Corina Santistevan
Archival Collection


Summary prepared by
Virginia Dodier,
November 30, 2022

The Taos County Historical Society (TCHS) has been awarded funding from the Northern Rio Grande National Heritage Area grant program to support processing this collection. As part of our commitment to the community we seek to employ a student intern from University of New Mexico-Taos to work with Archival Committee volunteers. The student’s educational goals and vocational training will be emphasized and s/he will work closely with the Supervisory Archivist. The internship is a paid position.


Corina Santistevan (1919-2016) was an educator, author, researcher, archivist and preservationist. Born and raised in Taos County, she was one of the most knowledgeable authorities on Taos history. She was a charter member in 1953 of the Taos County Historical Society (TCHS). In 1997 she embarked on her most ambitious enterprise as project director, oversight historian and coeditor (with Julia Moore) of Taos: A Topical History (2014), for which the TCHS received the Lansing Bloom Award from the Historical Society of New Mexico. After her death, the family donated Corina Santistevan’s personal collection of manuscripts, research files, records, clippings, photographs, videotapes and books to the TCHS.

Archival Committee volunteers will work with a student intern to achieve the following: preserve original order; arrange and describe to folder level using DACS data elements; clean and rehouse using archival standard storage materials; prepare a finding aid and post it on the TCHS website; encode the finding aid using EAD3 for online discoverability.

One University of New Mexico-Taos semester (16 weeks), to be completed by December 2023.
Project Staff

Paul Figueroa, co-chair of the Archival Committee, is the volunteer Project Director. He is a retired museum director with more than 30 years’ experience in museum administration, planning, preservation and public programs. Virginia Dodier, co-chair of the Archival Committee, is the volunteer Supervisory Archivist. She is a retired libraries, archives and museum professional. She is experienced in supervising student interns, and has participated in several federal and state grant-funded projects. Volunteer members of the TCHS Archival Committee will provide general support and assistance.



San Jose de Gracia
de Las Trampas

Home of Alex & Lupe Lopez

June 29, 2019

We depart from Taos Visitor Center between 9:30-9:45am and carpool to the small mountain community of Las Trampas (the traps, or snares). Our initial stop and tour is at one of New Mexico's three surviving 18th century churches San Jose De Garcia De Las Trampas. Next we are welcomed by Alex and Lupe Lopez to their early 1800's family home where they will share its history.
We will have a pot-luck picnic on the grounds of their home



Guided by Kathleen Hendrickson
Southwest Detours
Saturday, July 7th, 2018Plaza Hotel & Range Cafe

Montezuma Castle & Dawn Light Sanctuary


2017 Honoree Luncheon

Nick Branchal
Norbert Martinez Jr.
For Continuing the Traditions
of Mariachi Musicians in Our Schools

Featured Speaker
Nicolasa Chavez
Curator of the Museum of Internation Folk Art
in Santa Fe
Flamenco From Spain
to New Mexico

Honoree Luncheon
& Silent Auction

Sunday, May 7th, 2017
12:00 Noon

Old Martina's Hall
Ranchos de Taos

View Auction Items

The Society's honorees are Nick Branchal and Norbert Martinez Jr., for continuing the tradition of mariachi musicians in our schools. The featured speaker is Nicolasa Chavez, Curator, the Museum of International Folk Art in Santa Fe, NM. Her presentation will be on "Flamenco: From Spain to New Mexico". A silent auction featuring locally donated items begins at 11:00am.

Luncheon reservations must be completed by
April 28, 2017, with a buffet menu of $25 for
Taos County Historical Society members
and $30 for non-members. Buffet menu consists of cheese enchiladas, spanish rice, beans, grilled marinated boneless chicken thigh, house salad, chocolate mousse tart, coffee and tea. Each plate is guaranteed and non-refundable, tax and gratuity in price. Please indicate the number of members or non-members and mail payment to Taos County Historical Society, PO Box 2447, Taos, NM 87571. For more information please call Ernestina Cordova at (575) 770-0681, President of the Taos County Historical Society.

February 4, 2017

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 Annual Meeting for 2017 was held recently and began in a somber tone as five Society members that left us in 2016 were remembered. The names of Ouray Meyers, Vicente Martinez, Corina Santistevan, Tony Reyna and Joyce Appleby were read along with a brief tribute to each.

Achievements in 2016 included welcoming several new members to the Society; the completion of the renovation work on the Duran Molino under the direction of Preservation Committee chairman, Charles "Corky" Hawk; the publication of two Ayer Y Hoy issues that paid homage to two of the founding members the TCHS, Helen Greene Blumenschein and Corina Santistevan.

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 followed with the election of Society officers. Board Member Dave Cordova read the slate of candidates presented by Benton Bond and Jennifer Felsberg. The candidates, President Ernestine Cordova, Vice-president Benton Bond, Secretary Judy Weinrobe, Treasurer Joan Pond and Member-at-Large Paul Figueroa. President Cordova named Jennifer Felsburg, Mark Henderson, Dave Cordova and David Maes to the Board of Directors. New Society member Elaine Montaño was appointed to the Hospitality position.

The speaker for the meeting was Mirabai Starr, the author of the long-anticipated memoir, "Caravan Of No Despair: A Memoir of Loss and Transformation."

Mirabai was an adjunct professor of Philosophy and World Religions at UNM-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..


