Sunday, November 6, 2011

Revisiting America

The Taos Plaza, a plaza being the town center, in Spanish tradition, always housed the church and governmental offices, is over 200 years old.
My guidebook suggested you stand in the center of the Plaza and make a 360 degree scan of the important things in the area. The first being the statue
of Padre Antonio Jose Martinez whose influence as a legislator, leader, priest, and educator had an incredible impact on Taos and New Mexico.
The Hotel La Fonda stands on the site where many hotels have stood, but since 1937 has been the official name and place of one of The places to stay in Taos. Another story tells about this site being Long John Dunn's casino, later.
East, a US flag flies over the Plaza. During the Civil War, Kit Carson and some of his friends raised the Union flag to give the message of sympathy with the North, and they stood guard over this flag around the clock.
Taos has special government permission to fly this US flag 24 hours a day in honor of this event.
A Bronze Cross Memorial, to the east also, memorializes the many members of the New Mexican National guard who fought in the Phiippians, were captured by the Japanese, at least half died in the infamous Bataan Death March and in prison camps.
To the north you face what used to be the County Courthouse, but now the building houses shops. During the depression in the 1930's the WPA employed artists to paint murals in the building, this area now being blocked off from public view. Up exterior stairs in the back are paintings by the famed Mexican artist Diego Rivera, also kept from public view.
Facing north is a small gazebo used for concerts and other performances. Stairs going under the structure once housed part of the town jail.
The church Our Lady of Guadalupe, once part of the plaza, can be seen back of the gazebo and was first built in the early 1800's, replaced in 1911, burned and rebuilt in 1961, but definitely a small beautiful structure.
This plaza, as most centers of small towns, will continue to change, but the fact remains, the history is captured by the memorials and the fact that the area will always be known as The Plaza.

1 comment:

  1. Hi Lou,
    Loved the description of the plaza! Couldn't help but wonder why all the murals are being blocked off from public view?
    Church was wonderful today...Andy conducted the music service and played the trumpet...always so enjoyable and uplifting to me. Jim had an excellent sermon centered around a passage in Revelations! He's been doing a wonderful job opening the Scriptures to us as we wait for a new pastor.
    It's pecan season here, so I've been picking them out of their shells! Blessings as you continue to explore! Love, Eileen :)

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