by Dr. Deborah Ragland

Deborah A. Ragland, Ph.D.

Adjunct Instructor of Geology,
University of New Mexico – Taos

After growing up in Pennsylvania, Debbie moved to Texas to launch her academic career at the University of Texas, Austin. She finished work on a B.S., M.S., and Ph.D. in Geology and Environmental Studies at UT, Purdue, Northern Illinois, and Oklahoma State Universities.

After completing her Ph.D., Debbie worked in Research and Development as a Senior Geologist and Consulting Geologist in the oil industry in Oklahoma and Texas. Facing another move to Texas, Debbie semi-retired and moved to Taos where, as luck would have it, UNM-Taos needed a Geology Instructor. Debbie has been an Adjunct Instructor of Geology at the UNM-Taos Campus for 20 years where she has taught introductory, advanced, and upper division geology and climate change classes. She has co-led geology field trips in northern New Mexico and southern Colorado and written geological guides for Grand Canyon and Arches National Parks.


The Geology of Taos County

We are so privileged to live in such a geologically diverse setting. The landscape we live in reflects only the most recent of billions of years of geological processes. Our rock record in Taos begins about 1.7 billion years ago. Small patches of ancient oceans and shorelines are preserved in rocks that suffered intense heat and pressure. What we see today are the metamorphosed remains of these ancient rocks some of which contain the ubiquitous quartzite pebbles and the sought-after staurolite crystals.

Although time is continuous, the rock record often is not. Such is the case in Taos County where the next significant rock exposure is nearly one billion years younger. Small exposures of Mississippian rocks record incursions of inland seas. The overlying Pennsylvanian Flechado Formation tells us a story of shallow seas, swampy coastal zones, and surrounding uplands. Here we find the remains of critters that lived in the seas, and plants that grew on the nearby shores and uplands.

Again, time slips by leaving another gap in the rock record. (Sorry – no dino bones for us!) During the mid-Cenozoic and after another period of mountain building, tectonic activity significantly changed the landscape in northern New Mexico. Magma pushed upwards from great depths causing the inception of the Rio Grande rift. Volcanoes formed on the surface as magma squeezed through faults. As rifting slowed, a paleo-river began cutting through the lava and sediments in the rift valley. Eventually, the present-day Rio Grande cut a path through the rift leaving us with the spectacular Rio Grande Gorge.

In the not-too-distant-past, Pleistocene glaciers sculpted the Sangre de Cristo Mountains leaving beautiful lakes, ridges, and peaks. Weathering and erosion continue as the cycle of geologic processes builds up the land, then tears it down in a never-ending cycle.


by David Caffey

Saturday, March 2nd, 2024

Our March 2 speaker is a welcome guest indeed –– David Caffey, TCHS president back in the 1980s, founding editor of Ayer y Hoy in 1984, and author of When Cimarron Meant Wild, published last April by University of Oklahoma Press. David's latest book has been praised as a masterful tying together of all the strands that made northeastern New Mexico a dangerous and often violent place in the latter decades of the 1800s, leading to the Colfax County War. His work builds on his 2015 book Chasing the Santa Fe Ring: Power and Privilege in Territorial New Mexico, published by University of New Mexico Press, which describes the profound change in land ownership, often amounting to legal thievery, that reverberates in Taos County to this day. David's two books can be purchased on Amazon.


December 3rd, 2023

TCHS To Feature

Theresa (Tessa) J. Cordova, Ph.D.


Independent scholar, Dr. Theresa J. Córdova earned a Ph.D. in American Studies at the University of New Mexico in 2012. She serves as the founder, director and curator of Las Pistoleras Instituto Cultural de Arte in El Prado, New Mexico. Las Pistoleras Instituto Cultural de Arte opened its doors in 2013 as a communal space where cultura, activism and the arts are at the forefront of community identity.

Dr. Córdova also remains active in the continual mission of Sangre de Cristo Liturgies, an organization founded by her father, the late Arsenio Córdova in 1981. Sangre de Cristo Liturgies is devoted to the preservation and recovery of the history, traditions and culture of northern New Mexico and southern Colorado. Sangre de Cristo Liturgies fosters its mission through the use of theatre, music and lectures. Arsenio
Córdova’s family and cast continue his work and his vision. For the past 42 years, Sangre de Cristo Liturgies has presented the play “Los Pastores” in various Catholic churches, universities and theaters throughout northern New Mexico, southern Colorado and in Cd. Juárez, Chihuahua. Despite the passing of Arsenio in 2019, the cast of Los Pastores continues their presentations through the direction and active
participation of the Arsenio Córdova family.

Currently, Dr. Córdova also follows her lifelong passion of cultural preservation by connecting her Chican@ community in Taos county and throughout New Mexico to various digital humanities projects that include the honorable and privileged role of digitization and collection of contemporary oral histories that will ensure a continued presence of our rich cultural and political histories over time and space.



The Haunting Beauty of New Mexico's
Roadside Crosses

November 4th, 2023

Guest Speaker:
Peter Warzel
Executive Director

Historic Santa Fe Foundation


October 7th, 2023

Guest Speaker:
Manager of the
Rio Grande del Norte
National Monument

TAOS, N.M. –The Bureau of Land Management (BLM) Welcomes Eric Valencia as the Monument Manager for the Río Grande del Norte National Monument, located within the BLM Taos Field Office. Valencia will oversee 245,290 acres of multiple-use public lands within the monument that spans across Taos and Rio Arriba counties. The Taos Field Office is in the process of developing a Resource Management Plan for the monument and Valencia will assist in coordinating that effort.

 “We are delighted to grow our team.
The addition of a new manager dedicated solely to this magnificent monument speaks of its importance to New Mexico, our economy, recreation, monument visitors, and the pursuit of conservation. The Rio Grande del Norte has significant national support,” explained BLM Taos Field Manager Pamela Mathis.


The BLM manages more than 245 million acres of public land located primarily in 12 western states, including Alaska, on behalf of the American people. The BLM also administers 700 million acres of sub-surface mineral estate throughout the nation. Our mission is to sustain the health, diversity, and productivity of America’s public lands for the use and enjoyment of present and future generations.


Catholic Religious in New Mexico's Public Schools

August 5th, 2023

Guest Speaker:

Associate Professor & Endowed Chair in Roman Catholic Studies at UNM

During the first half of the twentieth century, it was normal to find Catholic sisters dressed in their flow­ing religious garb teaching in public schools in New Mexico. Well over a hundred sisters taught in the state's education system at a given time; sister-taught schools were especially common in Taos County and neighboring Rio Arriba County.

