Taos Driving Tour
Each of these historical buildings of Taos, New Mexico are standing reminders of the Taos art colony, US Southwestern architecture and expansion, and Native American history.
Built between 1926-1931, the Leon Gaspard House stands as an artistically unique structure that represents the life and work of Belarusian artist, Leon Gaspard (1882-1964). Throughout his career, Gaspard was known for painting and sketching subjects that depict indigenous cultures, small townscapes, and folkloric traditions in Taos, New Mexico, Asia, Belarus, and Russia. Gaspard found artistic success in the Taos art colony, and essentially, he moved to Taos with his first wife, Evelyn. While constructing the house, Gaspard made plans to combine the Byzantine-Pueblo style with Asian architectural features Inside, Gaspard decorated the house with European furniture and textiles. Once completed, the house's exterior was light pink, but over time, the color darkened to red. In 1978, the house was listed in the National Register for Historic Places for its distinct architectural design and its historical association with Leon Gaspard. After Gaspard's death, there were some attempts by local museums to procure and preserve Gaspard's items in the house. Currently, the house is a private residence.
In 1936, the E. Martin Hennings House and Studio Historic District was purchased by prominent Taos painter, E. Martin Hennings (1888-1956), and the property served as his home and studio for 30 years. Hennings was known for his portrait paintings of Native Americans and landscapes of Taos, New Mexico and Southwest U.S. He was a member of the Taos Society of Artists, an organization that spread the Taos art colony and influenced many artists to move to Taos. Hennings' one-acre property includes several contributing buildings, such as the main house, a studio, and an adjacent building compromised of four guest units. Hennings lived at the property until his death in 1956, and his wife, Helen lived here until 1979 where she sold the property. At one point, the property was converted into a bed and breakfast, which was called The Willows Inn. In 1990, the property and its contributing building were listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a historic district for its well-preserved architecture design and its historical association with E. Martin Hennings.
This site is compromised of Eanger Irving Course's home and studio and Joesph Henry Sharp's two studios. Course and Sharp were two of the six founding members of the Taos Society for Artists, an association that showcased the work and talent of Taos artists. Like other members of the association, Course and Sharp were heavily inspired by the Native Americans and landscapes of Taos. Both were famous for their portraits of Native American men and women hunting, crafting, and performing traditional dances and rituals. In 1910, Course bought the house located on the site, and he later added his studio where he produced some of his finest work. In 1909, Sharp purchased a former Penitente church near Course's property called the Luna Family Chapel. In addition to using the church one of his studios, Sharp built another studio near the church. In 2005, the Course-Sharp Historic Site was listed on the National Register of Historic Places, and currently, the site serves as a museum that houses Course and Sharp's artwork and belongings.
Built in 1922, Mabel Dodge Luhan House, which is sometimes referred to as the "Big House" is a standing representation of art and humanities patron and writer, Mabel Dodge Luhan (1879-1962). Madel Dodge is known for her contributions to the Taos art colony and she had a significant presence in the 20th-century literary and art scene with her affiliation with the Taos art colony. At the Big House, Dodge Luhan would host literary gatherings and invited prominent literary and art figures to stay at the house, such as D.H. Lawerence, Aldous Huxley, Georgia O' Keefe, Ansel Adams, and Willa Cather. At these gatherings, she would introduce them to the Native American and pre-Colombian artwork done in Taos, resulting in Taos being put on the map and its art influencing people nationwide. In 1978, the Mabel Dodge Luhan House was listed in the National Register for Historic Places for its Pueblo architectural style and its connection to Mabel Dodge Luhan and her contributions to the Taos art colony. Currently, the house is now a hotel equipped with rooms named after famous literary and artistic figures and Luhan's friends, a conference room for workshops, and dining for guests.