Featured Speaker
UNM Professor, Author and Historian
Larry Torres
"Christmas Customs in Northern New Mexico"

Sunday, December 4th, 2016

Happy Holidays

The featured speaker is Larry Torres, UNM-Taos, Associate Professor of Foreign Language and Culture with a talk on “Christmas Customs in Northern New Mexico”.

Taos County Historical Society members and the public are invited to attend by completing luncheon
reservations of $30 per person by the deadline of November 25. Each reservation includes a choice of entree, dessert, tea or coffee on request and gratuity. Entree choices are grilled, seasoned chicken breast or vegetarian rolled lasagna. For more information, reservation or payment contact Ernestina Cordova, President, at 575-770-0681.

Larry Torres is a native of Arroyo Seco. He has been a professor of Spanish, Russian, French, English, Latin, Italian, Southwest Studies, Linguistics and Bilingual Education for the past 37 years.

Mr. Torres is a writer whose work on New Mexico Hispanic culture has touched thousands by way of the Spanish page in the El Crepusculo section of The Taos News and by way of his English columns Aqui en Los Valles, In the Footsteps of the Hermit and Habla Usted Spamglish?

His first 100 essays written in Spanish were compiled into the book released through El Crepusculo, Inc. in 1992, titled “Yo Seigo De Taosi.” Recently he published the bilingual booklets “Los Cocos y La Coconas; the Bogey Creatures of the Hispanic Southwest” and “Los Matachines Desenmascarados”; an historical interpretation of the ancient dance-drama, “Las Cuatro Apariciones de Guadalupe”, “Las Posadas” and “Los Moros y Los Cristianos.” His collected works were released by University of New Mexico Press, titled “Six Nuevo Mexicano Folk Dramas for the Advent Season.”


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 the 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.


"The Past and History:
Reflections on Their Differences"
with Joyce Appleby

November 5th, 2016
The complex relationship of the American public with the country's professional historians has long fascinated Appleby. She has served as president of the Organization of American Historians, the American Historical Association, and the Society for the History of the Early Republic. As co-founder of the History News Service, she initiated a program for facilitating historians' writing op-ed essays for newspapers. In her career as an historian of the founding era in the United States, she has worked to promote an understanding of the past that can help Americans deal more sanely with the present.
As president of the Organization of American Historians, she won Congressional support for an endowment to send American Studies libraries to sixty universities worldwide. Chosen by a consor-
tium of scholars, the 1,500 books represented the major scholarship on American history, literature, political science, sociology, and philosophy.


The challenge that postmodernism posed to historians became the central theme of Telling the Truth about History which Appleby wrote with Margaret Jacob and Lynn Hunt in 1994. At the same time, the Mellon Foundation funded Appleby’s proposal for graduate seminars in postmodern thought which led to the publication of Knowledge and Postmodernism in Historical Perspective which she edited with Elizabeth Covington, David Hoyt, Michael Latham and Allison Sneider.

After retirement, Appleby moved to Taos with her younger son to be near her daughter and twin grandsons. Published in 2004 "A Restless Past" contains a collection of her presidential addresses and essays. "The Relentless Revolution; A History of Capitalism" appeared in 2010, and W.W. Norton published "Shores of Knowledge: New World Discoveries and the Scientific Imagination" in 2013.

The Society encourages support through membership.


"Ladies of the Canyons"
with Lesley Poling-Kempes

Saturday, October 1st, 2016

The Taos County Historical Society will present a free, public lecture "Ladies of the Canyons" by Lesley Poling-Kempes on Saturday, October 1, 2016 at 2:00pm in the Boardroom of Kit Carson Electric Co-op, 118 Cruz Alta Rd., Taos, NM. This program is a partnership with the Taos Arts Council and featured in the Taos Fall Arts Festival through the Society's participation in the 2016 Taos Visionaries theme for the community's arts and cultural organizations.

Ms. Poling-Kempes will share her experiences researching and writing "Ladies of the Canyons" and the stories she uncovered about these extraordinary women - Natalie Curtis, Alice Klauber, Carol Stanley and Mary Cabot Wheelwright - and their impact upon New Mexico. The talk will also share the personal and professional adventure a writer undertakes when she seeks to find and piece together the stories of peoople who have gone missing in history. "If we are very lucky we unearth a marvelous narrative that enlarges and enhances our sense of time, place and story", says the author Ms. Poling-Kempes.

Lesley Poling-Kempes is the award winning author of fiction and nonfiction books about the American Southwest, including "Bone Horses" winner of the 2014 WILLA Literary Award for Contemporary Fiction and the Tony Hillerman Award. "The Harvey Girls: Women Who Opened the West" was the winner of the Zia Award and recently optioned for a television series. Other publications include "Valley of Shining Stone: The Story of Abiquiu," and "Ghost Ranch" Her first novel "Canyon of Remembering" was a Western Writers of American Spur Award finalist. Lesley Poling-Kempes lives in Abiquiu, New Mexico.

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 the 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.


with Michael Knight

Helene V. B. Wurlitzer (1874-1963)

Saturday, September 10th, 2016

Michael Knight, Director Emeritus of the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico served as trustee on the Foundation's board of directors for six years, from 1992 to 1998, during which time he was mentored by, and served as assistant to, Dr. Henry A. Sauerwein, Executive Director of the Wurlitzer Foundation for 42 years. In 1998, Knight, after 25 years as a social worker with the State of New Mexico, became the Foundation's second, full-time Executive Director, and served in the position until retiring in 2015. He is again serving as one of the trustees of the Foundation's board of directors.