Seventy-five years ago, a small group of plaintiffs, many of them Presby­terian, sued to end this prac- tice. The "Dixon case", as their lawsuit became known, made headlines across the country. For a brief period following World War II, New Mexico and its "captive schools", as critics called them, took center stage in a fiery national debate about the power of the Catholic Church in the United States, and the shape of the principle of church-state separation.

Dr. Holscher's talk will explore the local circumstances that made sister-taught public education the norm across northern New Mexico, as well as the role New Mexican communities played in defining church-state separation as an American legal principle during the twentieth century.


In my work I think about the relationship of religion, especially Catholicism, and formations of race and empire, particularly US settler colonialism. I am interested In how religious and colonial things have co-constituted one another, historically, and I am also interested in moments when religion is an opportunity for resistance. Religion and law (church-state relations) is one place I go to ask these questions- my first book was Re!igjous Lessons: catholic Sisters, Public Education and the Law jn Mjdcentury New Mexico {Oxford University Press, 2012).

My recent work has dealt especially with Catholic clerical sexual abuse in the context of US "Indian missions"; I have published longer academic pieces on this, as well as shorter pieces online for journals like the National Catholic Reporter and The Revealer. This work has extended into to thinking about religious boarding schools and other residential facilities that managed Native youth. In the American Studies Department, I teach graduate seminars on Secularism and Empire and on Religion, Race, and Revolution, as well as undergraduate courses on Radical Religions & American Transformations and on Religion in New Mexico. I also teach courses on Catholicism, including on Catholic saints, in the religious studies program at UNM.


May 7th, 2023

Guest Speaker:
Dr. Larry Torres

Professor Emeritus

& Catholic Deacon

Professor Emeritus, Deacon Larry Torres is a native of Taos, New Mexico, where he was born in 1954. He has taught all levels of education and retired after 43 years in the classroom. He was professor of French, Russian, Spanish, Latin, Italian and Bilingual Education and retired from both Taos High School and UNM-Taos in 2018. Furthermore, he was a founding father of the School for International Studies in Memphis, Tennessee.

In addition to a teaching career, and garnering various local, state, and national accolades, Larry Torres has published over three thousand articles in newspapers and magazines on many aspects of New Mexican Culture and Religion. His most recent novels include various books like: Los Matachines Unmasked, Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, In the Footsteps of the Hermit, The Children the Blue Nun and Journal of a Cowboy among others.

He was ordained to the Permanent Diaconate by Archbishop Michael J. Sheehan of the Archdiocese of Santa Fe, in June of 2014 and he has been an active Deacon of the Church of La Santísima Trinidad in Arroyo Seco, New Mexico for the last eight years.



March 4th, 2023

Guest Speaker:

Executive Director
Harwood Museum of Art

Taos County Historical Society presents early look at HarwoodMuseum's centennial celebrationsThere's a timelessness about the Taos Valley
and its mountains that transcends mere
centuries. Even so, centennials are cause for
celebration, and such is happening this year as
our Harwood Museum of Art celebrates its
100th anniversary as a steward of Western
history and American art and as the heart and
soul of Taos' artistic life.

In advance of the Centennial kickoff in June,
the Taos County Historical Society is pleased
to present Juniper Leherissey, the Harwood's
executive director, for a look back at the
Harwood's remarkable history and a look
ahead at the seven months of events that will
launch the Harwood into the future.

Ms. Leherissey's talk begins at 2 pm on
Saturday, March 4, in the Kit Carson Electric
Coop boardroom, 118 Cruz Alta Road.
For questions, call Michael Wilson at (612) 743-6546

Juniper Leherissey, Executive Director, has followed a passion for art and creativity back to her hometown of Taos.  She spent many hours at the Harwood Public Library growing up.  After dedicating her career to non-profit arts, Juniper took the helm of the museum in 2019 to make a difference in the community that she loves.

With 26 years of professional non-profit management experience, she has held positions at the Carnegie Museum in Pittsburgh, Henry Art Gallery in Seattle, Santa Fe International Folk Art Market, Taos Land Trust, and other arts organizations.  She was Development Director for the Harwood for 8 years prior to returning as Director.  She holds a Masters in Arts Management from the Carnegie Mellon Heinz School of Public Policy and Management, and a Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology from Reed College.  She serves on the governing boards of the New Mexico Humanities Council, STEMarts Lab, and the MAE Private Foundation.

Juniper loves to cook, dance, and travel.  She often helps with the acequia and gardening on the family farm.  And, whenever possible, explores the beauty of New Mexico’s outdoors with her two boys and two dogs.


Board Elections & "Growing Up In Taos" Lecture

Saturday, February 4th, 2023

Guest Speaker:
Carmen Lieurance

Growing up in Taos

Section V of TCHS By-laws require that Officers and Directors be elected at the Annual Business Meeting. Officer vacancies this year include: President, Secretary and three board members.

Nomination Committee members met several times during December to conduct interviews for the vacant officer and board member positions. The committee recommends the following:

President:  Ernestina Cordova
Secretary:  Judy Weinrobe
Board members:
Donovan Lieurance, Virginia Dodier and Bernadine DeHerrera.



Saturday, November 5th, 2022

Cultural Memories of
Slavery in New Mexico
A Talk by Dr. Enrique Lamadrid

Dr. Enrique Lamadrid presents a PowerPoint presentation - Free for TCHS Members, with a suggested donation of $5 for non-members.

Within the historic legacy of Indo-Hispanic culture in New Mexico is a veiled heritage of captivity, redemption, assimilation and resistance. Nuevomexicanos usage of “cautivos” and “criados” or domestics disguised the bondage of persons who would otherwise be known as slaves.

Enrique R. Lamadrid is Distinguished Professor Emeritus of Spanish, University of New Mexico, a literary folklorist and cultural historian. He edits the award-winning Querencia Series at UNM Press that promotes a transitional, humanistic, and creative vision of the US-Mexico borderlands on all aspects of expressive culture, both material and intangible. His reseaerch includes ethnopoetics,
Chicano literature, folklore and music. His writings explore cultural relations, natural environments, and popular traditions.



