Hewitt originally wanted the entire site exposed for visitors to see and intended to rebuild the pueblo as it would have looked when occupied - a Tiguex Williamsburg in time for the 400th Anniversary of Coronado’s arrival. But the deadline loomed and he ran out of money.
Only two structures were replicated: a one story room block that no longer exists and the square painted kiva. Restoration of this replica kiva and its murals was the subject of the lecture April 21, 2013 sponsored by the Friends of Coronado Monument.
Preservation History of the WPA Era Painted Kiva murals at Kuaua
Richard Reycraft, Cultural Resources Program Manager, New Mexico State Monuments.*
Hewitt intended to complete excavation, preservation and replication work not only on the Coronado site of Kuaua but also on the neighboring Santiago site, partially excavated in 1934. But only Kuaua was purchased. The Santiago site was subsequently partially destroyed in the 1950s by gravel mining. It was recently nearly completely destroyed for a housing development.
The Kuaua kiva reconstruction was complete by 1938 and a Zia Indian man named Ma-Pei-Wi was hired to recreate the painted murals as frescoes. Deterioration was fast, probably owing to wartime concerns and attention elsewhere. The eventual 'improvements' to deal with constant moisture problems read like a DON'T list for adobe restoration with concrete use at the top.
Rainstorms repeatedly flooded the interior and in 1974 a concrete roof, sloped to the west, was constructed. The mud floor and portions of the walls were encased in concrete and concrete steps were built. The roof slope and steps caused water to flow down and around the structure becoming trapped and causing the structure and the frescoes, to deteriorate.
Recent work has been completed to “restore the restored” kiva and murals. The original murals, of which there were no less than 27 wall layers, are in the Coronado Museum on site.
*They will now have to change their name to “Historic Site” along with all other New Mexico monuments when a bill passed this past legislative session takes effect. It seems silly and few are very happy about it.