Helene Billing Wurlitzer (1874-1963) was a philanthropist, visionary, and patron of the arts. In 1954 she established the Helene Wurlitzer Foundation of New Mexico for the purpose of stimulation and encouragement of the creative arts. This is accomplished by providing resident grants to artists in the creative fields of literature, music, and the visual arts. The grants include rent and utility free housing in the Foundation's private casitas where artists have the opportunity to live in a serene, stress-free environment to pursue their artistic goals. The Foundation hosts approximately three dozen national and international artists each year.

Today, 62 years after Helene Wurlitzer established her Foundation, little is known about the significant humanitarian contributions Helene Wurlitzer made during her lifetime. She provided academic scholarships to students, championed institutions of higher learning, helped those with medical and financial needs, donated land and property for humane purposes, funded science research, and supported artists and the creative process. Even though the press noted many of her philanthropic contributions while she was alive, not much has been said about her during the last half century. Yet, hers is the "gift that keeps on giving." This likely occurred due to her desire to be discreet about her contributions to humanity. She was not interested in drawing attention to herself, but instead chose quietly to go about her philanthropic work without fanfare. Over the years, those responsible for facilitating her vision honored her desire to keep her good deeds private.

Until this day, the Foundation's board of directors, and administration, are dedicated to embracing Helene Wurlitzer's vision and philosophy, insuring her legacy endures. Today, the Foundation's artist residence program continues to support aspiring and accomplished artists who venture to Taos from all over the world to work freely. The Foundation also supports Taos high school graduates who wish to pursue a degree in the creative arts by providing academic scholarships. As a result, Helene Wurlitzer's legacy as a renowned patron of the arts resonates vibrantly to the present day.


with Karen S. Cordova

Saturday, August 6th, 2016

Karen S. Córdova is a writer and business woman who lives in Southern California. Karen has deep roots both in Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico, and she visits New Mexico, several times a year. Her poetry has been widely published. She also writes prose articles for genealogy journals. Her first book, Farolito, was published in August 2015 by 3: A Taos Press <>. It is a true story, which casts a Hispano light on the dark subject of elder abuse and neglect, but also illuminates a jagged path to solution and unexpected healing. Her second book, Souls in Hiding, is about crypto-Jews and conversos, whose descendants live in New Mexico. It is being written with Andrea Watson and Joan Ryan of Taos, as well as Dr. Carol Aronoff. The expected publication date of Souls in Hiding is 2017.

Karen has been a featured reader in many ekphrasis and other poetry events throughout the United States. Ekphrasis events are collaborations of visual artists, poets, and performing artists. Karen also curates poetry events. She and Taos publisher and poet, Andrea L. Watson, are currently planning a show, Take a Detour from Route 66: Taos to Los Angeles, which will be held at The Workman and Temple Family Homestead Museum and the John A. Rowland House in Southern California in March 2017, as well as a venue in Taos, which will be determined in 2017. These events will be sponsored by the Taos Arts Council. Both William Workman and John Rowland lived in Taos, before moving to California.

Karen is especially proud to have given a presentation and poetry reading in 2016 for faculty and students at the Keck Medical School at the University of Southern California. The invitation was extended by the director of the National Center on Elder Abuse (NCEA), Dr. Laura Mosqueda, who wrote one of the blurbs for Farolito. The purpose was to stimulate discussion among faculty and students about how literature and the arts can help doctors be better doctors. Another honor was participation in the 2010 Festival de Flor y Canto at USC. The Flor y Canto was a three-day, historic event which featured relatively unknown, but promising, writers, as well as such luminaries as Richard Montoya of Culture Clash; and the Poet Laureate of the United States, Juan Felipe Herrera. You can see and hear Karen's reading on the USC Digital Library's website <*>.

Karen's heritage is Hispano-the Spanish who settled New Mexico and intermarried with Native Americans-and two mountain men who wandered west. William Pope from Kentucky and John David Albert, born in Hagerstown, MD were trappers, traders, and adventurous men, who lived in Taos for years in the 19th century. They married Hispano Taos women. John David was a noted figure in the 1847 Taos Massacre. He married the daughter of William Pope. Pope Valley, near Napa Valley, CA, was named for William. Prior to his settling in Northern California, Pope had been captured, while fleeing Taos, and was imprisoned in San Diego as an illegal Americano immigrant. Karen has many more ancestors, who lived in Taos and its surrounding villages in the 19th century.


A former board member of the Genealogical Society of Hispanic American, Southern CA Chapter, Karen is a self-described "genealogy geek". Karen likes to use genealogy, family stories, heirlooms, cultural history, and even DNA testing to inform her poetry and prose-and that will be the focus of her presentation to the Taos County Historical Society. She will intersperse poems about Taos and a few of her Taoseño ancestors, throughout her talk, as examples of how she does this. Audience members with a poetic bent might even be inspired to do the same. She will only read accessible poems for the sake of those who deem poetry a foreign language. This will be an interactive talk, so audience questions will be welcomed!

The Society encourages support through membership.