Saturday, October 1st, 2022

A Talk by Annette Arellano


The Taos County Historical Society announces its public program for October 1, 2022, at 2:00pm in the Kit Carson Electric Coop Boardroom, 118 Cruz Alta Rd. Taos.

Annette Arellano, guest speaker, will talk about the book her students wrote on New Mexico.  Her students ages 4-5 years produced a story about animals, the Zia symbol and other New Mexico works.

Throughout her career as a teacher Annette Arelliano gained many writing skills to help the growth of her young pre-kindergarten children. She was the founder of the Howl Magazine and The Taos Time which were produced at UNM-Taos.

The Taos County Historical Society is a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization founded in 1952 and dedicated to the recording and preserving of the irreplaceable in Taos County.
Membership is open to anyone upon payment of dues.
For additional information on the programs, activities and history of Taos visit the Society's website at


Saturday, August 6th, 2022

B. C. Hernández:
From Taos to Washington

A Talk by Virginia Dodier

Born in Taos in 1862, Benigno Cárdenas (B. C.) Hernández spent his long life adhering to the principle of the family motto: “While resting, make adobes.” The son of an adobe mason from Chihuahua, B.C. worked at the Ojo Caliente springs, was a sheriff and county clerk, a sheep man, a politico, a U.S. Congressman, commissioner of the Internal Revenue Service in New Mexico, and an organizer for the League of United Latin American Citizens. The town of Hernandez, made famous by Ansel Adams, was named for him. He instilled in his devoted family—who called him “Daddy Dear”—a reverence for public service and a fierce pride in their heritage. Virginia Dodier, a great-granddaughter, will draw from family stories as well public records in her account.

About the speaker

Virginia Dodier is a retired libraries, archives and museums professional. She has lived in Taos since 2018 and serves on the TCHS Archives Committee and Program Committee.


TCHS Honoree Luncheon - May 1st, 2022


Guest Speaker:


Elmo Baca is a downtown revitalization expert and historic preservation consultant with twenty-five years  of experience in the field. His interests include cultural heritage tourism development, arts and
cultural districts and architecture. He is the owner and manager of the Indigo Theater a boutique cinema in the historic Baca building at 146 Bridge Street, Las Vegas,NM.

In 2012 he was a consultant to the Taos Arts and Cultural District and project director for a pilot program “Cuentos de Taos” to engage the community through interviews and storytelling. Among the  sixteen video interviews were: Vincente Martinez, Jim Wagner, Rena Rosequist and Cisco Guevera.

Elmo Baca has served as Board Chair for the New Mexico Humanities Council, numeorus positions with New Mexico Mainstreet, Adjunct Professor at University of New Mexico, State Historic Preservation Officer and Fellow American Academy in Rome. He is a graduate of Yale University and Columbia University Graduate School in Architecture and Preservation.


Saturday, April 2nd, 2022

"Within These Solemn Walls"
The History of New Mexico
District Courthouses
and Sensational, History Making Cases & Events
by Denise Tessier

The Taos County Historical Society announces its program for April 2, 2022, at 2pm in the Kit Carson Electric Cooperative Boardroom at 118 Cruz Alta Rd. in Taos. The lecture will feature Denise Tessier from the Historical Society of New Mexico Speakers Bureau on “Within These Solemn Walls: The History of New Mexico District Courthouses and Sensational and History Making Cases and Events”. This public program is free to members of the Taos County Historical Society with a suggested donation of $5 per non-member.

Denise Tessier is a long-time New Mexico journalist who wrote for the Albuquerque Journal for three decades (1974-2005), the last eight of those years as an editorial writer and editor. Tessier covered court trials for both the Journal and the New York Times. She started writing historical pieces about district courthouses and trials in the 1990s. Author and co-editor of two history books, she hopes to make a book about New Mexico courthouses – her third. Her most recent book for the East Mountain Historical Society is Time Lines of the East Mountains. Long active as a member and newsletter editor for the East Mountain Historical Society (EMHS), she is in ther third year as EMHS President.

Among the sensational and historic cases in Denise Tessier’s power point presentation are: the Taos Pueblo Revolt Trial of 1847, and the Rio Arriba County raid and Terra o Muerto in 1967.



Sunday, December 5th, 2021

TCHS To Feature Professor Emeritus,
Dr. Larry Torres

Crossing the Camino Real:

The Taos County Historical Society is pleased to announce it’s Annual Christmas Luncheon. It will take place at The Sagebrush Inn on Sunday, December 5, 2021, at noon. This year, the attendees will be able to choose from any one of three lunch entrees. They will be able to select from among roast beef with mashed potatoes and vegetables, grilled salmon on rice with a pesto dressing, or enchiladas with southwest side dish trimmings.

The featured guest-speaker this year will be Professor Emeritus, Larry Torres, formerly of UNM-Taos. Larry has just published his latest novel, “The Children of the Blue Nun,” along with countess other pieces features in The Taos News, The Santa Fe New Mexican and on his Wikipedia page.

He will present on the topic of “Folktales from the Camino Real.” Torres will begin by framing his topic within a local fifteenth century ballad that tells of what the original European settlers thought that they might encounter here, in this never-never ‘Tierra de Jauja’. He will challenge the audience to learn how think culturally and symbolically instead of using lineal and literary thinking, by giving them riddles invented by the original sheep herders of this area.

Among the folktales, he will remind the guests of the original readings that were popular in Taos County in the last two centuries. He will reintroduce to them the picaresque characters like Bertoldo, Bertoldino and Cacaseno, Lazarillo de Tormes, Pedro Urdemales, the sayings of Don Quixote, Francis Rabelais’ Gargantua, and the contributions of the Gaucho cowboys of Chile as their stories wended up the Camino Real Trail to Taos.

Professor Torres will tell the stories told by local sheep herders that became his popular “Ole Johnny Mudd” tall tales and he will also reveal the origins of the “¿Habla Usted Spanglish?” characters. All in all, it promises to be an informative and very entertaining luncheon.


"New Mexico: The French Presence Since The 1500s"
With Special Focus on Taos & Northern New Mexico

TCHS Members of the Society are admitted free of charge.
Non-members are requested to make a $5 donation.
Membership forms are available at the check-in desk.

The history of the French, French Canadians, and of other French-speaking people in New Mexico covers the last 400 years, and all areas of New Mexico and the Southwest. Over time, Santa Fe emerged as a communication hub, with three main trails converging upon the city: the Santa Fe Trail, heading north to Colorado and east to Missouri; to the north west, the Old Spanish Trail, ultimately extending to California; and the Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, reaching south to Mexico City.

