Posts Tagged With: national historic registry


Jim says I try to stuff 600 years of history into 800 words. I suppose he is right. I’m always awed by history in out-of-the-way places I’ve never heard of such as the Acomo Pueblo near Casa Blanca, New Mexico.

This mesa was once home to 3,000 Acoma. Their homes were built during the late 15th and early 16th centuries. But evidence of the mesa’s occupation are as old as the 11th century, making it the longest continually occupied place in the United States.

Many homes line the sand streets though only about  thirty families live full-time on the Mesa.

The adobe houses reveal  layers of history. The bottom part of this building has smaller stones of odd and uneven sizes.  At one time the Pueblo could only be reached by climbing a stone stairway hacked into the side of the mountain. Every log, every stone had to be hand carried to the site. The top was restored  after a drivable road,  and a pick-up truck could carry loads of perfectly formed adobe bricks.

At one time, all houses were assessable by ladders. For safety, people entered from the upper story, no doors were built into the lower levels. People lived communally and could travel the length of the street inside of the houses from one end to the other.  The young men would pull up the ladders every night and set them down in the morning.

For light, a glassy type of stone, that had to cure for about a year,  was used to bring  a dim light inside. This pane is the only remaining pane of that  type on the mesa.  When the Spanish brought paned glass, the Acomo quickly converted to larger, better windows.

In this unique and fascinating place, the families worked together on the roof. They dried the corn, and ground it and took shelter inside from the heat.  The children and dogs played there. They dry farmed and collected rainwater in several large cisterns. Once the Spanish arrived and the horses drank from the open cisterns, algae contaminated the pools and are no longer used today. New closed cisterns provide drinking and cooking water. Residents have no electricity, nor running water. They now use Portable toilets.

This building is a Kiva with a special ladder. The top represents a cloud. The posts must be brought up the Mesa without touching the ground. Men only are allowed in the building, though the Acoma are a matriarchal society. A small hole in the thick wall, just under the fourth rung from the bottom, on the right, could be used by the women to shout in to the men if needed. The population swells on the weekends when friends and  relatives visit or ceremonies are held.

When the Spaniards arrived, they brought many good things to the Pueblo. They learned to steam corn and cook meats in these adobe ovens. Two of them remain on the Mesa. They brought peaches, peppers and grains to the area. But they also treated the native populations with disrespect. Ordered them to cease their religious practices and convert to Christianity.

They built an enormous church, with Acomo labor, over one of their Kivas.  The Acomo are the only people  to successfully rid themselves of a foreign power on their land. They kept the Spanish out for 100 years. The church, built in the 1600’s stayed unused for that 100 years. But, the Spanish returned.  The Acomo had ambushed the Spaniards by leading them into the zigzag maze of their Pueblo, separated them and killed them.

The Spaniards brought back a cannon and destroyed buildings, set fire to the Pueblo, and killed 500 Acomo and threw their bodies over the edge to the ground below. They amputated  one foot of every man aged 25 and over (except the very old) and sentenced them to 25 years of enslaved hard labor. The women were sentenced to hard labor. The old women and children were abandoned on the Mesa.

The Spaniards took 1500 people off the Mesa, but one thousand of them had hidden in neighboring villages below and returned to the Pueblo to continue life as they had known it. They built their doors small, so that anyone trying to enter, like a Spaniard with a tall helmet and a weapon, would have to stoop to enter and be vulnerable to attack from the inside the thick walls.

They surrounded their cemetery with an adobe wall with head shapes. They would dress these knobs up to look like people guarding the mesa.

The old church was the most fascinating building,ten feet thick at the base and four feet thick at the top. No pictures were allowed inside. When it was built the Spaniards claimed it wasn’t complete without a bell. The Acomo asked for a bell. The Spaniards said they could bring a bell in exchange for four children, two boys and two girls. The trade was made and the children were sent to be priests and nuns.

This historical treasure was a fascinating place to visit, just 60 miles West of Albuquerque. It is under continual restoration. They have a visitors center, a  film,cafe, gift shop and museum. The Acomo are renowned for their special pottery.

The nearby Casino provides a nice respite and a parking place for RVers like us. After our visit we had a Mothers Day lunch to strolling musicians in the Casino.

If you’d like to see the rest of my photos, click on the link below:

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San Francisco’s Painted Ladies have nothing on these beauties in miniature. Painted Ladies with all the rick-rack are common everywhere in New England. Marthas Vineyard is studded with them, but here, in the village of Oak Bluffs, these famous cottages resemble doll houses. Roof to roof in a circle surrounding a Methodist Church and outdoor Tabernacle, this Camp was established in 1835. The Tabernacle was built in 1879. The neighborhood expands and continues the theme.

Oak Bluffs on wikipedia tells all about these cottages and the Methodist Camp.

We weren’t the only tourists looking and taking pictures. I guess its expected. There is a cottage museum, which we couldn’t find, though we didn’t look too hard. It was enough to enjoy them from the outside.

