|We headed out Thursday on US 60 going East|
towards Mountainair, NM
|Our first stop was at an open air restaurant in Mountainair called|
the Bakery for lunch. A friend had recommended we try this
place and we are glad we took her advice. Lunch was delicious
and the bakery items we bought, for later, were also excellent.
|Paintings on the side of three buildings in Mountainair.|
The Salinas Valley was occupied as early as the 10th Century, first by Mogollon then Anasazi cultures, who established major trade centers that served both the Rio Grande villages and the Plains Indian tribes. Franciscan missionaries built mission complexes at each of the Salinas Pueblos. What remains today are austere yet beautiful reminders of the early contact between the Pueblo Indians and Spanish Colonials. Severe drought, Apache raids and an epidemic forced the abandonment of the pueblos in the 1670s.
There are ruins of mission churches at Abo and Quarai,; these are the two we chose to visit on this trip. There are two more churches at Gran Quivira, which we hope to visit next time we come this way.
It was first proclaimed Gran Quivira National Monument on November 1, 1909. It was listed on the National Register of Historical Places on December 19, 1980. It was enlarged when two New Mexico State Monuments were absorbed into it on November 2, 1981 and now comprises a total of 1,100 acres. It was renamed on October 28, 1988.
Interesting information we learned from one of the rangers, by tradition the woman and children of the community did most of the building of the masonry house blocks of the Pueblo and Mission structures.
She also mentioned parts of the structures we see today were refurbished and rebuilt by the CCC. Research on the internet stated that stabilization of the walls did take place in the 1930's and was done by the CCC. Further reading talks about several stabilization and excavations throughout the years. (Above information from a card obtained at Visitor Center and the internet.)
Our first stop was the Quarai ruins about 8 miles north of Mountainair.
|The view of the church as you approach the|
Quarai Contact Station and Museum.
|Contact Station on right and Museum on left.|
|The first sign you see as you start down the trail.|
Our grandson, Noah, is always asking if we have seen any
rattlesnakes. Well Noah this is why we have not, we are
respecting their privacy.
It is a small museum located here but well worth the time to walk in and view the displays and information boards. There is a lot of information about the Quarai Pueblo.
I am including below pictures I took of some of the information boards. This is information I wanted to have, you can just scroll past. All the information is written in both English and Spanish but wanting to get the best possible shot for reading I did not include the Spanish.
|Starting down the trail.|
|Inside the Church|
|Looking up at front entrance|
|This picture was taken from the picnic area.|
|Road into the ruins with the mountains as a back drop.|
|First view of the ruins as we pulled into the parking area.|
|Across the road from above picture.|
|As can be seen in the above picture there is a lot of|
unexcavated area at this Pueblo. The Ranger on duty
told us, at this time, there are no plans for any further
excavation at this site.
|Close up of walls.|
It was at this point the battery died and there are no more pictures of this ruin.
Abo was a thriving community when the Spaniards visited in 1581. But disaster struck this Pueblo as it did the other Salinas Pueblos and sometime between 1672 and 1678 the people of Abo left to take refuge in towns along the Rio Grande.
After spending time here we continued West on US 60 back home to the Crusader. It was a day well spent learning some of the history of this country we call home. Some of it beautiful and some of it hard to learn but important to know just the same. We are looking forward to spending time exploring the third Pueblo, Gran Quivira.
"If you want to understand today, you have to search yesterday."