Life in the
Pot Creek Lumber Mill
by David Maes

October 7th, 2017

The Taos County Historical Society will present a free, public program on "Not So Long Ago: Life in Pot Creek Lumber Mill Camps" by David Maes on Saturday, October 7, 2017, at 2:00pm in the Boardroom of Kit Carson Electric Cooperative, 118 Cruz Alta Rd., Taos, NM. This program is in collaboration with the Taos Arts and Cultural Consortium and its 2017 theme "Taos Stories and Legends."

A tall, weathered, wood-frame building sits a few yards back from the main road across from SMU's Fort Burgwin main entrance. Today its sits alone and abandoned, a far cry from its past glory days. It was the Administration Building, the headquarters, for The Pot Creek Logging and Lumber Company.
Starting operations in 1948, the Company grew to become one of the two biggest employers in Taos County with over 200 employees. A unique feature of the Lumber mill work force was a "core crew" of workers who came from outside of Taos County to live and work at the mill.

Many lumbermen came from Arkansas and brought their families with them. They lived in several "camps" on the sawmill site. When the Lumber mill closed operations in 1965, many workers left Taos and moved back "home." A handful of young Pot Creekers married local folks and remained in Taos, raising families and putting down new roots. Today, the camps are gone and the logging trails grown over, but camp memories remain and will be shared at this Taos County Historical Society presentation. Several folks who grew up in the Lumber camps will participate in the presentation, sharing their memories.


by Baldwin C. Burr

Saturday, September 9th, 2017
2:00 PM
Kit Carson Electric Board Room
at 118 Cruz Alta Rd.
The intersection of Central Avenue and Fourth Street in Albuquerque, New Mexico, is the only place in America where U.S. Route 66 crossed itself. From its inception in 1925, until a major realignment in 1937, Route 66 traveled north from Santa Rosa, to Romeroville, just west of Las Vegas, then on west to Santa Fe. From Santa Fe the road traveled south over La Bajada, to Bernalillo and Albuquerque. From Albuquerque, the road went further south to Los Lunas, where it turned west to Laguna, then it resumed the east-west orientation to Grants and Gallup.

This presentation details the history of U.S. Route 66 through New Mexico, from 1925 to the present day.

Baldwin G. Burr is the consulting historian at the Los Lunas Museum of Heritage and Arts and has earned a Bachelor of Arts degree in Art History at the University of New Mexico where he did graduate work in the History of Photography and Museum Practices at that same institution. In addition, he holds a Master of Arts degree in Education.

He is the author of Images of America: Los Lunas, and Images of America: Socorro, published by Arcadia Publishing. His book, Images of America: Belen, won the 2014 New Mexico-Arizona Book Award for History. His current book project is The Historic Ranches of Northeastern New Mexico, to be published by Arcadia Publishing.

As a History of Photography graduate student, Baldwin Burr studied with Beaumont Newhall, pioneering photo historian at the University of New Mexico. Mr. Burr has also made and exhibited his own personal photographs for more than fifty years. Baldwin Burr taught computer science, mass communications and film history at The University of New Mexico, computer programming and advanced database design at The College of Santa Fe, and taught at the Solar Photovoltaic Academy at Central New Mexico Community College. In 1998 Mr. Burr was named Teacher of the Year at UNM-Valencia.
Baldwin Burr is a member of the Historical Society of New Mexico, the Central New Mexico Corral of Westerners International, the Valencia County Historical Society, the Madison County (Ohio) Historical Society, and the Los Alamos Historical Society.He currently serves as the president of the Valencia County Historical Society, and is the secretary of the Historical Society of New Mexico.

This illustrated lecture is part of the Society's participation in the Taos Arts and Cultural Consortium theme of "Taos Legends and Stories "and is presented in partnership with the Taos Arts Council.