Through stories woven in the flow of time, the presentation will focus on the presence of the French-speaking people around Taos and Northern New Mexico. Many French and French-Canadian fur trappers and traders lived in or operated from Taos. After the fur trade days and events surrounding the American annexation, the Taos Rebellion, and the Civil War, Taos remained the home of French families already established there, and new entrepreneurs came to work or do business.

Through Francois-Marie Patorni’s talk attendees will meet early explorers, trappers, and traders, Catholic priests, military men, entrepreneurs, and others. Because of their large number, there will be a focus on a few notable or unusual people, and lesser-known stories.

Francois-Marie Patorni is an independent scholar living in Santa Fe. He specializes in the history of the French-speaking people in New Mexico and the American southwest.

After his retirement from the World Bank in Washington D.C., in 2004 he moved to New Mexico. He was an environmental advocate in the Santa Fe area, participated in the developing a vision plan for Santa Fe County, and was president of the Santa Fe Watershed Association for seven years.

Realizing the extraordinarily rich history of the French, French Canadians, and other French-speaking people in New Mexico over the last four centuries, he recently published The French in New Mexico, Four Centuries of Exploration, Adventure, and Influence.




Honoree Luncheon - July 11, 2021


Guest Speaker: Vernon Brown
Grandson of Paul J. Bernal

Taos Pueblo Elders at Blue Lake



by Naomi Sandweiss

Interior of Bent's Fort
Southern Colorado

The Taos County Historical Society continues its free, public programs via zoom celebrating the 200th anniversary of the Santa Fe Trail (1821-2021).

Join us for the presentation “Star of David on Santa Fe Trail” by  Naomi Sandweiss. Both the New Mexico Jewish Society and the History Society of New Mexico are collaborators in this presentation.

Freighters on Santa Fe Trail: Bernard Seligman,
Zadon Staab, Lehman Spiegelberg and Kiowa Scouts

The Santa Fe Trail, celebrating its bicentennial in 2021, has been called the Trail of “Commerce and Conquest”. During this illustrated PowerPoint presentation, Naomi will share the sometimes challenging, dangerous and profitable experiences of Jewish individuals navigating the nearly 900 miles of the Santa Fe Trail, where many eventually made their homes in communities along the way.

Naomi Sandweiss, MA, is a native of New Mexico who is passionate about Jewish history. She is past president of the New Mexico Jewish Historical Society, author of Jewish Albuquerque 1860-1960 and numerous articles in publications including Tablet Magazine. Naomi works as Executive Director of Parents Reaching Out, a non-profit organization, and is the parent of two young adults. In 2018, she traveled 500 miles of the Santa Fe Trail, exploring Jewish history along the way.



by Rick Hendricks

All Roads Lead To Santa Fe

The Camino Real, the Santa Fe Trail and the Old Spanish Trail are a significant part of New Mexico and Taos history. The Camino Real was extended northwatrd out of New Spain in1598 by Juan de Onate. Rick Henrick’s research on the Camino Real focuses upon the period of the Reconquest 1692-1693 through the papers of Governor Diego de Vargas. The advent of Mexican Independence in 1821 coincided with the opening of the Santa Fe Trail and the period 1822-1846 for extensive trade. In 1829 Antonio Armijo led an expedition from Abiquiu to California and this trail becam called the Old Spanish Trail in John C. Fremont’s 1844 published report.

Rick Hendricks, PhD., is the New Mexico State Records Administrator and previously served as State Historifan for nine years. His is a formed editor of the Vargas Project at UNM and has written extensively on the history of the American Southwest and Mexico..


March 6th, 2021


by: Joy L. Poole

One of the first Anglo-Americans to record their travels to New Mexico, Dr. Rowland Willard (1794–1884) journeyed west on the Santa Fe Trail in 1825 and then down the Camino Real into Mexico, taking notes along the way. This edition of the young physician’s travel diaries and subsequent autobiography, annotated by New Mexico Deputy State Librarian Joy L. Poole, is a rich historical source on the two trails and the practice of medicine in the 1820s.

Few Americans knew much about New Mexico when Willard set out on his journey from St. Charles, Missouri, where he had recently completed a medical apprenticeship. The growing commerce with the Southwest presented opportunities for the ambitious doctor. On his first day travelling the plains of the Santa Fe Trail, he met the mountain man Hugh Glass, who regaled Willard with stories of his wilderness experiences. Conducting a physical examination of Glass, Dr. Willard provided the only eye witness medical account of Glass’s deformities resulting from a grizzly bear attack. Willard referred to the mountain man as Father Glass, a testimony to his age. He visited Santa Fe, practiced medicine in Taos, then traveled south to Chihuahua, arriving during a measles epidemic. Willard treated patients in Mexico for two years before returning to Missouri in 1828.

Willard’s narrative challenges long-accepted assumptions about the exact routes taken by pack trains on the Santa Fe Trail. It also provides thrilling glimpses of a landscape densely populated with wildlife. The doctor describes “a great theater of nature,” with droves of elk and buffalo, and “wolf and antelope skipping in every direction.” With his traveling companions he hunted buffalo by crawling after them on all fours, afterward making jerky out of bison meat and boats out of their hides. Willard also details his medical practice, offering a revealing view of physicians’ operating practices in a time when sanitation and anesthesia were rare.

The Santa Fe Trail and Camino Real took Willard on the journey of a lifetime. This account recalls the early days of the Santa Fe Trail trade and westward American migration, when a doctor from Missouri could cross paths with mountain men, traders, Mexican clergymen, and government officials on their way to new opportunities.

Joy L. Poole is Deputy State Librarian for the New Mexico State Library, former Director of the El Camino Real International Heritage Center, Museum of New Mexico, and former museum administrator for the Colorado Historical Society. She also was cofounder of the Santa Fe Trail Association and author of Great Plains Cattle Empire: The Thatcher Brothers, 1875-1945 (Texas Tech University Press, 2000).


