|Moonrise over Hernandez, Ansel Adams 1941|
He was also working on a Historic Structures Report for the Salinas Pueblo Missions to the South of Santa Fe, which I visited among many other sites that summer. I became pretty well versed in pueblo architecture, not only the latter Spanish pueblos but the much earlier pueblos of the native Americans.
|Taos, Ansel Adams 1941|
Santa Fe became the administrative seat for the territorial government, but it was too vast a land holding to keep other settlers out. The Republic of Texas tried to claim all the land as far as the Rio Grande in 1836, but since much of this land was controlled by the Comanche, it proved pretty hard to hold onto. It wasn't until 1846 that Stephen W. Kearny took control of the region following the Mexican War and established a U.S. provisional government there. Still, conflicts arose because this was a well settled land, and the native population didn't recognize the authority of the United States.
|New Mexican woman, Ansel Adams 1937|
I found myself reading John Nichols' New Mexico Trilogy, best known for the first book, The Milagro Beanfield War, which was made into a movie. The cast of characters made New Mexico into a bit of a "Hobbit land," but his later novels were much darker in character as land development became the dominant theme. New Mexico was a rapidly transforming state.
|Georgia O'Keefe and Orville Cox, Ansel Adams 1937|
Tourists come in droves to Santa Fe and Taos. Santa Fe had since been "puebloized" to make it look more "authentic," but it had once been an eclectic mix of Victorian and pueblo architecture. Albuquerque to the south was a sprawling modern city best known for its annual Balloon Fiesta. The suburban sprawl was hemmed in to some degree by the Sandia Mountains. You can take a drive or a tramway to the top and get a magical view. I preferred the small towns like Cerrillos, which still retained their local character. It seemed like a short bike ride from Santa Fe, but I just about melted in the sun getting there. So much for the "dry heat."
I ventured to the Southern edge of the state on other occasions. I took my family through Carlsbad and Roswell in 1999, skirting by the Guadalupe Mountains. I couldn't resist not showing them the famed hub of alien activity. We stayed at an old ranch between the two that purportedly Jesse James had stopped off at one point. We drove North above White Sands, eventually reaching El Morro, where I had a friend who worked as a park ranger.
|Ansel Adams, 1942|