Friday, August 19, 2011

The Museums of Taos, New Mexico: A Taos Unlimited Blog Series, Part 4

This is the fourth in a series of blog entries about the museums in Taos and the surrounding area.

La Hacienda de los Martinez
One of the few remaining Northern New Mexico style Spanish Colonial “Great Houses” open to the public, this hacienda served as an important trade center between the northern frontier of the Spanish Empire and Mexico City.

Built in 1804, this fortress-like building with massive adobe walls became an important trade center for the northern boundary of the Spanish Empire. The Hacienda was the final terminus for the Camino Real (the royal road) which connected northern New Mexico to Mexico City. The Hacienda also was the headquarters for an extensive ranching and farming operation.

Severino and his wife Maria del Carmel Santistevan Martinez raised six children in the Hacienda. Their eldest son was the famous Padre Antonio Martinez who battled the French Bishop Lamy to preserve the Hispanic character of the Catholic Church in the territory. The Padre was a dynamic social reformer who created the first co-educational school in New Mexico and brought the first printing press to Taos.

Today, the Hacienda’s 21 rooms, surrounding two courtyards, provide the visitor with a rare glimpse of the rugged frontier life and times of the early 19th century.

To read about the other museums in Taos, New Mexico, visit the Museums section on Taos Unlimited

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