The Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area and History Colorado, through an Underrepresented Communities Grant from the Historic Preservation Fund of the National Park Service, Department of Interior, have successfully submitted four properties in the San Luis Valley to the National Register of Historic Places.
The Keeper of the National Register in Washington D.C. approved the submissions and officially listed the properties after returning to work from the government shutdown. The four properties include: The Garcia Ranch Headquarters in Antonito, Colorado; Saint Joseph’s Church and Cemetery in Capulin, Colorado; the S.P.M.D.T.U. Lodge Hall in Chama, Colorado; and Our Lady of Guadalupe Parish in Conejos, Colorado.
Each nomination is over 20 pages in length and is available upon request. To begin the project History Colorado requested a bid for the research of the four sites, which was given to the research team of Front Range Research Associates, Inc. The team worked on the research and writing the nominations for over a year.
The Garcia Ranch Headquarters was submitted as a district nomination that includes the adobe house, garage, privy, granaries, adobe potato cellar, a grain bin, sheep sheds, approximately 51.1 acres of outlying hayfields, and archaeological resources throughout the site. The ranch was considered significant for its ethnic/Hispano heritage, agriculture, architecture and development from 1885 to 1968. Reyes Garcia was a huge help in gathering the history for this site and sharing family stories about the site.
Saint Joseph’s Church was considered significant for its contribution to broad patterns of history for the Hispanic and Catholic populations in Colorado. It also embodies distinctive architectural characteristics for its Gothic Revival stone construction, built in 1912-13 and its original stained glass windows. The nearby cemetery is also included for its significance from 1878 to 1968. The architect for the church is not known. The community, parishioners, and the Diocese were very supportive regarding the nomination and the research process.
The Sociedad Proteccion Mutua de Trabajadores Unidos (S.P.M.D.T.U.) Lodge Hall in Chama, Colorado was built in ca. 1920. It was considered significant for its contribution to Hispanic history of the state, its adobe construction, and its likelihood to yield important information for prehistory or history. The property was used as a lodge hall for the Hispanic labor union from the time it was built until recently. The S.P.M.D.T.U. is still an active organization in Colorado and Northern New Mexico. The organization was founded to provide mutual aid to its members by pooling their resources to assist one another in times of need.
Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in the small community of Conejos, though considered Colorado’s oldest Catholic parish, it had not officially been listed in the National Register of Historic Places until now. The present building dates to 1927/48. After an 1863 adobe church in this location partially burned, the rear portion of the building was constructed and attached to twin adobe towers in 1926. Later in 1948 the façade and towers were redone in concrete brick. The stained glass windows were mostly likely crafted by Frank Watkins of the Watkins firm in Denver.
The National Register of Historic Places is the official list of historic places worthy of preservation, managed by the National Park Service and administered for the state by History Colorado. Listings may include districts, sites, buildings, structures, and objects. To learn more about the National Register visit https://www.nps.gov/subjects/nationalregister/index.htm. To see National Register-listed properties in Colorado, visit https://www.historycolorado.org/properties-listed-national-state-registers. To see a list of sites in the Sangre de Cristo National Heritage Area visit https://sdcnha.org/our-heritage/. Benefits to property owners for being listed include: formal recognition of the property’s significance and history, creation of a body of information that can be used for community planning, eligibility to obtain federal tax credits, eligibility to obtain state tax credits, eligibility to compete for grants. National Register listing does not impose restrictions on private property owners as to what they may or may not do with their property.
This material is based upon work assisted by a grant from the Historic Preservation Fund, National Park Service, Department of the Interior. Any opinions, findings, and conclusions or recommendations expressed in this material are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Department of the Interior.