Growing up in the West and in the Rockies, we’ve often heard of the word “Adobe” and “Pueblo” style houses to refer to beautiful mud-style architecture, but we didn’t really understand the history of the words. Until today.
We just learned that Pueblo refers to the Puebloan people, the city-dwelling native peoples of North Eastern New Mexico.
During a tour of the beautiful historic city, we heard a powerful story….
As one of the few city dwelling societies in North America, the Puebloan people are the builders of the oldest buildings in North America, dating back over to 700 AD. This Taos Pueblo is the 2nd oldest structure in the US, about 1000 years old. It is still lived in today.
Old San Geronimo de Taos Church:
Taos Valley has been home to Puebloan people for thousands of years. In the 1540’s, the Spanish swept through the land trying to conquer and convert the people living there. In 1620, this structure was built, yet because of the oppression, by 1680, the native people united to throw the Spanish out, and destroyed the original church. By turn of the 18th century, the Spanish came back and requested to settle in the valley more peacefully. The two groups of people collaborated in many ways, and the church was rebuilt.
In the 1840’s the United states conquered the Spanish territory, and more violence ensued.
The second San Geronimo Church was destroyed 1847 by US soldiers, killing hundreds of women, children, and elderly taking refuge inside. After the massacre, the native and Spanish speaking people of the community left the ruins as a cemetery in remembrance of the dead.
New SAN GERONIMO CHURCH:
By the time the second church was destroyed, Catholicism had been genuinely adopted by many people in the village. So they rebuilt a new church in the center of town.
Shared Technology with the Spanish:
In the late 1600’s the Spanish and Pueblo people collaborated and shared some technology and farming practices. One of the things adopted from the Spanish was the Horno, an outdoor clay oven.
Taos Pueblo is still lived in. The families who live in these buildings must bring in all resources like propane and water to help live with modern conveniences, since installing plumbing and electricity would weaken these 1000 year old structures. The population booms during celebrations and holidays, when people come together and stay in the historic buildings to celebrate in the town square.