The Taos Plaza:
History, Myth and Memory
Dr. Sylvia Rodriguez, (UNM)

August 5th, 2017

Field Trip

Hosted by BGen David A. Torres

Saturday, July 8th, 2017

Brigadier General David A. Torres welcomes the members of the Taos County Historical Society and their guests on July 8, 2017, at 10:00am for an introduction to the deep roots and family history of the Hacienda de los Torres in Arroyo Seco.
The Society will be guided on the property after a brief introductory talk and then enjoy a pot-luck picnic in the apple orchard of the Hacienda.

David Torres is the grandson of Jose Onesimo Valetine “O.V.” Torres who built the hacienda in 1914. Anna and OV had 11 children, all born at the hacienda. The original house is described as an American four-square plan house. It was about 1,500 square feet and had a 40 foot well dug by hand near the house. Beginning in the 1920s an orchard of apples, cherry, pears and peach trees was planted. By the 1930s, Torres owned more than 200 acres in El Salto and eventually became one of the largest land owners in Taos County with property in Tres Piedras and Chama. A 1940s homestead cabin, builtin Tres Piedras in 1918 to house shepherds, was moved to the hacienda in the 1980s.


Today the hacienda covers 55 acres and has evolved to meet the needs of the family. The property has been recognized as historically significant due to its continued use as a ranch, its association with O.V. Torres and the sheep ranching industry in the state-- as well as, its use of the Acequia Madre del Rio Lucero for irrigation. The hacienda was named to the New Mexico State Registry of Cultural Properties in 1999.

David Torres is the eldest son of the late Louis O. Torres and Bernice Torres of El Salto. He has a degree in Mechanical Engineering from the University of New Mexico, an MBA from Pepperdine University and a Master's of Science in Strategic Planning from the United States Air War College. He began his engineering career as an aerospace engineer working for NASA and Northrop Corporation. He is an Assistant Adjutant General for the New Mexico National Guard and a Trustee for Kit Carson Electric Cooperative, Inc. He continues to work as a humanitarian, first responder around the world. Torres has responded to over 30 international disasters around the world and was one of the first Americans on the ground for the 2014 ebola breakout in Liberia. He is married to Kristen K. (Vasko) Torres of Reno, NV and has two children in college.


Pueblo Lifeways & Traditions
with Marlon Magdalena

April 1, 2017

The people of the American Southwest have a rich cultural heritage that dates back hundreds of years. The program "Pueblo Lifeways and Traditions" will focus on the Pueblo People, and more specifically, the Jemez People. Our speaker Marlon Magdalena begins with an orientation on Pueblo languages and cultures before delving into this own experiences as a Jemez Pueblo tribal member. Artifacts and replicas will be utilized to dicuss their usage and meaning in Pueblo Culture, while also explaining the reason why some Pueblo Peoples do not indulge in the sharing of cultural knowledge with "outsiders."

In recognition of the Taos High and Middle School cross-country running accomplishments, Marlon will share the long tradition of running that dates back to the time before modern convenyances like cars ever existed. Runners were used as messengers to carry news to neighboring villages. Even in modern times running is a very important spiritual ritual and way of prayer. The local history of running will be expanded with Marlon's own experiences as a descendant of runners and as a runner himself.

Marlon Magdalena is the Instructional Coordinator for the Jemez Historic Site located in Jemez Springs, NM. He is in charge of educating the public about Jemez history and other Native American related topics. Marlon is a Jemez Pueblo tribal member and resident. He is also a flute maker and performer.


The lecture is in collaboration with the Taos Art and Cultural Consoritum 2017 theme "Taos Stories and Legends".


My Grandpa Painted Pictures
with Barbara Brenner

March 4th, 2017

Barbara Brenner's talk will not be purely academic, but a short biographical piece colored with his paintings and life. Her grandfather was a modest man and often claimed that people would probably mistake him for an "Undertaker". His humor and continued efforts to make Taos a better place were well known among Taosenos. Barbara Brenner was born and raised in Taos at a time when all the "founding" artists were still alive and working in Taos. She had the good fortune to know all of them, although for some she has childhood memories.

