The Taos Pueblo sits beneath the Sangre De Christo Mountains of New Mexico. It is a Unesco World Heritage Site. It is the oldest continuously inhabited site in North America. Two thousand years ago the wandering tribes began to settle and build adobe structures eventually growing into villages or Pueblos as the later Spanish called them. The main part of the present buildings were most likely constructed between 1000 and 1450 A.D. This is the time period when the cliff dwellers of Mesa Verde etc moved (or moved back to) the Rio Grand valley.
This particular village is the epitome of that form of building being three stories high or more in places. For defensive purposes the original houses had no access from ground level but instead from above.
The English name Taos derives from the native Taos language meaning “place of red willows” which happens to be both the name of the creek that runs through the pueblo and supplies their drinking water- but also the name the people call themselves- The Red Willow People.
Above and below– Workers re-coating the adobe walls which are done every year.
Below wandering the narrow lanes between the houses.
Above– The sad ruins of St Jerome Church. Constructed in 1619 and destroyed in the Pueblo Revolt against the Spanish in 1680.
It was the only time in U.S. history that a tribe was successful in removing a large group of foreign invaders. The Spanish returned however and rebuilt the church in 1692. In 1847 during the U.S. war with Mexico the U.S. army attacked the pueblo in retaliation for the murder of the new Governor Bent. He was murdered by those wanting to return to Spanish rule. Sanctuary was sought in the church by men women and children but where all were killed along with the total destruction of the church.
Above and below- A new St Jerome Church was built in 1850 named after the pueblos patron saint (Geronimo).
In 1940 Ansel Adams photographed the church and one can see some changes have been made to the front.
Below– The much painted and photographed Church of St Francis de Assisi in Ranchos de Taos.
Below Georgia O Keefe painted this several times. The church became a favorite among artists in the early part of the twentieth century, especially photographers Paul Strand and Ansel Adams and painters Georgia O’Keeffe and John Marin. Their images have helped make this view an icon of New Mexican religious buildings.
Below-Her painting of 1930
Below- Blumenschens painting of the church. He was one of the first American painters to settle in Taos and his house and others continues in Part 8.