We saw one family unloading their car for a stay in their cottage. Most of them are summer homes. They just smiled and didn’t seem to mind us taking pictures.

In fact, this cottage neighborhood is on the National Historic Register.

In some places the roof lines were joined by fret work, or stand a mere two inches apart.

One fascinating thing about them is that the porch decorations and roof line decorations are all different. We looked over more than a hundred of these cottages and no two were the same. Most had comfortable chairs, benches, often rocking chairs,  on their porches as well, usually painted to match the color of the cottage.

In town, the buildings are just as interesting. In fact,  Jim’s Aunt and Uncle, Jim and Rita Oesting owned and operated a business in this building for many years before retiring to Florida.

Another of Jim’s cousins, Rebecca Nicol, decided to work the island for the summer at Sandy’s Fish Market. Sandy’s was voted as having the best fish & chips on the island, so, of course, we indulged.

This grand old hotel is in the town of Vineyard Haven. We visited and gawked. The day was rainy and gray, but it didn’t diminish our enjoyment at all.
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From Mary’s desk:

Northwest of Morgan City lies the small town of Jeanrette where the travel books tell you to find a Sugar Museum. Southern Louisiana has a million acres in sugar cane. What could be sweeter? My partner’s M.O. is to drive the back roads leisurely. He turned off Hiway 90 onto 182 and discovered we were on the Old Spanish Trail. Scenic rural Louisiana, the bayou, cane fields, old antebellum houses, quaint small towns, old bridges. In fact, the hiway dead ended, rerouted us onto 90 to cross the bayou, and rerouted us back to 182. I guess the old bridge was no longer there.

Entering Franklin, we discovered old moss drenched oaks, beautiful antebellum homes and historic buildings.

It was time to have a look around. We talked to a number of friendly people around town. One woman told us we were looking at the back door of the house above. The old mansion’s front entrance faced the bayou where all transportation took place when it was built.

The jewelry store above had a sign in the window, Closed. Thanks For A Century Of Business. The woman next door told us its been in the same family for 100 years and its for sale for  $1,000,000. An aside: “Well, he lives in New York City. It was built in 1892. The awning isn’t even original to the building.” A hint of reproach in her voice for this out of touch son of Franklin.

Built in 1932, the Art Deco Teche Theatre above is newly refurbished and serves as a center for performing arts, with dinner seating and film. Showing this week was a program on African History. Aldon Mayon gave us a tour of the place and told us that at one time the balcony was reserved for “coloreds”. The street lighting out front is unique, curbside, as is the management’s program stating:  “Our goal is to offend everyone here as much as possible regarding race, religion, creed, etc.if we did not offend you, please tell a member of our staff so that we can make it up in the next performance.”
Aldon was a fountain of information. Years ago, a local bank was bought and turned into a house. Davey Crockett spent a night there.  To our question, he answered, “No, George Washington didn’t get this far south.”

This gorgeous old clock “…has been here as long as I have,” from a local who told us she, without her mother knowing, once drank at the bar where the Nights of Camelia had their meetings. She reminded us that the Nights of Camelia were the forerunners of the Ku Klux Klan. The Confederacy died hard,  and markers about town, the Battle of Irish Bend, local notables, etc. refer to the Confederate Soldiers and “The Federals” not the Union Army.

At Aldon’s suggestion we ate at Danny’s Cafe. Everything on this menu was battered and deep fried except the iced tea. When I return home I hope to drink enough orange juice to wash all that cholesteral away. I included a photo of this menu because I thought I’d gone back in time. Do you ever remember when an item on a menu cost 28 cents?
We loved discovering this wonderfully, historic friendly town, oh, and by the way, don’t forget to visit the Chitimacha Casino and reservation, this comment from an Indian woman who lives there. She said they are preserving their language and have a wonderful museum. We recommend it to you from her description even though we missed the turn-off and pushed on for Jeanrette.
The Sugar Museum of Jeanrette sits next to the oldest building in town, the Moresi Foundry, still milling parts and shipping them all over the world. The gears above are made from cypress. The sugar story is delineated in film and many, many pictures, so thoroughly, I think I could plant a crop tomorrow. The museum houses thousands of exhibits of life in the old south. Allow plenty of time if you go.
Brooches, like the one above, held a ladies thimble, needles, thread, tiny file and a bit of “snoose”. Pinned to her dress, she always carried her “essentials” with her.
I had never seem a kerosene stove before.
One placque showed a prisoner of war camp in Jeanrette during WWII.  German prisoners were cooperative it claims. They were sent to the fields to work the cane when Jeanrette’s men were gone to war.
The docent told us about oldest building in town, the LeJeune Bakery, still using the original brick oven to bake crusty french bread and ginger cakes. “If the light on the sign is lit, they still have bread for sale.” We were delighted to find the best bread we’ve had since entering the state.

Here, the updated equipment is old.  Oscar LeJuene’s descendants still operate the bakery which was built in 1884. The building is on the National Historic Registry. I took many pictures that can be seen by clicking the link below.

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