Oscar Berninghaus (1874-1952) was an American artist, born in St. Louis, Missouri and a founding member of the Taos Society of Artists. He is best known for his paintings of Native Americans, New Mexico and the American Southwest. Although Berninghaus had little formal training his natural abilities and continued efforts culminated in many awards such as the St. Louis Artist's Guild prize (1924) for his painting Autumn Days and numerous commissions for murals like the Missouri State Capitol, Fort Scott, Kansas post office and others. Beyond his role with the Taos Society of Artists (1915-1927), he was a member of many art ogranizations including the National Academy of Design, New York, NY, the Salmagundi Club, New York, NY.

Barbara Brenner was educated at the Brownmoor School and holds a B.A. from Colorado College. In 1985,she researched, edited and published a book on Oscar Berninghaus.

The Taos County Historical Society presents its monthly, free, pubic program "My Grandpa Painted Pictures" by Barbara Brandenburg Brenner on Saturday, March 4, 2017, at 2:00pm in the Kit Carson Electric Cooperative Board Room, 118 Cruz Alta Rd., Taos. Barbara Brandenburg Brenner is the the granddaughter of Oscar E. Berninnghaus a founding member of the famed Taos Society of Artists. The lecture is in collaboration with the Taos Art and Cultural Consoritum 2017 theme "Taos Stories and Legends".


"Growing Up In Taos"
with Mirabai Starr

February 4th, 2017

Mirabai Starr is the author of the long-anticipated memoir, CARAVAN OF NO DESPAIR: A Memoir of Loss and Transformation. In her critically acclaimed new translations of the mystics and reflections on the unifying teachings at the heart of all spiritual paths, Mirabai uses fresh, lyrical language to help make timeless wisdom accessible to a contemporary circle of seekers.

Daughter of the counter-culture, Mirabai was born in New York in 1961 to secular Jewish parents who rejected the patriarchy of institutionalized religion. Intellectual artists and advocates of social justice and environmental responsibility, Mirabai's family was active in the anti-war protest movement of the Vietnam era.

In 1972, Mirabai's mother, father, and her younger brother and sister uprooted from their suburban life and embarked on an extended road trip that led them through the jungles of Mexico's Yucatan Peninsula, where they lived for many months on an isolated Caribbean beach, and ended in the mountains of Taos, New Mexico. There, the family embraced an alternative, "back- to-the-land" lifestyle, in a communal effort to live simply and sustainably, values that remain important to Mirabai to this day.

As a teenager, Mirabai lived at the Lama Foundation, an intentional spiritual community that has honored all the world's faith traditions since its inception in 1967. This ecumenical experience became formative in the universal quality that has infused Mirabai's work ever since.


Mirabai was an adjunct professor of Philosophy and World Religions at the University of New Mexico-Taos for 20 years. Her emphasis has always been on making connections between the perennial teachings found at the heart of all the world's spiritual paths, in an effort to promote peace and justice.

Mirabai speaks and teaches nationally and internationally on the teachings of the mystics and contemplative practice, and the transformational power of grief and loss. She is available for interviews, speaking engagements, workshops and contemplative retreats. She lives in the mountains of Northern New Mexico with her husband, Jeff Little (Ganga Das). Between them, Mirabai and Jeff have four grown daughters and six grandchildren. Mirabai's youngest daughter, Jenny, was killed in a car accident in 2001 at the age of fourteen. On that same day, Mirabai's first book, a translation of Dark Night of the Soul, was released. She considers this experience, and the connection between profound loss and longing for God, the ground of her own spiritual life.


Guest Speakers:
Rosanne Roberts
and Phil Archuleta
"Women Marked by History"

March 7th, 2015

The women in Women Marked for History are educators, writers, entertainers, activists, heroes (military and otherwise), community and society leadrs, political and government leaders, artists, scientists, historians and cultural preservationists, healers and other medical professionals and business leaders. The lecture will share the stoires of those who wove the fabric of what has become known as “The Land of Enchanment” and how these women intersect in so many interesting and unusual ways. “We are delighted to partner with the Archuletas and their book and the New Mexico Roadside Markers that honor women leaders to celebrate March, Women's History Month” says Ernestina Cordova, President, Taos County Historical Society.