FIELD TRIP - Docent Tour & Pot-Luck Picnic
D.H. LAWRENCE RANCH in San Cristobal
Carrie Leven
Carson National Forest Archaeologist

Saturday, July 9th, 2016 (Deadline for Sign Up is June 20th)
Meet at 10:00 AM at KTAO Parking Lot to Carpool
Docent Tour is at 11:00 AM with Pot-Luck Picnic to Follow on the Grounds
Please indicate a dish you will bring and share among others. .Also, whether you would like a ride or offer space for others. Please provide contact information – cell phone and email for coordination in your reply to Call 575-779-8579 for more information.

Background: On March 28, 1924, Mabel Dodge Luhan deeded 160 acres more or less with all improvements including houses, corrals and fences and all ditch and water rights pertaining thereto to grantee Frieda Lawrence for the sum of $1 and other valuable considerations.

The Taos County Historical Society is a consortium member of the 2016 Taos Visionaries theme. We are pleased to participate and offer a field trip with a docent tour and pot-luck picnic at the D. H. Lawrence Ranch for our members and guests.

Thank you. Paul Figueroa, Program Chair.

The Society encourages support through membership.

Restoration of "St. Anthony Church in Questa"
Esther Garcia

Saturday, June 4th, 2016
2:00 PM
Kit Carson Electric Board Room
at 118 Cruz Alta Rd.

The Society encourages support through membership.

2016 Honoree Luncheon

Los Vecinos Alegres de Taos
Traditional Folk Dance Troupe

Featured Speaker War Chief Richard Archuleta

Honoree Luncheon
& Silent Auction

Sunday, May 1st, 2016
12:00 Noon

Rio Grande Room
at El Monte Sagrado

Silent Auction Item #1

Photography & Image Making
of the West in the 20th Century
with Larry Gustafson

Saturday, April 2nd, 2016
2:00 PM
Kit Carson Electric Board Room
at 118 Cruz Alta Rd.

The subject of Gustafson's presentation is "visual language." He will focus on the creative part of photography, not the technical part. He will discuss such matters as themes, symbolism, and story-telling through photographic imagery. As examples he will present 20th century photographers including are Wynn Bullock, Edward Weston and Minor White. Gustafson states, "Bullock was unique among photographers in that he frequently wrote about what he was trying to accomplish through his imagery thus giving us greater insight into his creative process. While most of these photographers did their photography in states other than New Mexico, much of what they photographed bears resemblance to the local imagery of New Mexico, such imagery consisting in large part of deserts, mountain ranges, river courses, derelict buildings and abstract."

Larry Gustafson is a photographer, photography critic, writer and lecturer on creativity and the creative process, and an attorney. He writes and lectures about creativity, photographic theory and various legal issues involving photographers' rights and liabilities. He was the keynote speaker at the Monterey
Museum of Art for the centennial celebration and retrospective showing of Wynn Bullock's photographic art.

Larry's primary photographic subject is the western landscape, and all the myriad subcategories that such a subject permits, but he has photographed many varied subjects in many different places, having lived in England for three years and in Boston and Washington, D.C. for several years. Larry currently lives in Taos, New Mexico, that location being a place of significant historical contributions to art and creativity. He is active with The Couse-Sharp Historical Site and the photographic documentation of its collections including the pottery used by the artists in the settings of their work.


The Society encourages support through membership.


"Old Spanish Trail"
with Mark Scott Henderson

Saturday, March 5th, 2016
2:00 PM
Kit Carson Electric Board Room
at 118 Cruz Alta Rd.

To Be or Not to Be?
Inventing The Old Spanish
National Historical Trail through Taos

John C. Fremont invented the “Spanish Trail” on April 17, 1844 when he intersected a mule pack trail and livestock driveway just east of Cajon Pass in California which Nuevo Mejicanos had been using since 1829 to transport New Mexico homespun serapes and frasadas (“efectos de pais”) to southern California, to trade for homegrown Californio horses (primarily yeguas) to drive back to New Mexico (and most likely on to Missouri) for breeding stock to create pack mules and more importantly draft mules, on the Santa Fe and Chihuahua Trails.

It took Congress only 158 years to reinvent Fremont’s “Spanish Trail” as the twenty-third addition to the National Trails System [the first trail created in the system in 1968 being the Appalachian Scenic Trail], designating the 2700 mile long Old Spanish National Historical Trail (OSNHT) on December 4, 2002 for the public purpose of “open-air recreation” [primarily muscle powered historic sightseeing]. There was no notice in the Taos News, though for decades there had been efforts to commemorate the “Old Spanish Trail” particularly in Utah, and then more recently spearheaded by political activists, in Southern and Western Colorado and Northern New Mexico (including members and associates of the Taos County Historical Society).

Today after nearly15 years since the Congressional designation, the Spanish Trail is at risk of being invented again, at least in part, with the establishment of the Rio Grande Trail by the State of New Mexico, intended for muscle powered open-air recreation, modeled after the Appalachian Trail. This presentation examines the role of the community of Taos in all these manifestations.

Mark Henderson established Chupadero Archeological Resources LLC in 2007 with the purpose of “encouraging public participation in archeological research in the US Great Basins and Southwest” after thirty (30) years as an archeologist in the US Civil Service (BLM, BIA and Forest Service) in New Mexico, Diné Bikéyah (Navajo Country) and Nevada. Also in 2007 Mark was recruited as Vice President of the Old Spanish Trail Association (OSTA) where he continues to serve as a volunteer on the Stewardship Committee. Mark has a BA (with distinction) from UNM (1973) and was a graduate student in Anthropology at SMU from 1974 through1977, where he concurrently was was employed as a Project Director in the now defunct Archaeological Research Program. Mark now "reads the landscape" from the suburban sprawl of Taos County with his spouse Yolanda Vigil-Henderson and their yellow-naped Amazon parrot named "Yano."
The Society encourages support through membership.

