern preference, more culturally sensitive, is to refer to the people as “ancestral Puebloans.”

Removed and relocated. During Kidder’s studies and excavations at Pecos Pueblo, particularly between 1915 and 1929, pottery and other artifacts were sent to the Robert S. Peabody Museum, Andover, Massachusetts, while excavated human remains were sent to the Peabody Museum at Harvard. In the early 1900s, no archeologist consulted with Native American descendants concerning the excavation of their ancestors’ homes and graves.

Claims not considered. Although Kidder was aware of the longstanding relationship between the abandoned Pecos Pueblo and the modern Pueblo of Jemez, he did not consider that any local population had a claim on artifacts and remains. By a 1936 Act of Congress, the Pueblo of Jemez became the legal and administrative representative of the Pueblo of Pecos, which had been privately owned during Kidder’s excavation.

Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation
As a consequence of the Native American Graves Protection and Repatriation Act (NAGPRA), which requires federal and other museum facilities to inventory, establish cultural affiliations, and publish in the Federal Register any and all Native American human remains and certain objects in their possession, the Pueblo of Jemez made a formal claim on behalf of the Pecos people. This repatriation was primarily due to the efforts of William J. Whatley, the Jemez Pueblo tribal archeologist, who searched through museum records for these remains and artifacts for eight years. The human remains from Kidder’s excavations were returned to the Jemez people in 1999 and ritually reburied at Pecos National Historic Park. In a sense, they rejoined Kidder, as he too is buried on a hillside not far away, close to Pecos Pueblo.Over the last thousand years the Cerrillos Hills, with its tricultural history, have held an unusually important place in the history of the American Southwest. The Cerrillos Hills turquoise and lead deposits played a central role in the commerce and economy of the prehistoric Indians of the greater Rio Grande Valley, and it is probable that these mineral deposits influenced the early Spanish explorations and settlement of New Mexico.

Pottery sherds found in the Cerrillos Hills date the use of the mineral resources from about AD 900, and the Hills are the source of much of the lead that was used for glaze paint by Rio Grande Pueblo potters between AD 1300 and 1700. Analysis of the sherds in the Cerrillos Hills indicated a large portion of them came from the nearby San Marcos Pueblo, which between the middle 1300s and the middle 1400s was the major center of pottery-making in the upper Middle Rio Grande Valley. Archaeological sites present today and associated with the Puebloan mining activities in the Hills include turquoise pits, quarries, lead or galena mines, refining areas, workshops, hearths, campsites, and sherd areas. The Mina del Tiro, on private property adjacent to the CHSP lands, is perhaps one of the most ancient and longest-worked galena lode mines in the New World.

There are numerous sites on the Park lands that are registered with the Museum of New Mexico’s Laboratory of Anthropology, including three prehistoric stone rings and a petroglyph at the summit of Grand Central Mountain.

Read more about the field and history of archaeology here: http://www.nps.gov/parkhistory/online_books/kcc/epilogueb.htm

January, 2016

The early days of US Route 66 in New Mexico

As it moves across the State of New Mexico, U.S. Highway 66 generally follows the region’s traditional east-west transportation corridor through the center of the State along the 35th Parallel. The topography of this route had always presented special challenges to New Mexican road builders even before the coming of Route 66 in 1926. New Mexico’s elevation along this path varies from a low of 3,800 feet at the Texas border to over 7,200 feet at the Continental Divide near Thoreau, creating a roadbed characterized by climbs, descents, switchbacks and cuts. These topographical conditions were especially daunting considering that until the 1930s, much of the road construction was done by human and animal muscle. The Big Cut north of Albuquerque and the La Bajada Hill switchbacks south of Santa Fe are testaments to these challenges–and achievements–of early road building in New Mexico.

Despite considerable progress after achieving statehood in 1912, New Mexico could boast of only 28 miles of hardened pavement. The rest of the roads had surfaces of gravel, rock or unimproved dirt. In addition, many of the bridges along New Mexico’s roads at this time were constructed of untreated timber or creosote coated timber. These less than modern conditions did not stem the increasing traffic flow across the State during the first years of Route 66. The mid-1920s witnessed the convergence of powerful social and economic trends that set the nation in motion as never before. The creation of Route 66 and a Federal highway system in 1926 coincided with the beginning of widespread automobile ownership and the rise of automobile tourism. Aided by private and civic booster organizations alert to these trends, the sparsely populated but visually stunning New Mexico became a major beneficiary of these developments.

New Mexico Route 66 became fully modernized during the Great Depression, as the Federal Government undertook massive public spending programs, many of which concentrated on road building. Between 1933 and 1941, New Mexico was a major recipient of these funds. Starting with the National Recovery Act of 1933, which allotted the State nearly six million dollars for road work, New Mexico received millions of Federal dollars throughout the 1930s and early 1940s for road construction and modernization projects that included new bridges, paving, grade crossing elimination, and roadway straightening.

In the midst of these New Deal efforts, the year 1937 stands out as a milestone in the history of Route 66 in New Mexico. In that year, New Mexico’s section of the highway was significantly shortened and straightened by eliminating the major exception to the State’s east-west course: a giant S shaped detour in the center of the State that ran northwest from the eastern town of Santa Rosa to Romeroville and Santa Fe, and then south (through Albuquerque) to Los Lunas. At that point, the road turned once again in a northwesterly direction toward Laguna Pueblo, where it finally resumed its western direction. The new alignment shortened the road, reducing Route 66’s total New Mexican mileage from 506 to 399 miles, and routed the highway directly on an east-west axis through Albuquerque and its famous Central Avenue. By the end of 1937, the paving of Route 66 throughout the entire State was complete, making Route 66 New Mexico’s first fully paved highway.

The spending priorities and civilian travel restrictions of the Second World War cut short the economic upswing that emerged in the wake of the New Deal improvements. The postwar explosion in travel and transport, which launched Route 66 into its golden age, proved a double-edged sword. Despite heroic attempts to keep abreast of the surging traffic flow of the 1950s through road widening and new alignments, the Mother Road’s days as a national highway were numbered.

Cerrillos Hills State Park  – A Cultural-Historical Overview
http://www.cerrilloshills.org/history/a-cultural-historical-overview/

Over the last thousand years the Cerrillos Hills, with its tricultural history, have held an unusually important place in the history of the American Southwest. The Cerrillos Hills turquoise and lead deposits played a central role in the commerce and economy of the prehistoric Indians of the greater Rio Grande Valley, and it is probable that these mineral deposits influenced the early Spanish explorations and settlement of New Mexico.

Pottery sherds found in the Cerrillos Hills date the use of the mineral resources from about AD 900, and the Hills are the source of much of the lead that was used for glaze paint by Rio Grande Pueblo potters between AD 1300 and 1700. Analysis of the sherds in the Cerrillos Hills indicated a large portion of them came from the nearby San Marcos Pueblo, which between the middle 1300s and the middle 1400s was the major center of pottery-making in the upper Middle Rio Grande Valley. Archaeological sites present today and associated with the Puebloan mining activities in the Hills include turquoise pits, quarries, lead or galena mines, refining areas, workshops, hearths, campsites, and sherd areas. The Mina del Tiro, on private property adjacent to the CHSP lands, is perhaps one of the most ancient and longest-worked galena lode mines in the New World.

There are numerous sites on the Park lands that are registered with the Museum of New Mexico’s Laboratory of Anthropology, including three prehistoric stone rings and a petroglyph at the summit of Grand Central Mountain.