TCHS Receives Grant Award from New Mexico Historical Records Advisory Board NMHRAB)

The Archives and Library Committee of the TCHS will work on the project “Taos County Society Digital Programs” with a grant award of $3,050 from the NMHRAB. The project will digitize the Society’s collection of VHS tapes by purchasing equipment, supplies and providing a learning stipend to a UNM-Taos student intern. Management of the project will engage Maggie Duval and Paul Figueroa, TCHS members, in the process and provide the student intern with a learning experience in technology and digitization. The project anticipates completion by the December 21, 2023.

From 1991-2000 over 100 VHS tapes recorded the Society’s programs. Topics ranged from art, music and literature to folklore and history. Speakers included Marc Simmons, Sylvia Rodriguez, Larry Torres, Jenny Vincent and Jerry Padilla among others. The VHS format requires an update to a digital format for preservations and access. “It is crucial to digitize VHS tapes before they totally deteriorate.

This conversion will provide greater access through our archives” states Maggie Duval of the Taos County Historical Society. Title and credits will be added to each video and uploaded to the TCHS YouTube channel for viewing by members, the public and researchers. “The expansion and maintenance of the Society’s archives is a valuable resources for the public and our members to learn more about the multi-cultural history and heritage of the Taos area” says Paul Figueroa, Co-chair of the Society’s Archives and LibraryCommittee. “We are grateful to the New Mexico Historical Records Advisory Board for the financialsupport of this preservation and educational project.”


Members of the Historical Society’s Preservation Committee applied two coats of mudding to the Talpa Torreon this past July.  The 200-year-old historic structure was showing its age.  The mud coats that covered the torreon’s  200-year-old walls had all but washed off, leaving the adobes exposed.  Members of the Preservation Committee worked with two professional mud plasterers applying a first/base thick coat of mud, then after some days drying, applied a second “sealer” coat.  Photos attached show Preservation Committee members working on this many-day project under the hot July sun. 

Preservation Committee members include David Maes, Charles “Corky” Hawk, Paul Figueroa, and Jack Barret.  Not shown in the photos is the other Committee member, Mark Henderson. Gail Wendorf, owner of the adjacent house once connected to the torreon, also helped with the project.   The photo of the “work gang” standing in front of the freshly plastered torreon include:  Paul, David, Jack, Corky, and plasterer Floyd Gomez. 
The Preservation Committee have been working with the Torreon’s owner, Attorney Alan Maestas, toward restoration to the torreon’s original condition. 


Dendrochronology tests on the torreon vigas and lentils conductecd in 2015  reveal that 10 vigas and lentels date to 1836; one viga dates to 1824, and another viga dates to 1822. These are “outer ring” dates, meaning the vigas were cut during the years cited.  
A Spring 2000  Ayer Y Hoy article by Peter Mackaness discusses the historical importance of the Talpa Torreon, and of other torreones strategically placed throughout Taos Valley in the 1700 and 1800’s. Only two torreones remain in Taos County.  The other Taos torreon is located in El Prado. 

David Maes
August, 2020




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