Annual Business Meeting

Election of officers and a review and report on the past year
and discuss plans and goals for the coming year.
The meeting starts promptly at 2:00 PM.

Featured Program

Panel Discussion

"Growing up at Taos Pueblo"
with John Suazo & Jonathan Warm Day

Saturday, February 6th, 2015
Kit Carson Electric Board Room
at 118 Cruz Alta Rd.

The TCHS Annual Business Meeting precedes the special program, "Growing Up At Taos Pueblo." The format of the program is as a panel discussion open to the attendees of this meeting. Featuring two prominent Taos Pueblo artists and writers talking about their recollections growing up at Taos Pueblo.

John Suazo was born in 1951 and attended the University of New Mexico (Albuquerque), Navajo Community College in Tsalle, AZ and Institute of American Indian Arts in Santa Fe, NM. In 2006 the Harwood Museum of Art presented a 30 year retrospective of his work. John Suazo is a stone sculptor whose work is characterized by simplifying forms, manly figurative human beings, birds and mammals. These subjects all related to his cultural traditions. He has received numerous awards and his work in represented in many public, private and corporate collections.

Jonathan Warm Day Coming is a well-known artists and writer who began woodcarving as a child and was introduced to art by this mother Eva Mirabal a highly esteemed artists. Jonathan studied art at University of New Mexico and his work is exhibited in various galleries and included in
several important collections. When writing, he draws inspiration from his personal experiences and his family's oral traditions.

The Society encourages support through membership.


Featured Speaker
Noted New Mexico Author and Historian

Dr. Thomas Chavez
"Two Bits, the Dollar Sign,
and Spain's Role in the
Birth of the United States"

Sunday, December 6th, 2015
12 Noon at Old Martina's Hall - Ranchos

The Taos County Historical Society
extends a cordial public invitation
to everyone to join our members
in this annual celebration.

Featured guest speaker is Dr. Thomas Chavez, noted New Mexico author and historian. His talk "Two Bits, the Dollar Sign, and Spain's Role in the Birth of the United States" will detail Spain's clandestine efforts, its diplomacy and its actual fighting that helped in the birth of the United States.

Dr. Chavez received a Ph.D. in history from the University of New Mexico. He served for twenty years as Director of the Palace of Governors in Santa Fe and is currently Director of the National Hispanic Cultural Center in Albuquerque.

He is the author of several books on New Mexico including "An Illustrated History of New Mexico", "Manuel Alvarez, 1794-1856: A Southwestern Biography" and "Spain and the Independence of the United States, An Intrinsic Gift" published in 2002 by University of New Mexico Press.

Reservations for the
Christmas Luncheon
must be completed by
November 30th with a choice of entrees
$25 each per person
(for entree, desssert, tea and gratuity)

Please contact Ernestina Cordova, TCHS President
at 575-770-0681 or
to reserve your space.
The Society encourages support through membership.

Saturday, July 11th, 2015

El Molino de los Duranes
Charles "Corky" Hawk

The Molino de los Duranes, located in Ranchos de Taos on Camino Abajo de la Loma, was built around 1850 and was abandoned in 1938. The Taos County Historical Society, with the leadership of Board member and Historic Preservation Committee Chair, Charles "Corky" Hawk, has been working with the owners of the property who have expressed a desire to restore the mill in its entirety.

The Duran Molino is located on Camino Abajo de la Loma, which runs west from NM Highway 68 in Ranchos de Taos. The land on which the Molino is situated is owned by descendants of Innocencio Duran, the last member of the Duran family to actually operate the Molino. The Molino was built by either Innocencio or his father and possibly other family members. The Molino was built next to one of the largest acequias, the Acequia Madre del Rio Grande, which supplied the water to power the Molino.

The Molino de los Duranes, located in Ranchos de Taos on Camino Abajo de la Loma, was built around 1850 and was abandoned in 1938. The Taos County Historical Society, with the leadership of Board member and Historic Preservation Committee Chair, Charles "Corky" Hawk, has been working with the owners of the property who have expressed a desire to restore the mill in its entirety.

The Duran Molino is located on Camino Abajo de la Loma, which runs west from NM Highway 68 in Ranchos de Taos. The land on which the Molino is situated is owned by descendants of Innocencio Duran, the last member of the Duran family to actually operate the Molino. The Molino was built by either Innocencio or his father and possibly other family members. The Molino was built next to one of the largest acequias, the Acequia Madre del Rio Grande, which supplied the water to power the Molino.

During most of the nineteenth century, milling of grain was the most important industrial activity in Taos Valley. Its only distant rival was distilling. Grist mills, in the early days all water powered, were a critical part of the 19th century and early 20th century agricultural economy. They were the way that the abundant wheat and corn grown in Taos Valley was ground into flour and related products for use by Taos residents and for export outside the valley.

The Taos County Historical Society has been interested in preservation of the Duran Molino since 1969. The Molino was placed on the State Register of Cultural Properties by the Taos County Historical Society in that year. The Molino is on private property on what was part of the 1710 Cristobal de la Serna Land Grant.