For example, in Taos County, on Route 150 to the Taos Ski Valley, there is a New Mexico Historic Women Marker honoring Virgina T. Romero. The daugther of Jose Pablo and Yeodorita Martinez, Virginia (1896-1998) was born at Taos Pablo. Virginia T. Romero a world famous potter and mother of ten children began her lifelong career in 1918. She supported her family by selling a variety of pots to locals and tourists for use in cooking, storing water and as decorative art. She helped keep the micaceous pottery tradition alive in Taos Pueblo. Traditionally, fired outdoors, these pots are dotted with flecks of mica, a shiny silicate mineral.

Phil Archuleta is a native New Mexican born in El Rito. Since 1970 he has been involved with the manufacturing of the New Mexico Historical Markers and has traveled the state logging each marker in order to preserve this aspect of New Mexico history. Rosanne Roberts Archuleta was born in Philadelphia and like so many of the women in the book fell in love with New Mexico. The book, Women Marked for History she and Phil authored has created great buzz by filling in the details on the stories of behind the name of so many women honored with historical markers.


The Society encourages support through membership.

November 1, 2014

Taos County Historical Society
Free Public Lecture
Food of Dia de los Muertos

By Deborah Gallagher

El Dia de los Muertos (the Day of the Dead) is by far the most significant of the calendrical festivals in the Southwest. El Dia de los Muertos is a time for families of the deceased to commemorate the dead. This day is set aside to commune with ancestors through the serving of a symbolic meal, and to tend to the grave sites of ancestors. Family members will clean and decorate the graves of their ancestors during the day and then return to local cemeteries after dark, carrying the favorite foods of the deceased for a shared meal and a system of offerings. Ms Gallagher will introduce the foods associated with Day of the Dead with brief remarks. She will also provide samples for tasting followed by questions.

Deborah Gallagher is the owner of Tastes Catering. She came to Taos in 2000 and immediately became interested in the local culinary scene.

She has taught at the Taos Cooking School, the Culinary Department at UNM, the Taos Public Schools and the Lifelong Learning Program in the Boulder Valley School District in Boulder, CO.

In a recent Taos News article she said, “I think that culture and food can create a global bond and I want to contribute and strengthen this bond with my knowledge of these matters. I really enjoy sharing my culinary arts knowledge with people who are interested in food and culture.”

August 2nd, 2014

Presented by Derek LeFebre
Historical Society of New Mexico
Office of the State Historian

University of Northern Colorado graduate student Derek LeFebre recently won a scholarship through the Office of the State Historian in New Mexico and a separate award for emerging scholars from the Historical Society of New Mexico.

The scholarship and the society's Myra Ellen Jenkins Award recognized LeFebre for his in-progress research, as part of his master's thesis, on interactions between New Mexicans, Indians and Anglo fur trappers from 1846 to 1912.

He became interested in exploring the social, political and economic history of the northern New Mexico communities of Guadalupita and Ocate after learning through genealogical research that his ancestors were among the first wave of families that settled there during the American occupation of the region in 1846.

What appeared to be a genealogy project became academic research, and inspired LeFebre to enroll at UNC, to tie his work to the "broader U.S. narrative" and answering questions about relationships between multiple cultures.

In addition to oral family histories, LeFebre is sifting through county and state public documents to "enhance background knowledge of individual settlers as well as events contributing to the historical context of these communities in the territorial period."
LeFebre studies history at UNC and has taught in Greeley-Evans School District 6 since 2006. He will teach social studies this fall at Greeley's new dual-language school, Salida del Sol Academy. His research is titled, "Pursuit of Prosperity below the Ocate Mesa, 1846-1912."