The Kit Carson House and Museum shares artifacts and exhibits that interpret the life and times of one of the most celebrated frontiersmen in U.S. history, Kit Carson (1809-1868). Early in his life, Carson worked as a fur trapper, and eventually, he served as a guide for U.S. explorer and officer in the Corps of Topographical Engineers, John C. Frémont for multiple expeditions. During the Mexican-American War, Carson was a scout and courier, and later, he was appointed as an agent for the Office of Indian Affairs for the northern New Mexico Territory. When the Civil War broke out, Carson sided with the Union army and was promoted as a lieutenant colonel for the New Mexico Volunteer Infantry. In 1864, Carson led approximately 8,000 Native American people from Fort Canby to Fort Sumner, New Mexico, which has been historically dubbed "The Long Walk." Along with his third wife, Josefa, Carson bought the Spanish Colonial-style house after they married in 1843. The house remained as Carson and his family's principal home until 1868 after they moved to Colorado. The house was listed in the National Register for Historic Places for its historical association with Carson. Today, the house is owned by Taos's Bent Masonic Lodge #42 and operated by the Kit Carson Memorial Foundation. The house is now a museum dedicated to preserving the livelihood and integrity of Kit Carson
During the middle of the Mexican American War the governor of New Mexico surrenders to U.S. forces without a fight. Although many citizens were indifferent to the exchange some feared that they would not be treated the same under American rule. An attempt to expel the U.S. followed but was quickly crushed by the occupying military. What was left of the revolt continued as a Guerrilla unit until July.
The Ernest L. Blumenschein House and Museum commemorates the life and art of Ernest Blumenschein, his wife Mary, their daughter, Helen, and members of the Taos Society of Artists. A classically trained artist known for paintings of Native Americans and American southwest, Blumenschein first visited Taos in 1898, quickly realized the artistic potential of the area and people and fell in love with what D.H. Lawrence referred to as “The peculiar ‘otherness’ of Taos.” In 1914, Blumenschein and five other Taos artists formed the "Taos Six" and founded the Taos Society of Artists, an organization that helped develop the Taos art colony and inspired other artists to migrate to Taos. In 1919, Blumenschein acquired this house, and he lived here until his death in 1960. Helen donated the house and its belongings to the Taos community in 1962, and later, in 1965, the house was converted into a museum. Also, the house was designated as a National Historic Landmark in 1965, and in 1966, the house was listed in the National Register for Historic Places.
This complex of Adobe structures has been home to the Harwood Museum of Art since 1998. The museum traces its roots to 1923 when Elizabeth Harwood and Taos artists and business leaders established a non-profit foundation that helped to promote and showcase Taos artists and their work. Harwood and her partners acquired the adobe structures here in the years that followed, and the Harwood Foundation created a place where local artists could work in an artistic environment. From 1929-1937, the University of New Mexico partnered with the Harwood Foundation to support Taos, and the university built the present-day library and auditorium within the property in the late 1930s. Elizabeth Harwood resided at the property until her death in 1939. In 1976, this complex was listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its architectural significance and its connection to the history and culture of Taos, New Mexico. In 1998, the property was converted into the Harwood Museum of Art. The museum displays various art exhibits that commemorates Native American and Hispanic artwork created by local artists. One of the most notable exhibits at the museum is dedicated to the life and work of New Mexican painter, Agnes Martin (1912-2004).
The Historic Taos Inn was once home to physician and one of the earliest American citizens in Taos, Dr. Thomas "Doc" Martin (1864-1935). After coming to Taos around the 1890s, Martin became the Taos community's physician and surgeon. In 1895, Martin and his wife, Helen purchased the Pueblo-Colonial adobe house, and it served as their principle home and Martin's medical office. The Martins were strong advocates for the arts, and they held the 1915 formative meeting of the Taos Society for Artists. After Martin's death in 1935, Helen converted the house and several adobe house around the property into a hotel, and in 1936, the Martin Hotel was open for business. The hotel became a gathering place for Taos's social, intellectual and artistic society. However, the hotel's name was changed to the Taos Inn by its subsequent owners, and then, it was later renamed the Historic Taos Inn. In 1982, the hotel was listed on the National Register for Historic Places for its architectural design and its contributions to the Taos community. In 2019, IMPRINT, a Denver-based hospitality company acquired the property and began operating the hotel. Currently, the hotel contains 44 rooms, a two-story lobby, a restaurant named Doc Martin in homage to Dr. Martin, and a bar called the Adobe Bar.