Since 2012 Charles Hawk has diligently pursued the study and assessment of the Duran Molino on behalf of the Taos County Historical Society's mission "to preserve the irreplaceable". In 2013 his efforts to save the oldest existing water powered grist mill in Taos Valley included contacts with the Historic Preservation Alliance and the Healy Foundation for grants. Contact was made with the Rocky Mountain Youth Corp to assist with cleanup of the site and perimeter of the foundation.

In 2014 Charles Hawk, through his effective grant writing, secured a structural evaluation of the Molino de los Duranes prepared by DRUC Engineering of Santa Fe, NM. This report includes historical background, the archaeology of the Molino as well as the site and physical description. Paramount to the Society's continued efforts under Mr. Hawk's chairmanship are sections devoted to existing conditions and recommendations for its foundation, floor, walls and roof. The later is a component Mr. Hawk will undertake with volunteers and in-kind material contributions to prevent further damage.

With a volunteer Board of Directors and volunteers from membership and community, the leadership of Charles Hawk is instrumental for the planning and completion for the preservation of this important landmark in Taos County. His devotion to the project and development of financial resources from grants and individuals continues to move forward this project.. This spring Charles Hawk submitted an article on Molina de los Duranes for the Historical Society's publication Ayer Y Hoy, which can be viewed on the Historical Society's web site.

Furthermore, Charles Hawk is one of the contributing authors to the Society's 2013 publication "Taos A Topical History". His research on the Camino Real and early trails to Taos has been the subject of public lectures for the Historical Society and an exhibition at the Rio Grande Visitor Center in Pilar.

Additionally, on May 8, 2015, the Cultural Properties Review Committee of the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, Historic Preservation Division, presented Charles Hawk with a Heritage Publication Award for Molino de Los Duranes, Ranchos de Taos, NM due to the structural evaluation of the building under Mr. Hawk's leadership.

Charles Hawk was born and raised in Colorado. He graduated from Yale University with a BA in economics and received his law degree from the University of Michigan. After 29 years practicing in the field of labor relations and employment law, he moved to Taos in 1997. His historical research activities include the Camino Real in Northern New Mexico. Recently, he assisted with the planning of history exhibits and programs for the San Francisco de Asis Church's 200th anniversary, August - October 2015.


Virginia Couse-Leavitt

Granddaughter of E. Irving Couse
and Chairwoman of the Couse Foundation

Featured Speaker Barbara Brenner
"Oscar Berninghaus:
his Lighter Moments"

Featured Speaker Barbara Brenner
"Oscar Berninghaus:
his Lighter Moments"

Sunday, May 3rd, 2015
12:00 in Los Vaqueros Room-Sagebrush Inn

The Society encourages support through membership.




December 7th, 2014
at Sagebrush Inn
1508 Paseo del Pueblo Sur - Taos

Guest Speaker
Thomas A. Romero

Executive Director of the
Northern Rio Grande
National Heritage Area


Thomas A. Romero, Executive Director of the Northern Rio Grande National Heritage Area will be the speaker and his presentation is "Sustaining Culture and Tradition: An Implementation Strategy". Menu selections offer a choice of three entrees at $25 per person and includes a salad, dessert, tea and gratuity. Reservations and payment is due by November 27 to TCHS, PO Box 2447, Taos NM 87571. For more information please call Ernestina Cordova, President, at 575-770-0681.

Thomas A. Romero's career spans nearly five decades of management in public sector positions as well as consulting practice for state, municipal, trial and federal agencies. Mr. Romero's volunteer services with non-profit organizations include El Museo Cultural de Santa Fe, Creative Santa Fe, the Rio Tesuque Land Alliance and the Santa Fe Community College GROW Foundation. In 1990 Mr Romero was recognized as one of the Outstanding Colorado Hispanic Leaders and in 2005 he was honored by the New Mexican as one of Ten Who Make A Difference.
To conserve and protect the culture and traditions that define New Mexico and its unique contribution to the culture and heritage of the United States, Congress designated 10,000 square miles of northern New Mexico as the Northern Rio Grande National Heritage Area. The mission of the NRGNHA is to help sustain the communities, languages, culture, traditions, heritage and environment in three counties, eight pueblos and the Jicarilla Apache Nation in northern New Mexico.
The Taos County Historical Society is dedicated to preserving the irreplaceable and is a 501©(3) non-profit organization sustained by memberships.

The Society encourages support through membership.

Who Are The Harvey Girls?
-- The Inside Story --

By Liz Mikols

October 4th, 2014

Fred Harvey revolutionized travel in America, beginning in the 1870's. At his Harvey Houses, lunch rooms that became full service dining establishments and destination hotels, he pioneered many business practices, now considered standard. Without an MBA, or high school diploma, he created and put into practice key concepts such as quality control, customer service, branding and niche marketing. Much of his success derived from his dedicated Harvey Girls. Some historians credit these young women with taming the west. Learn more about them and how the Harvey system worked at
this 45 minute illustrated lecture.

Liz Mikols fell in love with New Mexico and its entertaining and enlightening history in 1992. She and her husband, Joe, finally organized their lives so they could move into
their house in Silver City, New Mexico in 2008. She has been a member of the Historical Society of New Mexico for over 20 years.


Liz started volunteering at the Silver City Museum in 2008, including serving on the Society Board. Liz has presented several subjects on New Mexico history, many relating to issues and notable people of Southwestern New Mexico. She has brought several people to life, including Theora 'Ginny' Allman, Madam Millie , and the quintessential Harvey Girl, chautauqua-style.

