Sunday, December 31, 2006

More About The Church

We meant to post this earlier in the week, but it was snowed out:

It was surprisingly hard to find more information about the church at El Macho in the Pecos Canyon. There's a nice article in the New Mexican with a picture of the church and a lot of history of the area, but nothing about the church itself. A digital archive at University of Texas has a 1934 photograph of the school at El Macho but nothing about the church. says it is a Mission of St. Anthony of Padua Parish in Pecos.

We spoke to someone in the Southwest Room at the State Library, who said they had been to Las Posadas last week at El Macho; that the church had been used by the miners at Terrero (see that New Mexican article above); that it has no electricity, but is lit by lanterns and heated by a wood stove.

Nothing at the History Library. Nothing in The Place Names of New Mexico, nor in any of the historic churches books we looked in, nothing in the clipping file... well, something. Here is a handout which once accompanied an exhibit of 38 paintings by Betty Grimmer Rosenberger, "The Parish Churches of the Rio Pecos." The handout has a map with a key to the 38 churches, and what it says about El Macho is this: "Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, El Macho. 1857. A member of the Cortez family built this church with other men in 1857 over the ruins of an earlier Indian church. The area was named by the Indians as Macho Creek. The Brothers now own the chapel. El Macho means 'mule'."

Word came from the librarian at the State Library that there was an article in the February, 1978, issue of New Mexico Magazine; and—oh just look at that—it includes five of the Rosenberger paintings, including her painting of Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe, El Macho. The caption tells us it was then (in 1978) used as a Christian Brothers retreat. The paintings are really quite beautiful. (Request the magazine at the reference desk at the Main Library if you want to see it...)

There may be more information coming. People with relatives who live over that way are getting their Tios to ask the oldfolks in the neighborhood who are involved with the church to tell us what they know about the history...

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