Shortly afterwards Luna family made claim to the grant
and took possession and a small settlement was formed. In 1808,
Antonio Jose Luna was born, who eventually would become a civic and
political leader. Often referred to as the father of
Los Lunas, he grew up to marry Isabella Baca, daughter of a prominent
family from Belen, a community ten miles south of
Los Lunas. The tradition continued as Antonio and Isabella’s son
also married into a prominent family. The Lunas family dominated
Valencia County for almost a century. Through their influence the
county seat was moved from
Los Lunas in 1876.
When the Santa Fe Railroad arrived in
the 1880's, a depot was built that facilitated the movement of livestock,
hay, general merchandise, and passengers to and from the developing city.
More transportation arrived in the city
when the first alignment of
came through in 1925. Before long a number of services cropped up in the
Los Lunas area has numerous opportunities to peek into the past, not
only the "recent” past of vintage
but also into the history of prehistoric
and Spanish Explorers.
Los Lunas be sure to check out
Luna-Otero Mansion, dating back
to 1881. Preserved today serving as a fine restaurant, the Mansion
is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Steaks, great
hot chili, and exquisite deserts are its claim to fame for those with a
ravished stomach. For others, who may be looking for an altogether
different experience, the old mansion is said to be haunted by Josefita
Otero. Believe it or not.
In the downtown area there are several
historic structures and
era buildings including the town offices located in Old
cabins, Teofilo’s Restaurant that dates back to 1912, the White Café, the Huning Mercantile established in 1860, the San Antonio Mission built
in 1790, and Sam's Tires - a 1928 Route 66 gas station.
While not on
Route 66, a short six mile side trip south on US-85/NM-314 to
Hill is well worth the drive. Dominating the landscape between Los Lunas and
landmark along the El Camino Real (the Royal Road), has been used as a
religious site, a refuge from hostile enemies and floods, and as an
observation point since prehistoric times. More than 1,800 petroglyphs have been recorded on the hill, some of which date back more
than 2,000 years. At the foot of the hill is a large steel sculpture
called La Puerta del Sol (Gateway to the Sun) is intended to reflect the
diverse cultures of the region. The sculpture is the beginning of a
10-acre park which will include pathways, picnic tables, and
telling the story of Cerro del Tomé and the people of Tomé. A
self-guided tour of the ancient petroglyphs, sculpture and Camino Real
history is currently available.
Nearby, the Tomé
Immaculate Conception Church in has an extensive
museum, with a history exhibit and hand-carved wood saints.
is the oldest Hispanic settlement in Valencia County, established in 1739.
Another four miles south of
Tomé, is the old city of
where you can see the
Museum in one of the original railroad depots. In 1910, the depot
housed on of the famous
Los Lunas, you will head west on
Highway 6 to continue your journey along the
Mother Road. This stretch, passing through numerous rock mesas in the Rio Puerco Valley on your way to
is one of the most beautiful on all of
of America, updated September, 2010.
and Indian Reservation Etiquette