When not studying or sharing New Mexico history, she gardens, practices Tai Chi and teaches group fitness classes. Liz has degrees from the University of California, Berkeley and Yale University.

The Taos County Historical Society, a 501(c)(3) non-profit organization, records and preserves
the irreplaceable. Monthly meetings are the first Saturday of the month and periodic
newsletters keep members informed of current research and activities.

The Society encourages support through membership.

Taos County Historical Society Lecture
From Josiah Gregg
to Edward Abbey -

By David Farmer

Taos, NM

This illustrated lecture is structured like a journey, with books, though the history and culture of New Mexico. The talk includes some background on the writers and also
includes passages from writings by Josiah Gregg, Susan Magoffin, Leslie Silko,
M. Scott Momaday, Peggy Pond Church and others. Illustrations are coordinated to the writers and settings of the passages read by Dr. Farmer.

Dr. David Farmer was born in Austin and raised on his family's ranch near Fort McKavett in the Texas Hill country. It was on the F5 Ranch that his mother taught him and his brothers before they went away to high school. Early in his life, David, became more interested in books than in rounding up sheep, goats and cattle, so he set off for an academic career in rare books and teaching that took him to the University of Texas at Austin, SMU, among other universities.

In 2001 Dr. Farmer retired after fifteen years as Director of DeGolyer Library at SMU where he was responsible for one of the major Western Americana libraries in the United States. He has lectured widely on books and collecting, and his extensive writings include Stanley Marcus, A Life With Books, published by Still Pint Press in Dallas and reprinted by TCU Press. Dr. Farmer's critical edition of D. H. Lawrence's novel, Women in Love, was published by Cambridge University Press. His articles on printmakers have appeared in The Tamarind Papers as well as in Prints and Printmakers of Texas, (1997) and Paths to the Press, Printmaking and American Women Artists, 1910-1960 (2007). For fourteen years he chaired the committee that selected the Clements Prize book for an annual award given by the Clements Center for Southwest Studies at SMU.

*** FIELD TRIP ***
The Story of New Buffalo Commune
in Arroyo Hondo
Bob Fies & Guest Speaker

August 2nd, 2014

The historic New Buffalo Commune was founded in June 1967, the "Summer of Love," when three young men from Pittsburgh who wanted to start a new life living off the land were given 105 acres by their friend, Rick Klein. Hearing of this in underground city newspapers, interested young people streamed to northern New Mexico. Instructed by elders of the Taos Pueblo in building, praying, and planting, they used native mud and wood from a nearby forest to construct a 5,000 square foot adobe main building and two smaller adobe buildings. Dedicated to raising their own food, they began growing corn, squash, and beans and raising chickens.

Life was not easy. Sadly, the next fall a fire destroyed much of the main building. But this group was unfazed and remained true to their aims of creating a community. Seizing the opportunity for positive change, they rebuilt the main building to fit their growing needs, creating separate rooms for families instead of a communal loft in the large sunken center room. The core of this original building still remains today, though the facilities have been greatly updated.

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

August 2nd, 2014

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."

The Aldo Leopold House
in Tres Piedras, NM

Friday, June 27th, 2014

There is something about the Southwestern landscape that inspires people. Whether it's the mountains and deserts, the distant horizon, or the technicolor sunsets I don't know. But, something about this place sparks people's imagination. Case in point - Aldo Leopold. Something happened while Leopold was in Arizona and New Mexico that drove him to write A Sand County Almanac and to think about conservation in a new way. We visited the cabin where he lived and worked in Tres Piedras, New Mexico and saw some of what inspired Aldo.

Tres Piedras, a small town in the forest northwest of Taos, is home to a Carson National Forest Ranger Station. Less than a mile from the modern ranger station is the home of Aldo Leopold when he was Deputy Forest Supervisor for the Carson National Forest. We scheduled a tour with one of the Carson National Forest Rangers who was able to tell us about Aldo Leopold while he worked for the Forest Service in New Mexico.

Aldo Leopold was Forest Supervisor for the Carson National Forest from 1911 to 1913. The cabin is a two-story, Craftsman-style, wood home built in 1911 for the new Forest Supervisor. It was occupied by a succession of Forest Supervisors and used for many years. After decades of wear and tear the cabin was restored in 2006 to preserve the structure and its history. A team of historians, architects and archaelogists worked for 15 months to preserve the cabin for years to come.

Now used for educational programming and small events, the 1911 Forest Supervisor cabin in Tres Piedras is a monument to Aldo Leopold and the birth of conservation. It's worth a call ahead to schedule a ranger-led tour and see some of what inspired Mr. Leopold.


"TAOS: A Topical History" Editors Honored

Dear Corina and Julia,

Congratulations! You have just been selected as the winners of the Lansing Bloom Award for the excellent book that you edited, “Taos: A Topical History” published by the Museum of New Mexico Press. This award, which includes a one-year membership for each of you in the Historical Society of New Mexico (HSNM), is offered annually by the society for an outstanding publication in New Mexico. Your broad selection of chapters offer
a thoughtful assessment of topics ranging from geography to archaeology, the arts and culture, and from
institutional history to economic and ecological development. It also provides valuable insights into broader historical ideas and questions as well.