March 7th, 2020



by: Wayne Rutherford

The historic Tio Vivo Carousel has delighted children, artists and the general public in Taos since at least the mid 1890's. On behalf for the Taos Lions Club, Chief Steward Wayne Rutherford will present documented and not-so-documented facts about this priceless Taos treasure, along with a few oft-repeated tales coupled with wild speculations. The presentation includes a brief history of carousels; Tio Vivo's travels across northern New Mexico and southern Colorado and further afield; its unique features; a little about the traditional music played at Fiestas; plus how Tio Vivo came to be owned by the Lions Club and the operational and preservation challenges the Club faces. The presentation will touch on some of the famous and semi-famous names associated with the rig; several of the ponies were repainted in the 1930's by members of the Taos Society of Artists.

There will be tidbits and vignettes from the rich oral tradition that centers on this carousel, as well as historic photographs of Tio Vivo and of the many paintings and other artworks going back 125 years.

Wayne Rutherford moved to the Taos area in1978, living at first in a $35 per month three room adobe in Arroyo Seco. He has worked as a carpenter and mason and is an award-winning commercial & residential contractor with hundreds of large and small projects across north central New Mexico spanning 45 years. He has been a member of the Taos Lions Club since the early 1990's and is on his second stint as Chief Steward of the historic Tio Vivo Carousel. He is also the Historian-Archivist for this unique carousel.



Sunday, December 8th, 2019

Featured Speaker: Frank Graziano

Frank Graziano is the recipient of numerous grants and fellowships from the Federal government, universities and foundations. Between 1996 and 2016 he was John R. MacArthur Professor of Hispanic Studies at Connecticut College. Frank Graziano has been an invited speaker at many institutions in the United States and abroad.

His talk “Historic Churches of New Mexico” is an illustrated presentation with an overview of historic churches in the state and surveys themes pertinent to the churches’ current situation. The talk is based upon his research in villages, Indian pueblos, and archives for his recent book Historic Churches of New Mexico Today.





by Cindy Atkins

November 2, 2019

The Fechin House is one of Taos' true historical treasures. Cindy Atkins will provide a look into the factors of Nicolai Fechin (1881-1955) life that culminated in the creation of this masterpiece and offer a virtual “tour” of the home and its architectural details.

Cindy Atkins' career includes decades of experience dealing with the public and providing exceptional customer service. In Taos, she worked as sales associate at Act I Gallery and at Chimayo Trading del Norte. Her volunteer activities include Treasurer and Board Member of the Taos Art Museum at Fechin House.  Also, she served as its Interim Executive Director.

Cindy is a member of the Taos County Historical Society and serves on the Board of Directors of the Taos Arts Council.




Doña Tules Barrelo
Susan Shelby Magofin
& Lydia Spencer Lane

by Van Ann Moore
New Mexico Council For The Humanities

October 5, 2019



The Taos County Historical Society is a 501(C)(3) non-profit organization founded in 1952 and dedicated to the
recording and preserving of the irreplaceable in Taos County. Membership is open to anyone upon payment of dues.
For additional information on the programs, activities and history of Taos visit the Society's website at

The Society encourages support through membership.





September 7, 2019

by Nancy Owen Lewis
Scholar in Residence at School
for Advanced Research, Santa Fe

This lecture is sponsored, in part, by the Historical Society of New Mexico and its Speaker's Bureau.

In the mid 1920's, Elizabeth White and her younger sister Martha came from New York City to Santa Fe, where they built a fabulous estate called El. Delirio or the Madness. It boasted a swimming pool and tennis courts, the first in Santa Fe, as well as a state-of-the-art kennel for their Irish wolfhounds and Afghans. Inspired by their education at Bryn Mawr College, the White sisters lobbied for the protection of Pueblo land, promoted Indian art and gave fabulous parties. They entertained numerous writers, such as Agatha Christie. Their enduring legacy, which includes Santa Fe's first animal shelter as well as their estate - bequeathed in 1972 to the School for Advanced Research - is examined in their illustrated presentation by Nancy Owen Lewis.

Nancy Owen Lewis has a doctorate in anthropology from the University of Massachusetts and is currently a scholar-in-residence at the School for Advanced Research. She has conducted extensive research on the White sisters, as discussed in A Peculiar Alchemy: A Centennial History of SAR, co-authored with Kay Hagan (SAR Press). Her other publications include the award-winning Chasing the Cure in New Mexico: Tuberculosis and the Quest for Health (Museum of New Mexico Press). She has published five articles on the health seeker movement, including "High and Dry in New Mexico: Tuberculosis and the Quest for Health," which received the 2013 Gilberto Espinosa Award from the New Mexico Historical Review. She currently serves on the board of the Historic Santa Fe Foundation, is vice-president of the Historical Society of New Mexico, a member of the City of Santa Fe Public Safety Committee, and a fellow of the Society for Applied Anthropology.



Helen Blumenschein:
Archaeology & History Advocate

by Jeff Boyer


August 3, 2019 - 2:00 PM
Blumenschein Home & Museum
222 Ledoux Street - Taos
(Outdoor Tented Courtyard-Limited Seating)

The Blumenschein Home and Museum celebrates its centennial acquisition of its site at 222 Ledoux Street by Ernest and Mary Blumenschein from "Buck" Dunton. The family owned home turned museum was the Taos residence of Ernest L. Blumenschein, Taos Society of Artists founder and
"broken wheel" artist explorer and his wife Mary Greene, also an accomplished artist.

Their daughter Helen Blumenschein (1909-1989) gifted the family home in 1962 to the community and its Kit Carson Historic Museum now the Taos Historic Museums. In 1966 the building was placed on the National Historic Landmark Register. Helen was a avid amateur naturalist, historian, archaeologist and writer. She was a charter member of the Taos County Historical Society. Among her writings are Sounds andSights of Taos Valley, 1972 and Recuerdos and Early Days of the Blumenschein Family, 1979.

Jeffrey Boyer was born and raised in Taos. His father, Jack Boyer, was instrumental in documenting, saving and restoring several of Taos' architectural treasures including the Hacienda de los Martinez. Jeff Boyer took his master's degree at the University of New Mexico and has worked on the archaeology of the northern Rio Grande since 1987 and was a project director of the New Mexico Office of Archaeological Studies.


The Navajo Code Talkers
of World War II

by Zonnie Gorman

June 1, 2019

The illustrated lecture "Growing Up With Heroes: The Navajo Code Talkers of World War II" is presented by Zonnie Gorman, daughter of Code-Talker Carl Gorman.

