Historic People

Eppie Archuletta

Eppie Archuleta

Diego de Vargas

Diego de Vargas

Billy Adams

Billy Adams

Lafayette Head

Lafayette Head

Kit Carson

Kit Carson

Cuerno Verde

Cuerno Verde

Albert H. Pfeiffer

Albert H. Pfeiffer

Don Juan de Oňate

Don Juan de Oňate

Virginia Piper West

Virginia Piper West

Georgiana West

Georgiana West

Alex I. Moloney

Alex I. Moloney

Lettuce King of the San Luis Valley

Lettuce King of the San Luis Valley

Jack Cooper

Dr. Jack Kyle Cooper

Jack Cooper

Espinosa Brothers

Jack Cooper

José Amarante Garcia

Jack Cooper

Buffalo Soldiers

Jack Cooper

 Father Patrick Valdez

"Menke

 Menke Sisters

Historic Places

Sacred Heart Church

Sacred Heart Catholic Church

Bain’s Department Store

Post Office

Alamosa Post Office

Diego de Vargas

Alamosa Masonic Hall

Diego de Vargas

Alamosa County Courthouse

Denver and Rio Grande Depot

Denver & Rio Grande Railroad Depot

American National Bank Building

Albert H. Pfeiffer

Denver & Rio Grande Railroad Locomotive No. 169

Jack Cooper

Medano Ranch Headquarters

first Baptist church

First Baptist Church

Husung Hardware

Husung Hardware

St Thomas Episcopal Church

St. Thomas Episcopal Church

howard store

Howard Store (Hooper Town Hall)

Superintendent's Residence

Superintendent’s Residence

Trujillo Homesteadr

Trujillo Homestead

Zapata Ranch Headquarters

Zapata Ranch Headquarters

Costila Crossing Bridge

Costilla Crossing Bridge

Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad San Juan Extension

"Denver&

Denver & Rio Grande Railroad Antonito Depot

Mt Pleasant School

Mt. Pleasant School

Denver & Rio Grande Western Locomotive No. 168

"Denver&

Denver & Rio Grande Western Railroad Engine 463

Palace Hotel

"SPMDTU

SPMDTU Concilio Superior

Warshauer Mansion

"La

La Jara Depot

"La

La Capilla De San Antonio De Padua

San Rafael Presbyterian Church

McIntire Ranch

Pike’s Stockade Site

Our Lady of Guadalupe Church

Garcia–Espinosa–Garland Ranch

St. Joseph’s Church

San Luis Valley Southern Rattlesnake Trestle

Iglesia de la Inmaculada Concepción

Chama SPMDTU

Fort Garland Museum

Garcia School

Capilla de San Isidro

Capilla de Viejo San Acacio

San Acacio San Luis Southern Railway Depot

Iglesia de San Francisco de Assisi

Plaza de San Luis de la Culebra Historic District

Rito Seco Creek Culvert

Salazar House

San Luis Bridge

Sociedad de Nuestro Padre Jesus Nazareno (San Francisco Morada)

Adobe Potato Cellars

Iglesia de San Pedro y San Pablo

Rattlesnake Trestle

Wayside Stage Stop

Lafayette Head Home and Ute Indian Agency

Sanford Museum

Historic Events

The Day the Treaty of Guadalupe was signed

On February 2, the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo was signed, ending the two year Mexican – American War. The treaty added an additional 525,000 square miles to the United States territory, including present day California, Arizona, Colorado, Nevada, New Mexico, and Wyoming. The treaty also recognized the Rio Grande as America’s Southern boundary. In return, the United States paid Mexico 15 million dollars and agreed to settle all claims of U.S citizens against Mexico. The Treaty promised to protect the 80,000 citizens who lived within the area, but the protections failed to honor civil and property rights of former Mexican citizens.

Many of these residents had been given land grants from Spain, Mexico, or from the New Mexico Governor. These grants provided individual family plots as well as communal plots for hunting and grazing. American law did not recognize communal plots and in result lands were lost, impoverishing the communities and families that utilized them. In the 1960s and 1970s, Chicano activists from Southern Colorado and Northern New Mexico, fought to regain access to their communal lands. However, it wasn’t until 2002 when activists from the San Luis Valley successfully regained access to some of their communal lands.

National Day of Remembrance

February 19 is National Day of Remembrance (Tsuioku no hi in Japanese), which observes the internment of Japanese Americans during World War II. On  this day in 1942, President Franklin D. Roosevelt signed Executive Order 9066, which gave the United States Army authority to remove civilians from militaryzones in Washington, Oregon, and California.This led to the incarceration, removal, and displacement of 120,000 Americans of Japanese ancestry.

In the San Luis Valley, the ripples of this executive order were felt within the Japanese American community. The Buddhist Church in La Jara could no longer hold services as it would result in too many Japanese gathering in one location. The Church was boarded up and only used for funerals. Bessie Konishi, who was born in 1935, recalls the prejudice she felt during this time as her family was not allowed in certain stores, had to sit in the balcony at the movies, denied services, and was cat-called on the streets of Alamosa. Every February, the Japanese American communities commemorate Executive Order 9066 by reflecting on the impact that incarceration had on their families and communities, as well as providing educational opportunities on the importance of protecting and preserving civil rights and liberties.

(Information and Photos from: Japanese American Citizen League, The Crestone Eagle, and the National
Museum of American History.)

The Maestas Case

By Sylvia Lobato The nation’s earliest and longest-unheralded victory in the war against educational segregation took place in the San Luis Valley between 1912 and 1914 and the big winners were Alamosa’s children.

In 1914, “The Denver Catholic Register” called the decision “historic,” noting that it “was the first time in the history of America that a court fight was made over an attempt to segregate Mexicans in school.” The suit grew from grassroots concern for equal education of Alamosa’s children.

Lying unnoticed from 1914 to 2016 and labeled Francisco Maestas et al vs. George H. Shone et al, the suit dates back to 1912 when Alamosa was still part of Conejos County, 10-year-old Miguel Maestas was forced to walk seven blocks from his home on the north end of Ross Ave. to the “Mexican” school building at the intersection of Ninth and Ross. The McKinney directory listed the “Mexican Preparatory School” as being at Ninth and Ross. There was no telephone number.

On Sept. 2, 1913, went to the Superintendent of Schools and asked to enroll his son. The request was refused and Maestas was told he had to enroll his son in the “Mexican School.” Land for the school was purchased in 1909 to serve only “Mexicans.” Maestas filed suit and was soon joined by fellow Hispanics and the Catholic Church.

Despite the fact that the area had long been part of the United States and the persons involved were born here, the reference was made to “Mexican” children and “American” families.

After a lengthy trial, District Court Judge Charles Holbrook determined that the plaintiffs had made a sufficient case for admittance of the students and issued an order to the school board and superintendent to admit the children to the public school most convenient to their homes. Holbrook stated that “in the opinion of the court … the only way to destroy this feeling of discontent and bitterness which has recently grown up, is to allow all children so prepared, to attend the school nearest them.”