Each spring, the Historic Preservation Division mounts a statewide outreach campaign to highlight community preservation achievements during May, which is Heritage Preservation Month. It is celebrated nationwide. Our annual poster illustrates the theme and is issued in mid-April. Our posters are found hanging on the walls of Congress, in businesses, schools, homes and even abroad. It has been distributed statewide, nationally and internationally to 3,000 people and organizations each year to announce Heritage Preservation Month for 25 years.
The 1939 U.S. Army Corps of Engineers photo of Conchas Dam illustrated the 2008 "New Deal" poster.
Theme and Events
In 2013, the theme for Preservation Month is New Mexico's roadside historic markers. The signature, large brown, rough-hewn signs mostly are found along New Mexico highways. They tell stories of the state's geologic and geographic marvels. The honorable and the notorious are documented along with the sites where history was made. Recently, 65 markers devoted toNew Mexico women's history were added to the collection of approximately 680 markers.
A marker in Folsom tells the story of Sally Rooke, who died at her switchboard warning residents of a wall of water approaching town. Near Grants, travelers can learn about El Malpais and that its abundant black rocks are from lava spewed from a volcano about 1,000 years ago. Native American pueblos, Spanish mission churches, conquerors, pioneers and outlaws all are memorialized on the markers. The history on a roadside marker could easily inspire a special event in your community this May. HPD’s website links to markers found in six regions of the state and there is a special section on the historic women markers.
Parks, cities, towns, organizations, monuments and individuals organize events statewide and HPD publishes them in an annual Calendar of Events. Between 55 and 75 events are held, ranging from hikes to restricted archaeological sites, historic district and architectural tours, ceremonies, demonstrations of traditional practices, film screenings, trail clean-ups and hands-on restorations. Lectures, oral histories, ranch tours and re-enactments make up the balance of events, which are educational and fun.
The Calendar is published in April, one month before Preservation Month, to allow adequate planning and publicity for events. People submitting events for the Calendar should seriously consider sending a jpeg photo with their event form.
Since 1970, the Cultural Properties Review Committee has presented Heritage Preservation Awards for outstanding achievements in the field of preservation. Individuals, organizations, authors, local heroes, businesses and agencies have received awards for making significant contributions to preserving architecture, archaeological sites, language, cultural landscapes and often lesser known elements of New Mexico’s history.
2013 Award Recipients
- Steven Kells, AIA — Awarded posthumously for nearly 40 years devoted to historic preservation in the Southwest, co-founding the architectural firm of Kells + Craig Architects in 1984 where he completed notable restorations including the Kimo Theater in Albuquerque and on buildings significant to smaller communities, and for nine years of service on the Cultural Properties Review Committee.
- E.J. Lujan (Community Pres. Planning); Crocker, Ltd, (Architectural Heritage) Pueblo of Santa Ana (Tribal Heritage) — for the superior restoration of Santa Ana de Tamaya church using traditional means, community involvement and inspiring other communities to follow the pueblo’s lead.
- Bruns Army Hospital — Ellis Browning Architects, Ltd.; Gayla Bechtol Architect—for the Historic American Building Survey documentation of Bruns Army Hospital to help preserve a part of Santa Fe’s World War II and twentieth-century history.
- New Mexico Historic Women Marker Initiative — Patricia French, Alexis K. Girard, Beverly Duran, Karren Sahler, Rosemary Molnar for establishing 65 Official Scenic Historic Markers devoted to women’s history, correcting the oversight that of the state’s hundreds of roadside markers, previously only one mentioned a woman by name.
- New Mexico Department of Transporation Districts 1 & 3 — For dedicating substantial time and funds to repair and replace deteriorated Official Scenic Historic Markers, preserving these unique statements about New Mexico history.
- Lincoln National Forest — For restoring the Mexican Canyon Trestle, the last remaining trestle of the “Cloud-Climbing Railroad,” and creating a scenic overlook and interpretive site that makes this important part of New Mexico history available to the public.
- The Phillips Chapel Preservation Group — For engaging multiple facets of the community and providing leadership in the preservation of Phillips Chapel, C.M.E, established 1911 as the first African American church in Las Cruces.
- Los Compadres del Palacio — For completing the Windows on Heritage project at the Palace of the Governors, a National Historic Landmark, and the leadership of Dorothy Bracey.
- Robert Kurtz, New Mexico Department of Transportaqtion District 2 — For dedicating substantial time and funds to repair and replace deteriorated Official Scenic Historic Markers, preserving these unique statements about New Mexico history.
- Artesia — For Nancy Dunn & Naomi Florez, who researched and wrote about local history in Artesia, part of the Images of America series and timing its publication with the New Mexico Centennial.
- Grants-Milan Flight Services Building — For Jonathan Craig, Kells + Craig Architects; and Cibola County Historical Society Vice President Stephen Owen who documented early aviation history in New Mexico in Grants–Milan CAA Flight Services Station, an Historic Preservation Division grant project. The Conditions Assessment and Preservation Plan will guide establishment of a museum and heritage tourism site at the Grants-Milan Airport
- Charles A. Hannaford — For a 35-year career raising public awareness of the importance of the state's archaeological heritage highlighted as the public outreach director at the Office of Archaeological Studies, and for his respect of New Mexico's multi-cultural heritage.
Community Preservation Planning
- Downtown Deming Historic District — Deming MainStreet, City Manager Richard “Rick” McInturff and Mayor Andres Silva for the successful nomination of the Downtown Deming Historic District, which reinvigorated the local Certified Government program and raised awareness of local history.