The Governor Bent House and Museum is dedicated to preserving the life and home of Charles Bent, New Mexico's first governor that was slain during the Taos Revolt. It houses many exhibits and artifacts related to the mid-19th century, as well as Bent family possessions and local western art. Admission is $1 for adults and $.50 cents for children, and the museum is located one block north of Taos Plaza.
The home to the Taos Art Museum since 1994, this was the home of Nicolai Fechin (1881-1955), one of the most prolific painters during the 20th century. Fechin purchased his house in 1927 when he arrived from the Soviet Union. Born in Kazan, Russia, Fechin showed great artistic abilities at an early age, which allowed him to travel, study at various artistic capitals in Europe and teach in Russia. However, due to the aftermath of the Russian Revolution and the Russian famine of 1921, Fechin moved to New York City, and eventually, he moved to Taos, New Mexico. The house's design mostly showcases the Pueblo Revival architectural style, but over the years, Fechin added Russian architectural details to the house. During his time in Taos, Fechin and the Native Americans in the area became friends, and soon, the Native Americans and the Taos mountains became the focal point of Fechin's artwork. In 1979, the house was listed on the National Register for Historic Places for its unique mixture of the Pueblo Revival and Russian architectural style and its historical connection with Nicolai Fechin. In 2002, the Nicolai Fechin House was converted into the Taos Art Museum where most of his work and the work of other artists in Taos are on display.
Built in 1920, the Bernard J. Beimer House exhibits structural features that are unique to what is commonly seen in Taos, New Mexico. Instead of using adobe as building material or following a Spanish Revival or Pueblo architectural design like other houses in Taos, Beimer (1886-1953) took inspiration from his German roots in structuring the two-story side-gabled house. Beimer used the German architectural building techniques of fachwerk and nogging for the house. Fachwerk is a wooden framework, and nogging is the use of different materials to fill the empty interstices. Instead of using metal nails and brackets for the framework, Beimer carved notches and pegs into the timber pieces of the framework and connected them together. In addition, Beimer planted several tress around the front yard to give some distinction to the property. After the house was built, it served as Beimer and his family's home for several decades. In 2006, the house was listed on the National Register of Historic Places for its rare architectural style and design.
Designated as a National Historic Landmark on October 9, 1960, this ancient pueblo belong to a group of Tiwa-speaking Native Americans. The tribe was known as the Puebloan people. The pueblo is made up of entirely adobe material and it appears to of been built between 1000 A.D. and 1450 A.D. This community is one of the longest continually occupied communities in the United States.
Opened in 1956, this museum is dedicated to preserving the life story of one of the most influential fashion icons and socialites during the 20th century, Millicent Rogers (1902-1953). The museum also continues her legacy of supporting area Native American and Hispanic artists by purchasing and displaying their work. Rogers was an heiress who inherited the fortune of her grandfather, Standard Oil tycoon Henry Huttleston Rogers (1840-1909). Millicent Rogers was often referred to as the "best-dressed woman of all-time" and the "jewel of the Southwest." In addition to her status as a fashion icon and a socialite, she was one of the first celebrities to advocate for Native American civil rights. As part of her effort to support area tribes, she was known to purchase art and jewelry created by Native American and Hispanic artisans. Rogers successfully lobbied for Native American art to be classified as historic and protected. After her death, Rogers' youngest son, Paul Peralta-Ramos (1931-2003) opened the museum where Rogers' collection of Native American and Hispanic art was displayed. In 1968, the museum moved to its current location. Rogers' friends, Claude and Elizabeth Anderson donated their traditional hacienda, which created the unique setting for Rogers' collection. Today, the museum is accredited by the American Association of Museums and still procures Native American and Hispanic art in Rogers' honor and her mission to celebrate the cultures of Taos and New Mexico. The museum offers educational tours and lectures about Native American art, and it has a gift shop where visitors can buy Native American and Hispanic jewelry, artwork, pottery, and baskets.