New Mexico November 30, 2017
The 7 Oldest Buildings In New Mexico Where Time Stands Still
Ever since humans took up farming and it made sense to stay put in one area, we have constructed structures for living and working (however that was defined at the time). New Mexico is lucky enough to have several of its oldest building still standing – our opportunity to take a peek into the past.
1. Ancestral Puebloan Dwellings (~750 AD)
New Mexico has a wealth of Ancient Pueblo dwellings like those at Aztec Ruins,
(shown), and the Gallo Cliff Dwellings. Though abandoned, the remains of these early communities are well preserved and give us a glimpse into the lives of the earliest "settlers" of New Mexico.
2. Acoma Pueblo (Built between 1000 and 1200)
Legend describes Acoma Pueblo as "the place that always was," however, archeological evidence indicates that the Acoma People have inhabited this mesa since 1100 A.D. This community, set atop a 357-foot high mesa, was established in this location primarily because the mesa was easy to defend.
3. Taos Pueblo (Built between 1000 and 1450)
People have lived at the
for the last one thousand years. The buildings at this UNESCO World Heritage Site have achieved iconic status, with their thick adobe walls, vigas, and ladders to allow movement between the different stories. You can explore this landmark on your own, but guides are available for short, informative tours.
4. Palace of the Governors, Santa Fe (1610)
This is the oldest continually-used government building in the nation. Built around 1610, the building served as the capitol in Spanish Colonial times and also when New Mexico became a territory. Over the centuries, it has seen a lot of history including being seized during the Pueblo Revolt and then by the Confederates during the Civil War. Today, befitting its longevity, the building is a state history museum.
5. San Miguel Mission, Santa Fe (1610)
San Miguel Mission (or San Miguel Chapel) is said to be the oldest church in the United States. The original adobe walls and altar were built by the Tlaxcalan Indians who came from Mexico with Juan de Onate. It originally served the Indians and the soldiers and laborers who lived in the Analco Barrio. It was partially destroyed during the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 but was rebuilt. The present building dates from 1710, although it has undergone significant structural changes.
6. De Vargas Street House, Santa Fe (1646)
Built in 1646, this structure at 215 East De Vargas Street in Santa Fe is
one of the oldest homes in the United States
. Located in the old Analco Barrio, almost across the street from the San Miguel Chapel, this structure housed a cross-section of Santa Fe society, from Mexican Indians and soldiers to Christian Brothers. It even temporarily housed a territorial governor. Today, the west part of the structure is the "Oldest House"
7. Albuquerque Old Town (1706)
While not a specific "building," Albuquerque's Old Town Plaza was laid out by early Spanish colonists. As you stroll among the 10 or so blocks of historic buildings, (most built between 1870 and 1900), look for the hidden and unique architectural details that speak to the area's early history. The San Felipe de Neri Church, on the Plaza, however, does date to the Spanish Colonial period.
How many of these oldest buildings have you seen? Can you imagine yourself living or working there ages ago? Let us hear from you in the comments.