Church at Sanctuario, 1950’s
Chimayo, New Mexico
Scanned Vintage Postcard
This vintage postcard of Sanctuario left me stunned. I’ve shot hundreds of photographs of the church but I never saw it as a real small Northern New Mexican town chuch like those scattered all over the state until I found this postcard.
The small villages along Highway 55 have always held a special place in my hard-scrabble New Mexican heart. Using the few resources available in the barren, harsh acres early settlers recycled the ever-present rocks into homes, walls, and churches.
In Punta de Agua, the rough-cut stone San Antonio Church stands as a monument to an earlier example of sustainable and green building.
If you’d like to walk through Punta de Agua at street level, click here to go to Google Maps, then click satellite.
Los Cerrillos has always seemed to me to be the perfect example of a New Mexico boom town. Once the unofficial capitial of the state, it’s now a modern day ghost town on South 14, a few miles north of Madrid.
After the arrival of the Santa Fe Railroad in 1880, shipping the gold, silver, lead, zinc and turquoise from the 3,000 miners in the area no longer had to be shipped by wagon. Los Cerrillos grew to feature 21 saloons, 5 brothels, 4 hotels, several dance halls and a real honest-to-goodness Opera House. The construction of Saint Joseph’s Church on Main Street confirmed that civilization had truly arrived.
Today, the washboard streets and dusty storefronts are a mostly undisturbed reminder of Old West meets celluloid. 13 films have been shot in and around Los Cerrillos, including the 1972 John Wayne movie The Cowboys shot just outside of town. A remnant of the production of Young Guns lingers on a two-story stucco wall. The real Wortley Hotel (Motto: No Guest Gunned Down in Over a 100 Years) is in Lincoln, not Los Cerrillos.
On weekends, Mary’s Saloon and the Casa Grande Trading Post, Cerrillos Turqoise Mining Museum, & Petting Zoo swarm with tourists from the City Different stopping off on the Turquoise Trail. Several seasonal businesses open up with the return of the tourists, adding whimsical touches.
Several artists call Los Cerrillos home. Metal sculptures and eclectic murals are scattered though the tiny town. A few of the gritty, sandblasted storefronts now make it possible to walk under the stars as you stay out of the sun.
My connection with Los Cerrillos was very short-lived. My job working weekends at the Tiffany Saloon and Melodrama ended when, as usual, my confidence in British mechanics was misplaced and my 1961 Morris Mini-Cooper needed a new engine.
The Assisi Sisters
Hanging with Claire and Agnes in Taos
Dancing St. Francis
The Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi
Karen Rivera 2009
Patron Saint of the Kitchen
Roadside Tin, Chimayo, New Mexico
Karen Rivera 2006
Our Lady of Guadalupe
Pike’s Peak, Colorado