June 4, 2014

Taos County Historical Society
Free Public Lecture
The Taos Fiesta: Community,
Memory, and Return to Center
By Sylvia Rodriguez

Saturday, June 7th, 2014

Every year on the third weekend of July the Taos Plaza is roped off to traffic, an antique merry-go-round is set up in one corner, concession booths ring the park, and musicians and dancers perform in the gazebo. A mass, fiesta queen, coronation and procession open the event. Residents of the town and surrounding communities, in addition to returning natives who live out of state fill the plaza. Elders bring folding chairs to sit, listen, eat, and visit. For two days, Fiesta transforms the Plaza from a space for tourists to a space of memory, return and regeneration for people who scarcely set foot there the rest of the year. What is the origin of the Taos summer fiesta and how has it changed over the years? Who keeps it alive and why? Why does it matter and to whom, and what does it reveal about Taos?

Sylvia Rodriguez is a native Taosena and Professor Emerita of Anthropology at University of New Mexico. She has conducted research on Taos and the surrounding region for more than three decades. In addition to two books The Matachines Dance: Ritual, Symbolism and Interethnic Relations in the Upper Rio Grande Valley and Acequia: Water Sharing, Sanctity and Place, she has published many articles on interethnic relations, tourism and the art colony, ritual traditons and conflict over land and water.

May 4, 2014

2014 Honoree Luncheon

"Defining Northern
New Mexico Culture"
UNM Professor Larry Torres


The Taos County Historical Society's Honoree Luncheon will be held on Sunday, May 4, 2014 at 12noon in the Caballeros Dining Room at the Sagebrush Inn. This year's honorees are Rey Torres, retired Taos County Extension Agent and Palemon Martinez, retired Northern District Extension Agent.

Program Speaker Larry Torres is a native of Arroyo Seco and has been a teacher of Spanish, Russian, French, English, Latin, Southwest Studies, Linguistics and Bilingual Education for the past 30 years. He currently teachers at UNM-Taos where he is Assistant Professor of Foreign Languages. Larry Torres is internationally recognized as a speaker and presenter in the field of Global Education in foreign language teaching. Mr. Torres is a writer whose work on New Mexico Hispanic culture has touched thousands by way of the Spanish page n the El Crepusculo section of the weekly Taos News. Larry's weekly article for the Taos News, "Cnautitio" is widely read and enjoyed by Taosenos. His essays have been compiled into several books and numerous awards recognize his accomplishments in education from private industry to state department of education and national societies.

April 5, 2014

Taos County Historical Society
Free Public Lecture
Rural Historic Landmarks
of the Cañon Community
By Shannon L. Papin
of Community Bond Preservation

The Canon rural landscape is a traditional Indo-Hispanic agrarian community that comprises approximately 650 acres in Taos Valley. First settled by ancestral Puebloan people, the Spanish arrived in Taos Valley in the 1500's and settlement expanded with an increased acequia system and population growth. Settlement pattern followed as series of placitas on the sides of the Rio Fernando. Today, the area retains its agrarian identify with numerous small scale farms and two active acequias. Ms. Papin will address this historic background and present findings on buildings such as Our Lady of Sorrows (c.1830), the Old Taos Guesthouse (c.1820) and many others. She will also share history about Canon's structures and sites like Molino gristmill on Rio de Fernando and numerous pastures and orchards.

Shannon L. Papin has over 15 years of professional experience in history, architectural history, historic preservation, heritage tourism and cultural resource. She has worked at the local, state and federal levels and has played a lead role in advocacy for preservation issues on a national level. Her rich and varied work history offers a broad perspective on historic preservation projects. Her recent work has focused on the identification, documentation and evaluation of historic resources including architectural survey, historic structure reports, Historic American Buildings reports and National Register nominations. She has worked on numerous reconnaissance level architectural surveys in DC, Maryland and New Mexico. Ms. Papin has served as the consulting historian on urban and master plans for communities and neighborhoods throughout New Mexico. She has done numerous public presentations of findings and has spoken at state and national conferences including National Main Street Conference and National Alliance of Preservation Commission Conference.

Common Bond Preservation is a full service woman-owned cultural resource consulting firm specializing in architectural history and and historic preservation for communities and organizations in the Southwest and throughout the nation. 

Email us

Phone: (575) 770-0681

PO Box 2447 • Taos, NM 87571