"Were it not for the Navajos, the Marines would never had taken Iwo Jima" Major Howard Conner, Signal Officer of the Navajos at Iwo Jima. The Marine Navajo Code Talkers played a vital role in the Pacific campaigns during World War II. They developed a code in their native language that baffled the Japanese and helped win American victory in the Pacific. "Growing Up With Heroes..." results from the 1989 personal journey by Zonnie Gorman to discover that part of her father's life, Carl Gorman, who was one of the original Navajo Code Talkers of World War II. Zonnie Gorman's research, interviews and archiving on the subject of Navajo Code Talkers and World War II created a touching and historical story about the First Twenty-Nine original code talkers. Her talk will include the Navajo Reservation of the 1940's, the U. S. Government policy of Assimilation and how the code was made. Zonnie Gorman conducted the first extensive interviews with the First Twenty-Nine Navajo Code Talkers and one of the Marine Corps recruiters involved with this critical operation.

Zonnie Gorman is a recognized historian on the Navajo Code Talkers of World War II and has served as a consultant to numerous documentaries, museum exhibitions and magazine and book authors. She is the daughter of the late Dr. Carl Gorman: artist, teacher and one of the original "First Twenty-Nine" Navajo Code Talkers, the pilot group that devised the initial Navajo code. She is also the youngest sister to the legendary and renowned Navajo artist, the late R. C. Gorman.

Zonnie has lectured extensively about the Navajo Code Talkers throughout the United States and Canada at universities, museums and a variety of organization's conferences and meetings, as well as several Native American and First Nations communities. She has appeared in, and served as consultant to a number of documentaries, including the History Channel documentary, Navajo Code Talkers, and the PBS documentary True Whispers. Recently, Zonnie was hired to the exhibits team by the National Museum of the Marine Corps in Quantico, VA to expand the Navajo Code Talkers exhibition.

Zonnie holds a Master of Arts degree in history from the University of New Mexico and recently passed her PHD exams in the studies of History at UNM. Zonnie has also worked in Native American cultural tourism and the non-profit sector for over thirty years, She is currently a member of the Board of Directors for the Navajo Studies Conference. She is an alumna of Up With Peoples, Leadership McKinley, and Leadership New Mexico. She has received numerous awards over the years for her work in areas of cultural tourism, preservation and history..


May Honoree Luncheon

Gustavo Victor Goler
Santero & Conservator

Julia Moore
Co-editor of "Taos: A Topical History"

Featured Speaker
Estevan Rael-Galvez, Ph.D.
Principal of Creative Strategies 360
"Manitos Community
Memory Project"

Honoree Luncheon

Sunday, May 4th, 2019
12:00 Noon

Sagebrush Inn Convention Center

The Society's honorees are Gustavo Victor Goler, Santero and Art Conservator and Julia Moore, Co-editor of "Taos: A Topical History."

The featured speaker is Estevan Rael-Galvez, Ph.D. and Principal of Creative Strategies 360 who will deliver a talk on the "Manitos Community Memory Project."

Gustavo Victor Goler was raised in Santa Fe among a family of Latin American art conservators and restorers. Goler's early years were spent apprenticing in his family's conservation studios where he learned wood carving skills by helping conserve and restore 18th, 19th, and 20th century Saints from Latin America and New Mexico. Goler began carving Santos in high school as a hobby, creating a few pieces a year that he would give to family and friends. In 1986, he opened up a small conservation studio in Santa Fe where he specialized in the conservation of Santos.

Julia Moore (1939-2019) graduated from Pomona College, California with a major in art history. She obtained an M.A. in Art History at NYU, Institute of Fine Arts and an M.L.S. in Library Science from Rutgers University. She was an editor at R.R. Bowker and was editor-in-chief at the Whitney Library of Design. Later, she was Director of Textbook Publishing at Harry N. Abrams, Inc. where she edited three editions of Jason's History of Art. Julia moved to Taos in 2004 and was a Board member of the Taos County Historical Society and a Board member of the Harwood Museum Alliance . Julia Moore collaborated with the late Corinna A. Santistevan to shape and edit the Society's award winning 2013 publication Taos: A Topical History.

Dr. Rael-Galvez holds a B.A. from the University of California, Berkeley and an M.A. and Ph.D from the University of Michigan, Ann Arbor where he completed an award winning dissertation "Identifying Captivity and Capturing Identity: Narratives of American Indian Slavery". Formerly the State Historian of New Mexico, Executive Director of the National Hispanic Cultural Center, and Senior Vice-President at the National Trust for Historic Preservation, Dr. Rael-Galvez currently is a writer and founding principal of Creative Strategies 360 a consulting firm which works with organizations and communities locally, nationally and internationally.
Dr. Rael-Galvez will speak on the "Manitos Community Memory Project" a northern New Mexico initiative to recover and revitalize cultural heritage. "Through the creation of community-based digital archives focused on the Indo-Hispano villages of Abiquiu, Amalia, Cerro, Chamisal, Costilla, Dixon, Las Trampas, Questa and Truchas, the project is redefining the meaning of community in a digital age. Manitos connects residents in villages with descendants of those who have moved away", states Dr. Rael-Galvez. New Mexico Highlands University, Department of Media Arts and Technology is the lead institution for the initiative which recently received a grant from the Andrew W. Mellon Foundation.

Annual Meeting & Lecture

Business Meeting & Election of Officers
Followed by Our Monthly Lecture

Featured Speaker
Charles Randall
"Growing Up In Taos"

February 2, 2019

Charles Randall has seen much in his life, all of as a member of the Taos community. He will be speaking on his recollections of growing up in Taos as a very active participant living, working and interacting in the community.

The Randall family started the family business in Twining, now the Taos Ski Valley to supply building materials and dry goods to the gold miners in the area in the early 1900s. When the gold mining petered out, The Randall Brothers Hardware & Lumber business open a store in Taos in 1921, at the very location that Randall Lumber Company occupies now.

Charles, along with his family, worked for the business and eventually he and his brothers ran the business started by his grandfather and father. The business remains in the family and is currently managed by his daughter Paula.

