Historic Towns & Places
The Old Missions of San Xavier del Bac and Tumacacori|
Father Euseblo Francisco Kino, a Jesuit born in the Tyrolean Alps, founded the Mission San Xavier del Bac which became a major mission in the area. A chain of missions followed throughout this Northern Spanish area You may visit these missions located near Tucson.
San Luis, Oldest Town in Colorado|
San Luis, Colorado's oldest town, was settled by La Gente de la Tierra (the people of the land) who came from Taos and Mora. Hike up to the top of San Pedro Mesa along the
Stations of the Cross. At the top is All Saints Chapel and beautiful views of the San Luis Valley.
Colorado's Oldest Parish in Conejos
In the town of Conejos, visit Our Lady of Guadalupe Church, the oldest parish in Colorado, constructed in 1856. It's first settlers were from the Abiquiu area of New Mexico.
In 1858, the U.S. Army established an army fort calling it Fort Garland to guard the San Luis Valley. Lt. Col. Kit Carson commanded Hispanic New Mexican Volunteers at Fort Garland from 1866-67. During the 1870's, Buffalo Soldiers were posted here, a unit created after the Civil War.
The Bent brothers operated the Bent, St. Vrain and Company from 1831 at a location just north of the ArkansasRiver near present day La Junta, Colorado 10 years before the opening of the Santa Fe Trail. The Fort they built was a trading fort, not a military fort and it was the largest structure of its time between the Missouri River and the Pacific Ocean.
When Trinidad was founded in 1842 by Mexican traders anxious to take advantage of the trade opportunities offered by the Santa Fe Trail, the area was still a part of Mexico. Trinidad is now a city displaying the evidence of its prosperous past, the cobblestone streets, the restored commercial district, restored historic homes such as the Bloom’s and the Baca’s.
Durango was built by the railroad which came in the early 1880s to service the mining industry and completed its extension to Silverton in 1882. Revisit this time in history today by taking a ride on the Narrow Guage train to Silverton and back.
Leadville has a 70 block National Historic District. Take a walking tour of the Victorian buildings, visit the antique shops, the National Mining Hall of Fame & Museum - largest in the country, tour the 1870s Healy House and Dexter Cabin, the Tabor Home, or visit the Tabor Opera House.
The lure of this area was the soothing hot springs over which the Utes, Cheyenne, and Commanches battled for years. But in 1885, a wealthy miner from Aspen, Walter Devereaux, began his dream of a world class resort for the wealthy. Called the "Marvel of the Age", the hotel hosted the rich and famous and a destination for presidents.
Historic Town of Taos|
Taos was an important trade center for the northern boundary of the Spanish Empire and the final stop for the Camino Real connecting northern New Mexico to Mexico City.
Kit Carson, who became a translator for a wagon train to Chihuahua, came to Taos as a young man in 1826 having joined a wagon train west from Missouri and made his home base in Taos. Later in the 1900s Taos would become an important art colony.
Montezuma Castle home of United World College
Built in the late 1800s as a resort by the Santa Fe Railroad, the castle was bought in 1982 by Armand Hammer who was persuaded by Prince Charles of England to turn it into the US campus for the United World Colleges.
The Salmon Ranch & La Cueva Mill
Along Hwy 518 toward Mora, the historic district called "La Cueva" can be found in this rural ranching area. Here, you will find the old grist mill, built in the 1870s, which was one that helped to supply Fort Union helping La Cueva to develop into one of the region's most important commercial centers.
Fort Union was the largest U.S. military installation in the Southwest during the 19th century. The first fort was built after the Mexican War in 1851 to protect travelers on the Santa Fe Trail. The ruins that can be seen at the site are of the third fort built after the Civil War in 1863.
Historic Santa Fe Plaza
The old Spanish settlements of New Mexico were built according to a plan proscribed by the Spanish Empire in 1573. This plan required all settlements to be built around a plaza. The Santa Fe Plaza is the most famous plaza and the end of the long Santa Fe trail. See the old adobe buildings and the oldest church and house in the US.
Constructed between the 1300s and 1400s, Taos Pueblo has now been designated by UNESCO as a World Heritage Site. It was once thought by Spanish Conquistadors in the 1500s to be one of the Seven Cities of Cibola. Later in the 1600s, the pueblo became the seat of the 1680 pueblo revolt removing the Spanish settlers to El Paso.
Chimayo has long been a major center for weaving with a history going back to the early 1700s. It is also a famous pilgrimage site with thousands of pilgrims yearly visiting El Santuario built in the early 1800s.
The Las Vegas Plaza
Las Vegas Plaza was the main stopping place for the many traders heading west on the Santa Fe Trail. When the caravans arrived in the Las Vegas plaza,
Church bells rang and carts of the townspeople were set up in the plaza to supply the traders with food, wood, and other goods.
Recommendations for a memorable stay in the American West