Historic Sites in New Mexico


St. Augustine Church, Isleta Pueblo, New Mexico

St. Augustine Church, Isleta Pueblo, New Mexico

Isleta Pueblo – Isleta Pueblo was established prior to the 1598 Spanish occupation of New Mexico and was burned during the Spanish attempt to reconquer the area following the 1680 Great Pueblo Revolt. During the 18th and 19th centuries, Isleta became one of the largest and most prosperous pueblos in New Mexico and was noted for its crops and orchards. The oldest section consists of adobe buildings around a central plaza surrounded by cultivated lands. One of the pueblo’s more notable buildings is the adobe Church of San Augustín (1709-1710), one of the two oldest surviving mission churches in New Mexico. Isleta Pueblo is south of Albuquerque, New Mexico, off I-25 in Isleta.

José de la Laguna Mission and Convento – Constructed between 1699 and 1701, this one story adobe church is a well-preserved example of a Spanish Colonial mission. The interior has a beautiful 18th-century carved wood altar screen with spiral pillars, a hand-carved pulpit and sounding board, an adobe altar and a rare early 17th-century painting on buffalo hide of San José.The church was rehabilitated in 1932 and today is a functioning parish church. San José de la Laguna Mission and Convento is 40 miles west of Albuquerque, New Mexico, off I-40 in Laguna (Laguna Pueblo).

Kit Carson House – Kit Carson was a trapper and a mountain man of great renown. He served as an army guide, an Indian Agent and was a highly celebrated Army officer during the Indian Wars. The one-story adobe house, built in 1825, is in the Spanish Colonial style in the shape of a “U” with a front portal and wooden beams. The interior consists of nine rooms, seven of them original, which surround an open patio with a traditional Mexican mud oven and a well. The Kit Carson House, a National Historic Landmark , is ½ block east of the Taos Plaza on Kit Carson Rd. in Taos, New Mexico.

Kuaua Ruin (Coronado State Monument) – The prehistoric Pueblo Indian village of Kuaua was one of many large settlements established during the Classic Period (1325 to 1600 A.D.) of Anasazi Culture. The site, located on the west bank of the Rio Grande, includes the remains of 1,200 interconnected adobe-walled surface dwellings and storage rooms, six kivas and three ceremonial plazas. The design is considered to be a typical village plan of the period. Also located on the site is a Spanish Pueblo Revival style museum. Kuaua Ruin (Coronado State Monument) is 20 miles north of Albuquerque, New Mexico, on NM 44 (two miles northwest of Bernalillo).

Our Lady of Sorrows in Las Vegas, NM Plaza.

Las Vegas Plaza  – Las Vegas Plaza, officially laid out in 1835, is the site where Brigadier General Stephen Watts Kearney proclaimed New Mexico a U.S. territory in 1846. The square plaza surrounded by simple adobe buildings served as an open-air supply depot and market place on the Santa Fe Trail. Impressive trade establishments were built around the plaza in the 1860s to 1870s. In the late 19th century, outlaws and lawmen came to Las Vegas, including Jesse James, Doc Holliday and “Billy the Kid” who was captured and placed in the Las Vegas Plaza jail by Sheriff Pat Garrett. Several of the original buildings still exist on the plaza including the Dice Apartments, originally the house on whose roof General Kearney stood to make his proclamation to the citizens of Las Vegas. Today the plaza is a city park with walkways and a Victorian bandstand. Las Vegas, New Mexico, is 20 miles south of Watrous on US 25.

Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo  –  Previously known as the San Juan Pueblo until returning to its pre-Spanish name in November 2005, the Tewa name means “place of the strong people.” Founded around 1200 A.D., the pueblo became the site of the first Spanish colony in 1598, when Conquistador Don Juan de Oñate established the first Spanish capital of the new province of Santa Fe de Nuevo Mexico near the pueblo. He renamed the pueblo San Juan de los Caballeros after his patron saint, John the Baptist and was shortly afterward named the governor of the new province. Near here, Onate established the first capital called San Gabriel de los Espanoles. When the Pueblo Revolt erupted, the Pueblo people destroyed every trace of the Spanish on their lands, including the San Gabriel settlement. Today, the pueblo is the headquarters of the Eight Northern Indian Pueblos Council and is called home to some 3,500 residents. Guests are welcome during certain feast days but, there is a fee for photos, videos, or sketching. The community is located about 25 miles north of Santa Fe, New Mexico. Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, P.O. Box 1099, San Juan Pueblo, New Mexico 87566; 505-852-4400.

Palace of the Governors – The Palace of the Governors, the oldest extant public building in the United States, was constructed c. 1610 by Don Pedro de Peralta, the first Spanish royal governor of New Mexico and the founder of Santa Fe. The low one-story adobe building faces the open Santa Fe Plaza and has a carved portal (open porch) supported on wooden posts that runs the length of the building. The Palace served as the territorial capital and governor’s residence during the Spanish and Mexican regimes and the seat of American government, which began in 1846. Today it is part of the Museum of New Mexico. The Palace of the Governors, a National Historic Landmark, is on E. Palace Ave. on the Plaza in downtown Santa Fe, New Mexico. The Palace contains a museum with exhibits on the history and cultures of New Mexico.

Pecos Pueblo Mission

Pecos Pueblo Mission, Pecos National Park, NM.

Pecos National Historical Park – The large mounds, restored kivas and stone and adobe ruins of Pecos National Historical Park mark the location of Pecos Pueblo and an adjacent Spanish mission complex. The pueblo was an important center for trade between Pueblo farmers and nomadic Plains Indians. The first mission complex, built in 1621, included the largest of New Mexico’s mission churches. This church was destroyed during the 1680 Great Pueblo Revolt. A smaller church with a larger convento (mission quarters) was built after the Spanish reconquest in 1692. The mission declined in the 18th century, and the remaining Pecos Indians emigrated to Jemez Pueblo, where their descendants live today. Pecos National Historical Park, administered by the National Park Service, is two miles south of Pecos, New Mexico, on NM 63. Open daily.

Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument  – Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument, in central New Mexico, protects the sites of three Pueblos and the ruins of three Spanish missions near Mountainair, New Mexico. The site protects the remains of the San Buenaventura and San Isidro churches at Gran Quivira, the Mission of San Gregorio at Abo, and the Quarai Church at the Pueblo of Quarai. Severe drought, Apache raids, and an epidemic forced the abandonment of the pueblos in the 1670s. Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument is administered by the National Park Service. The Visitors Center is in Mountainair, New Mexico, one block west of the junction of US 60 and NM 55. Admission is free. Self-guided tours are available.

San Felipe de Neri Church – San Felipe de Neri was built in 1793 to replace the original 1706 mission church. The adobe church is built in the traditional colonial style with Spanish overtones and mixtures of 18th and 19th century decorative and building elements. The interior has wood paneled wainscoting, a stamped metal ceiling, an elaborate altar and plaster walls painted to resemble marble. San Felipe de Neri Church presents an interesting combination of the old and new building traditions of New Mexico. San Felipe de Neri, an active parish church, is located in Old Town Plaza in downtown Albuquerque, New Mexico.

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