Posts Categorized: Historic Places

Vacation Destination: Quarai

Winter officially begins on December 21st, and already I’m making summertime plans to revisit the Salinas Pueblo Missions National Monument. This trio of abandoned pueblos/missions in central New Mexico is—according to modern modes of transportation—off the beaten path. But in its heyday, everyone got around on foot. Although the area was temporarily resettled in the… Read more »

If These Walls Could Speak

While visiting any Mission ruin, I have to inspect the walls. The bricks, commonly known as adobe, are made from mud and fibrous organic matter that, if left unprotected, tend to melt back into the earth. Any surface ornamentation of plaster and paint on the walls is usually the first to go. But where faded… Read more »

Spanish Colonial Architecture

Lest it all disappear . . . The UNESCO (United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization) supports heritage conservation around the world. This includes, but is not limited to, studying the impact of climate change on historical and natural property, identifying strategies to reduce natural and man-made disasters, and working to preserve historic structures. In my study of the Old Spanish… Read more »

Light a Candle for Me

I came as a tourist. The small chapel that sits on the west side of Mission San Xavier (pronounced San ha-vee-air) del Bac, or as it is affectionately known, the White Dove of the Desert in Tucson, Arizona, is open to the faithful and the curious. I hail from both persuasions. As I think about… Read more »

The Death of the Ancients

Did the Spaniards of 1540 understand biological warfare? The use of attack dogs, who often wore their own suit of armor, is documented (la monteria infernal, or the hellish hunt, was the conquistadors’ sport of siccing Mastiffs on Native men, women, and children). But did they perceive how extensively European disease would decimate the Indian population? Smallpox–Big Problem From 1519 to about 1920, the… Read more »

When Will the World End?

Ever heard of Joachim of Fiore? This Twelfth Century Italian theologian came up with a dispensation theory, or a distribution of world history, that fell into three periods–each one associated with a person of the Christian Trinity. 1) The time of God the Father was all time before the arrival of Jesus Christ, 2) the… Read more »

Preserving Our Past

My father is 84 years old. His mind is sharp, his memories vivid, but the photographs he stores in a shoebox on his desk are in bad shape. Since digital programs are available to repair the cracks of age, I decided to scan a few pictures and return them to their original glory, but when… Read more »

When California was an Island

Imagine your own island in the sun. What amenities might you enjoy? Tropical birds that sing sweetly and lull you to sleep? Luscious fruits that fall gently in a tropical breeze? Bugs that keep to themselves? Native inhabitants to care for your every whim? … wait … what? Now hold your horses (except that there… Read more »

The Key to Naming Sixty Saintly Cities

What do Florida, Texas, California, and New Mexico have in common? Spaniards looking for spices, riches, and slaves conquered these places sometime around the fifteenth century. Evidence of who subjugated  the land remains today in local directories and on maps. A Holy Tradition Franciscans and Spanish soldiers often named New World missions and provinces after… Read more »

Conquistadors in The Little Ice Age

SPRINGTIME IN THE ROCKIES For all the glorious wildflowers that peek through the thawing ground, there are just as many snowflakes that are apt to fall … as happened at my house one mid-April Sunday evening. By Monday afternoon, the snow had all but vanished and warmer weather prevailed, but look out, Wednesday arrived with… Read more »