Nancy Owen Lewis, Chair
HSNM Awards Committee

The award was presented at an Awards Banquet hosted at the Montezuma Castle in Las Vegas on Saturday, May 3rd, during the New Mexico History Conference.

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

Saturday, June 7th, 2014
2:00 PM in the
Kit Carson Electric Coop Boardroom

118 Cruz Alta Rd.
Taos, NM

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.



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. The Society has invited Larry Torres, Historian and UNM Professor to be the program speaker. His topic will be "Defining Northern New Mexico Culture".

The Honoree Luncheon reservation offers a menu choice of entrees, salad, dessert and gratuity at $25.00. Your choice of entree includes: (1) grilled sirloin steak, served with roasted small potatoes and sauteed vegetables, (2) baked chicken breast served with rice pilaf and sauteed vegetables or (3) grilled salmon served with rice pilaf and sauteed vegetables. Please mail your reservation to: Taos County Historical Society, PO Box 2447, Taos, NM 87571 with your choice of entree. Payment of $25 per person should accompany your reservation. Reservations must be received by April 28, 2014. Visit the Society's website, for additional information.

Reynaldo, or Rey, Torres grew up in a sheep ranching family and spent his youth herding sheep and working cattle and horses. As he grew up plowing, irrigating and harvesting crops with his father he developed a keen interest in agriculture and the protection of land and water. He earned a Bachelor of Science Degree in Agriculture from New Mexico State University. After six years as a County Extension 4-H Agent Rey obtained a Master of Arts Degree in Agricultural and Extension Education and was offered the position of the Taos County Extension Director.

Over the course of his tenure Rey's accomplishments were many and his guidance was instrumental in developing programs for youth, farmers, volunteers, and addressing community needs. For instance, he served on a multi-university effort to evaluate and create an Agricultural Plan for Taos Pueblo. He worked to rebuild the annual Taos County Fair and successfully managed the construction and expansion of the Agricultural Center serving as a community space for meetings, fairs, competitions and education. Although Rey retired in 2010 he continues to be active in the community from working at the Community Health Clinic in Taos and as a consultant in the invasive weed management efforts.

Palemon A. Martinez was born and raised on a farm and ranch in Arroyo Seco and received a Bachelor of Science and a Masters in Art Degree in Agricultural and Extension Education from New Mexico State University. Palemon was employed by the New Mexico State University Cooperative Extension Service for 30 years serving in Santa Fe County Extension Agent, Resources Conservation and Development Specialist and Northern District Extension Director retiring in 1987. Since retirement he is actively involved in farming and ranching along with being a voluntneer.

In this capacity, Palemon is involved with many organizations including Taos Valley Acequia Association in the position of President of Federation of 55 Acequia Commission since 1987. He its representative to the Taos Water Rights Settlement and also commissioner for the Acequia Madre Del Rio Lucero y Arroyo Seco and Acequia de los Prandos. As a volunteer he is a member of the New Mexico Agricultural Tax Task Force, Northern New Mexico Stockman's Association Treasurer and Secretary. He is Board Member and President of the Arroyo Seco-Valdez Neighborhood Association, President of the Hondo-Seco Community Development Association and a member of the Holy Trinity Parish Finance Council. Palemon has received many honors and awards from numerous associations and districts. Most recently Palemon Martinez was honored as one of the three acequia commissioners who have served the needs of the Acequia Madre de Rio Lucero y Arroyo Seco collectively with over 125 years experience in every aspect of stewardship.

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.

The Taos County Historical Society was formed in 1960 for the purpose of "... preserving the history of the Taos area...". It is a 501-c-3 nonprofit organization managed by a volunteer Board of Directors. Monthly meetings, the first Saturday of the month are held at Kit Carson Electric Boardroom with a featured speaker are open to the public and supported through memberships. These are also open to anyone upon payment of annual dues. For more information visit the Society's website,

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

Saturday, April 5th, 2014
in the
Kit Carson Electric Coop

118 Cruz Alta Rd.
Taos, NM

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. 

November 21, 1909-September 9, 1989

Helen Blumenschein was founding President of the Taos County Historical Society, a long-time board member, and a lifelong active member of the society.

Helen had a rich heritage in Taos history. She was the daughter of early Taos artists Ernest and Mary Blumenschein and she moved with them to Taos in 1919. She grew up on Ledoux Street, near the home of Burt and Lucy Harwood, and witnessed the inception and development of the Harwood Foundation. She was a member of Taos' first ski club, a forerunner to the modern ski industry. She served her country in World War II as a member of the Women's Army Corps.

Ms. Blumenschein had an enduring interest in the archeology and History of New Mexico and the Taos Valley. She particpated in numerous digs and carried out varied historical researches, publishing some of her findings in the El Palacio Magazine of the Museum of New Mexico. She also researched and published on old trails of Taos. As President of TCHS, she published an occasional "history letter" to the membership. An artist, she did portraits of many notable Taoseños; many of the images are included in her Sounds and Sights of the Taos Valley. She gave her parents' home on Ledoux Street to the Kit Carson Foundation.


We invite your participation and support through an annual membership, which includes subscriptions to
"Ayer Y Hoy" and our periodic newsletters. Other activities include recordings of oral histories, maintaining archival materials and participating in community events.

To become a member send a check, along with your name and address, to:

P.O. BOX 2447
TAOS, NM 87571

For more information call (575) 770-0681 or e-mail:

Email us

Phone: (575) 770-0681

PO Box 2447 • Taos, NM 87571