THE FOOT PRINTS OF THOSE THAT CAME BEFORE US OFTEN SHOW US THE WAY TO THAT WHICH WE SEEK, ESCAPE, PLEASURE, TREASURE, AND QUITE POSSIBLY SELF.........DAVE ANDERSON
Wednesday, December 12, 2007
RARE PHOTO OF THE U.S. GRAND JURY IN SOCORRO N.M.- In the early 1880s, Socorro was the center of a frenetic mining boom, with thousands of silver and lead ore deposits located in and about the area. The town was incorporated in 1884, and became a center of commerce and agriculture, as well. Here we see a group of men identified as the U.S. Grand Jury standing on the steps of the courthouse. Slightly underdeveloped, but a fine image, nevertheless. The picture has been cut from an old photo album.
Tuesday, December 11, 2007
The Adolfo Torres Home
Martina B. Torres
403 California Street
Antique furniture, original pressed-tin ceilings, thick adobe walls and historical photographs are among the hallmarks of the Adolfo Torres home on South California Street making its second appearance (first time in ‘70s) as part of the 2007 AAUW Visitas de Natividad holiday tour of homes.
The grey-and-white structure reflects a blend of New Mexico Territorial with Greek revival, in the words of Rita Torres Salazar, who shares the home with her mother, Martina, a former second grade teacher at the old Mt. Carmel School.
Mrs. Torres is the widow of E.E. Torres, a lifelong educator for whom E.E. Torres Elementary School was named. Mr. Torres died in 1991. Rita and her sister, Lorraine, grew up in the home that had been purchased in the late 1800s by their grandfather, Adolfo from the Lowenstein Brothers. Mrs. Torres is the former Martina Baca whose formerly of Las Vegas, New Mexico. She moved to Socorro, and into the Torres home, shortly after first time visit to Socorro her honeymoon.
The home may have originated as a one room way station, and at one time included four small other homes as part of a family compound. The property line was cut back twice to make way for the highway. At one time, the front gate stood where the median is today. Porch swings date back at least 100 years.
High ceilings and a large kerosene chandelier greet visitors in the foyer, and everywhere are framed photographs of family; a collage of the 1901 New Mexico Territorial House of Representatives where Mrs Torres’ grandfather, Zacharias Valdez is among the representatives.
Off the foyer is a formal living room, or parlor, a deep room filled with hand-carved furniture including velvet-covered chairs – some with hand-carved faces on the arms – and a low Asian tea coffee table. Heavy brocade curtains line the front window, and warm colors and lace create an elegant mood. The original pressed-tin ceiling completes the setting.
Off the entryway on the other side is the dining room and a table with enough leaves to seat 20, a gift from Adolfo to his wife, Luz. Antique artifacts abound.
A trastero, or pantry, and two bedrooms from the southern part of the home, one belonging to Mrs. Torres. Its most prominent feature is a large painting of Our Lady of Sorrows, rescued from a convent in Las Vegas. Other religious artifacts and paintings, along with family photographs, line both bedroom walls.
A large, recently remodeled kitchen faces west. Saltillo floor tile, a pellet stove, ceiling fan, a breakfast table and a small island lend an air of modern convenience to the kitchen area, designed for warmth and efficiency. Refreshments will be served in this comfortable setting.
The kitchen extends into a family room. Dark wood shelving lines the shade-covered windows that overlook the back porch; and a large couch invites visitors to sit and visit. The room, bathed in late-afternoon sun, reflects the heart of the home.
Off the kitchen is a bedroom, which forms the original part of the houses, and an office converted from what once was a sleeping porch. Many early homes were built without closets, and a tall armoire in the bedroom stands as testament to those times.
The Torres home is a charming mix of old and new and a must-see stop on this year’s tour.
Monday, December 10, 2007
MANY APPARITIONS APPEAR IN VARIOUS PLACES AND A BARN SHOULD ME NO EXCEPTION, HAVE A STEADY LOOK AND YOU TOO WILL SEE.
The shell of a barn often reveals the make up of the user, be he owner or renter, it also tells one if it is still in use. In the early days of the Southwest, in the timber country logs were cut near the placement of the proposed barn.
This would be a good example of placement. The grove of timber near a pond or small lake would be ideal. Having a nearby source of water for the animals made this site a no brainer. The next consideration would be a simple design as there may be a lack of physical help in the erection.
The placement of a barn was a consideration in every sense of the matter. Windy hills were more often avoided as the weather conditions may have an effect on the care of the stock. In the cold and snow country high hill placement was avoided as much as possible. It is true that drifts of snow could hazard the care but the closeness of the barn make it workable.
Barns did not start receiving coats of paint until the mid 1800 when an ambitious tobacco company started an ad campaign for its product. In return for painting the sign the farmer of rancher could opt for trade goods, pots pans or lots of plugs of tobacco or the ultimate trade the rest of the barn being painted.
Most of the barns were build to sustain comfort in the worst for that area. Some tall barns on the plains, smaller barns in the hill country to support the snow fall better than the larger roof surfaces.
When the veterans of the Second World War returned home, many to farms in need of repair, found a few enterprizing companies willing to paint their barns, and this was the beginning of the final round of barn sign painting.