Through the years, Charles has truly been an active participant in the Taos community by being a board member of several organizations, including the Kit Historic Museum and Taos Historic Museums, as well as serving as Master and Secretary of Bent Lodge 42 in the over 50 years he has been a member. He and the members of Bent Lodge in 1962 designed and built the Masonic Lodge on Camino de Santiago, which is still in use today.



by Robert Julyan
This Speaker Is Sponsored By The New Mexico Humanities Council

November 3, 2018

The names of New Mexico's places - its towns, mountains, streams, lakes, and much more - are as interesting and as colorful as the state itself. From Pie Town to Truth or Consequences to Tucumcari to the misspelled names of Albuquerque and itself... there is a story, sometimes colorful, but a story none-the-less. Bob Juylan is an Albuquerque-based author and speaker who specializes in New Mexico history and geography. He is the author of The Place Names of NewMexico, which describes the meanings and origins of New Mexico's named places. In this lively and often humorous talk he shares stories about these names and be available to answer many questions. Bob is also the author of The Mountains of New Mexico, and his first novel, Sweeney, won the 2012 Tony Hillerman Awardsof the Arizona-New Mexico Book Association.

Since 1972, the New Mexico Humanities Council has sought to engage New Mexicans with history, culture, and diverse humanities topics through public programming.

Their Speakers Bureau program offers living history, performances and talks that are imaginative and accessible public programs that lead to a greater understanding of our human experiences and heritage. For additional information visit



Bailes & Fandangos:
A Historical Overview of
Southwest Hispanic Song & Dance

by Andres Armijo
This Speaker Is Sponsored By The Historical Society Of New Mexico

October 6, 2018

Andrés Armijo is from Valencia, New Mexico, and was born to Rosemary Gallegos and Vincent C. Armijo, Jr.

He earned both a bachelor's and a master's degree in Spanish with a concentration in Southwest Hispanic Studies from the University of New Mexico. He began his career teaching in the "Sabine R. Ulibarrí Spanish as a Heritage Language Program" at UNM. Andrés studied and performed flamenco dance for 12 years.

He is the award-winning author of Becoming a Part of My History: Through Images & Stories of My Ancestors (Río Grande Books, 2010), and Por Constancia/So that it may be validated: Family History in the Río Abajo (Río Grande Books, 2014). This volume was awarded a New Mexico Historical Society award of 2015.





by Norma Libman
This Speaker Is Sponsored By The Historical Society Of New Mexico

September 8, 2018

Who are the Crypto-Jews? Why are so many in New Mexico? This presentation by Norma Libman
will trace the history of the Jews in Inquisitional Spain, including how Jews kept their secrets in very dangerous times. The presentation looks at the forces that brought them to the New World and, in particular, the American Southwest. The lecture will examine contemporary Crypto-Jews and Conversos living in New Mexico, and answer some questions: How do they live now? Why do some still keep the secret? What happens to those who want to return to mainstream Jewish life? And more.

Norma Libman is a journalist and educator who has been researching the Crypto-Jews/Converso story for more than 20 years. She has interviewed at least 50 individuals and families in New Mexico and elsewhere and has lectured widely on the subject in the United States. In addition, she has published more than 500 articles on various subjects in newspapers nationwide. She is the author of the award-winning novel Lonely River Village. Ms. Libman is a member and speaker of the New Mexico Jewish Historical Society.



by Paul Bauer

August 4, 2018

119 Cruz Alta Road

Dr Bauer's celebrates the 50th anniversary of the Wild and Scenic Rivers Act by Congress.

In the Society's seminal 2013 volume "Taos: A Topical History", Dr. Paul Bauer authored the article "Formative Epochs: The Origins and Evolution of the Taos Landscape". Editors Corina A. Santistevan and Julia Moore, in their introduction, wrote "The spectacular geography of Taos creates a setting unlike any other. Geologist Paul Bauer explains why and how today's land forms came to be and why the Taos Valley is one of the most dynamic landscapes on Earth. The geology of Taos has had and continues to have a profound influence on the peoples who have made Taos home." His 2011 award-winning book "The Rio Grande: A River Guide to the Geology and Landscapes of Northern New Mexico" provides detailed information on access trails, history and landscape and is an invaluable guide for both historians and casual visitors as well as whitewater ehnthusiastics.

Dr. Paul Bauer is a recently retired principal geologist and former associate director at the New Mexico Bureau of Geology & Mineral Resources at New Mexico Tech. He received a Ph.D. in geology from NM Tech in 1988. He subsequently served as manager of the state's Geologic Mapping Program for 12 years, and was program coordinator for the New Mexico Decision-Makers Field Conference for 10 years, a program designed to bridge the gap between earth scientists and policy makers. Since his first Taos Box trip in 1980, he has spent much of the last 30+ years investigating the geology and hydrogeology of north-central New Mexico,with an emphasis on the Taos County region. He has led many field trips to the area, including educational whitewater rafting tours.




by Christine St. Vrain-Fischahs

June 2, 2018
2:00 PM
Kit Carson Coop Boardroom
119 Cruz Alta Road

Christine St. Vrain-Fischahs (pronounced "fish-us") is a retired paralegal currently living in Los Alamos, NM with her husband, dog, cat and two birds.

She is the 4th-great niece of famed Mountain man, fur trader, and entrepreneur Ceran St. Vrain and the 3rd gr-granddaughter of Marcellin St. Vrain. She began her genealogy quest in 1999, devoting many hours to research (on a non-professional basis) accumulating an in-depth history of her St. Vrain family and its influence in the western United States. She has organized two family reunions: one at Bent's Old Fort in Colorado and one in St. Louis, MO. She is organizing the next one in conjunction with the Santa Fe Trail Association's celebration of the 200th anniversary of the trail to be held at Bent's Old Fort Sept. 22-26, 2021.

2016 marked Christine's first year of public speaking beginning with her presentation "Ceran St. Vrain is New Mexico True" at the Santa Fe Trail Descendant's conference in Las Vegas, NM. Among others, she has been delighted to give this presentation to the Stephen Watts Kearny Chapter of the Daughters of the American Revolution (of which she is 1st Vice Regent), the Santa Fe Trail Association, the Old Spanish Trail Association, Fort Union and Friends, and the New Mexico Genealogical Society.

Every generation produces exceptional men and women that inspire us. In the 1800s, Ceran St. Vrain proved to be one of these unique men. He lived his adult life in the Southwest and left an enduring influence that can still be seen in the trail ruts, old centers of trade, and the mills he helped build - one of which still stands as a monument to his legacy. From fur trapping and trading, he made advancements in business, politics and military endeavors that established him as a leading pioneer of the early west. Join Christine St. Vrain-Fischahs as she takes us on a journey to the past to learn about the life of Ceran and discover the legacy he left behind.

