Friday, May 31, 2019


Laurie Beth Zuckerman visited the Mission San Agustin de Isleta on the Isleta Pueblo, south of Albuquerque for the first time this past Christmastime. This was one of the last mission churches 
I had left to visit in New Mexico. The old adobe church is a lovely structure, and looked festive for the holiday. It is one of the two oldest surviving mission churches in New Mexico. Isleta Pueblo was established prior to the 1598 Spanish occupation of New Mexico, and has a long and complex history that you can read about on the National Park Service website I have listed at the end of this post.

What fascinated me were the two Virgin Mary statues that were cloaked in miniature cloth shawls. I had never seen this done before, and it lent a uniquely Native American quality to these lovely old Catholic statues. The church also displays several other plaster saints, a creche, and and tasteful Christmas decorations.

You will want to put this historic mission church on your own wishlist of Southwest architectural gems.

San Agustin Mission Church at the Isleta Pueblo is listed in the National Register of Historical Places. Read more about this wonderful church at the following National Park Service website link.

Tuesday, May 28, 2019





The Cañon Pintado National Historic District is where I have photographed these petroglyphs and pictographs. I first visited this site in May 2010. The canyon has been occupied by people for 11,000 years. Most of the rock art is from the Fremont Culture, who lived in the canyon from approximately 200 BC to 1300 AD, and the Ute Indians, who lived in the area from approximately AD 1300 until the 1880s. The horse image created by the Ute Indians is the newest rock art drawing.

If you want to explore this area yourself, plan to visit for at least two days. This is a self-driving and there is short hiking trips to some of the sites. My photos only represent a portion of the sites in the canyon. The photos below were taken on May 26, 2019, and show The Guardian and more examples of The Carrot Man.


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This website below will provide you more information about locating this historic site in Western Colorado, north of Fruita:

Sunday, April 21, 2019

Laurie Beth Zuckerman's Plaza del Cerro Oratorio Photos, Chimayo, New Mexico

How many times have I visited the Santuario de Chimayó in northern New Mexico? I assumed that this was the most historic district since I began visiting in the early 90s. I thought I had photographed everything about this world famous Hispanic region, but the most significant area was actually just down the road between the Santuario and the High Road to Taos. Apparently I hadn't done my research well over the years. My husband and I have stayed multiple times in local Bed and Breakfast Inns, and no one ever clued us in. We had been passing that little right-hand turn more times than I would want to count.

Last August, while I was wandering around in my car hunting for the Chimayó Museum, I stumbled upon the nearly abandoned Plaza de San Buenaventura de Chimayó, known as the Plaza del Cerro, the oldest intact Spanish Plaza in the United States. Begun in the 1700s, this 1.6 acre fortified plaza was built to protect Spaniards from raids by the Apache, Comanche, Navajo, and Ute Indian tribes. I walked the old plaza lanes lined with the crumbling adobe walls of rundown homes, a post office, a general store, and the tiny chapel, known as the Oratorio. It seemed so sad that the plaza was overgrown with weeds. Only a handful of residents still live on the plaza, and one building even offers lodging, if it is still open this year.

Allow me to tour you through this private Oratorio with my own cellphone photos taken last August 2018. This chapel was built around 1830. The wooden altar (reredo) is thought to be painted by José Rafael Aragón, the New Mexican Santero whose altar panels are the distinguishing feature of the world-renowned Santuario de Chimayó, in the neighboring community of Potrero. The inside walls are covered in a mud gypsum mixture known as yeso. It was recently restored by the Chimayó Cultural Preservation Association, which was cofounded by Don Usner, local writer, photographer, who grew up in the area and established the wonderful Chimayó Museum. I believe he is the man who invited us to join his tour of the Oratorio and Plaza. Ask for him at the museum if you should visit there, as the chapel is locked.

Read more about the history of the Plaza del Cerro and its restoration projects at:

Pasatiempo Santa Fe New
Art of Space
A little place I know: Chimayó’s Plaza del Cerro
By Paul Weideman
September 22, 2017