Second home subdivisions are lonely places this time of year, full of
ghost houses in woods where bear and deer shuffle around at night and elk
squeals echo. It's getting cold and there's been snow in the high country. The summer people are mostly gone. Not me. I'm stuffing wood into the gaping maw of this open fireplace that sucks more heat out of the Whitelodge than it radiates.
"Outdated" is what some would call our subdivision. That's real estate code for fifty-year old snow-beaten second homes on narrow rutted roads. They call it "charming" too. Properties don't sell fast. That's if you can get warring family factions to agree on selling in the first place. The old places, built by someone's granddad, are always entangled in trust ownership. Things like replacing a roof takes years of haggling with distant cousins or stir old seething resentments and memories. Charming takes work.
There are newer subdivisions in Vallecito* with new shiny houses indistinguishable from those of any upscale California, Florida or Texas neighborhood. No complications of place and history entangle their finance and construction. New owners bring all their toys and stuff garages with ATV's and snowmobiles. They've brought their politics with them too.
Bereft of charm.
*Little Valley is what the Spanish called it. The Ute name was something like crooked water. Some insist on the misprounciation "valley-cito."
Glad you're back! Bummer about the water line and too bad about your tooth. Good luck at the dentist and let me know if you need a ride. Those can be rough.
No kidding about the weeds at your place. No wonder you call it the Weed Ranch. I always thought it was a pot joke. Save me a couple of those tumbleweeds for a Christmas project would you? Tremendous!
Let me know if you want help with those fallen branches. Sorry about your lawn chairs.
Those Franken-stickers are back in that northeast corner (and the SW and SE corners too.) You'll need your leather gloves, chaps and boots for those. They're there in the shed where I moved them from under a leak.
The goatheads were pretty bad but the cows got them good when they got out. The fence fix with the chaise lounge and wire is obviously temporary. I think the shrubs will recover, so no worries there.
You were right to worry about mold around that roof leak in the kitchen. Boy, that dark spot looks bad.
I noticed the ladder was gone or I would have checked on your gutters.
There was some guy hanging around the ditch a few weeks ago and I found a wet sleeping bag back there. But with all those mosquitos I think he's moved on.
That reminds me, I heard something under your shed. Mice? Skunk?
Oh, and your neighbor - the one that was mad at you ... Or the other one that was mad at you after that - he's asking for that lost gate key so you may need a bolt-cutter.
Other than that everything looks fine. Welcome back!
A Tiwa* Pueblo, one of at least a dozen that existed when Coronado arrived in 1540, sat where Alameda Elementary School is today. The County trenched sewer lines throughout the valley without letting archaeology get in the way. This included cutting through the school site and the site of the old church further west. Crews only slowed down for history when they turned up churchyard bones.
In other valley locations the County has plopped big deep drainage ponds within yards of known pueblo ruins and other archaeological sites. They broke no laws, sadly. Without use of federal funding clearance surveys aren't required. There are no restrictions on private land at all. A developer may have to note a site with a subdivision action but the only time it slows anything down is when human bones are found. Some requirements are triggered then but that's mostly about respect for the dead. It's not the same thing as respect for history.
Oh well. An engineer I worked for once said, "What does an old adobe wall have to tell me?" I actually tried to answer but it was rhetorical and he waved me away.
According to church history and resident Barbara Santillanes Tapia, there were 7000 Tiguex Indians and a Spanish Mission at Alameda in 1620. Six years later the Indian population had dropped to 2000 and by the time of the Pueblo Revolt in 1680 there were only 300 Indians at Alameda. Along with Sandia Pueblo residents, they actively participated in the 1680 revolt and an earlier uprising in 1650.
Lively place once, this valley.
*Tiwa is the same as Tiguex. I'm not consistent in usage. Sue me.
Father Troy borrowed some chains from my uncle, my mother's brother, to go get rocks for the foundation of the church, rocks from a place they called La Piedra del Rayo, beyond Edith. He dug those rocks with a team of horses.
The old road to Juan Tabo Canyon from this valley isn't a road anymore. But you can still see it on the aerial from 1963 and google maps, a road scar running east-northeast from the valley through the old Coronado airport, also gone now. Like a lot of old features in the landscape of growing cities, the road became obsolete, largely forgotten and is nearly or completely lost.
It was the direct route between places barely known to us today and used for purposes now deemed unnecessary - like hunting, herding cows and sheep and hauling wood and rocks. It makes a bee-line from the early Spanish village and even earlier Tiguex pueblo at Alameda to the closest canyon in the Sandias.
The villagers in Alameda lost their adobe church, and everything else, in a flood in 1904. In 1907 the community began construction of a new church under the direction of Father Troy. To assure that this one would never melt in a flood, it was built of stone - huge granite boulders and sandstone rocks from the Sandia Mountains. Parishioners pulled wagons and dragged giant boulders in chains behind teams of horses between 1907 and 1911 when main construction was undertaken. This explains the deep scars that make the road bed still visible today.
The church, Nativity of The Blessed Virgin Mary, was consecrated in 1913 making this is the 100th anniversary of the "new" church. It will be celebrated. The road won't. The road has been eclipsed, truncated and duplicated in name. "Alameda Boulevard" slices across the valley carrying commuter and truck traffic across the Rio Grande to and from Albuquerque's sprawling westside and Interstate 25.
But you can still see a little bit of the road in the valley for a short stretch between Fourth Street and Edith Boulevard - an unremarkable segment except for the view to the east. Where once a mental institution dominated the mesa, now the Balloon Fiesta Park and Museum command the mesa and the view.
Lee Hewitt led the first excavations at what is now Coronado Monument
in the summer of 1934. In trenching the following year they discovered
the painted kiva.
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.
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.*