(Lecture Video)

The featured speaker at the Honoree Luncheon is Henrietta Martinez Christmas, genealogical and historical researcher and New Mexico historian. The title of her talk is
"A History of Taos County Through Genealogy".

Henrietta Martinez Christmas a native New Mexican is a well-known genealogical and historical researcher. She descends from eleven of the soldiers that came with Onate in 1598. She has written several books which relate to New Mexico's small towns and history and over 160 articles about New Mexico's Colonial families. She is a long-time member and current President of New Mexico Genealogical Society. She has worked with the History Museum of New Mexico, The Albuquerque Museum, The El Camino Real Heritage site in preparing exhibits and researching historical sites. She is a frequent contributor to author's book in terms of researching biographies of individuals. She works with a group that honors historic women in New Mexico for the NM Historic Marker Program. Honored by the DAR for historic preservation, she has extracted and transcribed over 50 books which consist of hundreds o thousands of records. Her latest award-winning book The Genealogy Checklist won two awards in 2017. Her talk "A History of Taos County thruogh Genealogy" examines the ususal and unusual events, landdowners, censue and timelines of Taos County to see how one is connected to the history of this area.

Honoree Trudy Healy is a descendant from several generations of Ranchos de Taos family. Her father was Juan Valerio who taught her the value of acequia and the need to protect water. He set a great example with community service and was mayordomo of the acequia and commissioner of Taos County for two terms. Trudy's mother was Mercedes Gonzales Valerio and was responsible for her love of art. Trudy opened a gallery Milagro de Taos Gallery in 1988 and represented many artists among them the well-known Jim Wagner.

Honoree Ed Healy was a collector of Jim Wagner's art and had visited Taos since the 1970's. He worked as a CPA and an instructor at the University of Maryland and the Pentagon. His great-grandfather founded Utah Construction, which headed the six companies that constructed the Hoover Dam and built water infrastructure for the Empire State Building. Ed who was living in Maryland had grown up in the West. His interest in Jim Wagner's art led Ed into the gallery and after meeting Trudy fell in love with her and asked her to marry to him. Together they founded the private Healy Foundation, twenty-five years ago, that focuses primarily on land and water issues and projecdts but also supports education, arts, film and programs for the elderly. They live north of Taos on a place they named Rancho Milagro. The Arroyo Hondo River runs through the ranch as does the Acequia Atalaya.

Charles (Corky) C. Hawk is a Colorado native with a lifelong interest in the history of the West. He received his BA in economics from Yale University and his Juris Doctor from the University of Michigan Law School. His special interest is pioneer roads and trails. He is a charter member of the Santa Fe Association and has studied historic trails in Wyoming, Colorado, Kansas and New Mexico. He contributed the essay "Camnios Antiguos: Trails Into the Taos Valley" for Taos: A Topical History Corky is a member of the Taos County Historical Society and served as a Board member and chair of the historic preservation committee. Corky is instrumental in the preservation of the Duran Molino.




by Conchita Thornton Marusich

April 7, 2018

Conchita Thornton Marusich's lecture on her great-great-grandfather, William Wolfskill who was a trailblazer of the Santa Fe Trail in 1822 and the Old Spanish Trail in 1830. She will focus primarily on William's early life as a trapper and intrepid adventurer as he made his way from Missouri to Santa Fe and Taos before ultimately going on to California. Joined by her husband Rich, she will include interesting stories from their research travels when they retraced William Wolfskill's footsteps through Kentucky, Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, New Mexico, Utah, Nevada and California. They met William Wolfskill in his environment which meant going to where he had lived, trapped and traveled.

Conchita Thornton Marusich has been interested in storytelling from a young age when her mother recounted tales about their ancestor, William Wolfskill, an important figure in early California history. Conchita Marusich worked as producer for Disney Educational Production and won numerous awards including CINE Golden Eagle. She also worked on shows for PBS, the Discovery Channel and the Home and Garden Channel. Conchita is a graduate of Vassar College and received her masters from Occidental College. She is a descendant of the Wolfskill, Lugo, De Pedrorena, Juarez and Estudillo families who settled in Alta California while it was still part of Mexico. Conchita is an active member of the Old Spanish Trail Association (OSTA) and is currently the president of the OSTA "Descendants and Travelers of the Trail" Chapter.


At her presentation Conchita will also make available her book In Search of William Wolfskill: Journey to Find the Legacy. The book combines two stories. The first part of every chapter is William's story, which recounts his amazing life. The second part of every chapter tells about Conchita's journey of discovery as she learned more about her ancestor. Throughout the book, Conchita includes information that helped her dig deeply into her family's roots and find pieces of her genealogical puzzle. She also includes tips for the readers who are investigating their ancestors.


New Mexicans, Trails
& Commerce in the 19th Century

by Susan Calafate Boyle

March 3rd, 2018

Dr. Susan Boyle's presentation focuses upon the international network of trails in New Mexico both before and after 1821 with the opening of the Santa Fe Trail. Dr. Boyle will share the impact of trails on New Mexico society including an examination of New Mexican merchants like Felipe Chavez (1834-1906). Her talk explores what types of merchandise were part of the commerce and how these goods were transported along the 19th century.

Susan Calafate Boyle received her doctorate in American Social History from the University of Missouri-Columbia. She has been a member of departments of history at several universities and colleges, a National Park Service employee, a Fulbright scholar in Argentina and a teacher for UNESCO sponsored post-graduate courses in Argentina. Dr. Boyle continues to work as an independent scholar focusing on socioeconomic developments in New Mexico during the 19th century as well as the history of El Rito, a small community in northern New Mexico's Rio Arriba County. Dr. Susan Boyle is the author of Los Capitalistas: Hispano Merchants and the Santa Fe Trail, Albuquerque, University of New Mexico Press, 1997.


February 3, 2018

Once a year, on the first Saturday of February, the Taos County Historical Society holds its Annual Meeting to report on the state of the Society and elect officers for the coming year.

The future is bright and will hopefully see the Society, in partnership with the Taos County Commission, open a museum dedicated to the people and incredible history of Taos County, northern New Mexico and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains.

The Business portion of the Annual Meeting will be followed by the election of Society officers. The slate of candidates will be presented by Jennifer Felsberg.

Special Guest Speaker: Stephanie Valerio-Rael will present her lecture, "Growing up in Taos," as part of the Annual Meeting.


Life in the Pot Creek
Lumber Mill Camps
by David Maes

(Complete Lecture Transcript)

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