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Dates of visit:
Dec. 3 - Dec. 4, 2014

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Trip Highlights:
 El Camino Real
 Bosque del Apache
 Town of Socorro
 San Miguel Mission
 City Walk Tour


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First page - Camino Real, Bosque del Apache WR, NM Tech Mineral Museum
Socorro County (New Mexico) Brief Exploration
City of Socorro - History

City of Socorro
Socorro (literally to give aid, to give succor) was indeed a source of help to the first expedition of Spanish families traveling north from Mexico in 1598, led by Don Juan de Oņate y Salazar. Socorro’s first inhabitants, Piro-speaking people of the Teypana Pueblo, welcomed the scouting party of Oņate and his men. They showed no fear of the strangers, according to Oņate’s official log, and with hand signs told the group what lay ahead. When the Teypana inhabitants unexpectedly gave the group a large gift of corn, Oņate renamed the pueblo Socorro.

Nothing remains of Teypana today, but on the east edge of Socorro County, the ruins of the vast Gran Quivira Pueblo stand as tribute to the great trade culture of the Pueblo Indians. One of three pueblos of the Salinas Missions National Monument, the ruins of Gran Quivira show the excellent masonry of their architecture.

Don Juan de Oņate y SalazarOņate’s expedition began a century of trade along El Camino Real (the Royal Road). From its early days of caravans bringing missionaries and supplies, the road over its 223-year history connected the New Mexico Territory to Mexico and Spain. Little parajes (resting places) sprang up along the Rio Grande from Paraje de Fra Cristobal, at the northern end of Jornada del Muerto, to Casa Colorado in the northern end of today’s Socorro County. A bit of the oldest trail in North America can still be traversed along a dirt road section east of Escondida. El Camino Real is beginning to receive the recognition it deserves in history. A visitors center detailing the road’s history opened in the fall of 2005 at the south end of Socorro County, overlooking a section of the historic El Camino Real.

San Miguel MissionSan Miguel Mission, in the City of Socorro, was one of four missions built among the Piro Pueblos during the 1600s. Spanish families surrounded the mission, farming and ranching on land given them in Spanish land grants.

During the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, the Teypanas left with the Spaniards, establishing a new community further south. Socorro was not re-founded as a community again until late 1816.

Parishes Map, Archival Photos, San Miguel Art Source: San Miguel Preserving Our History Ministry

In 1854, Fort Craig was built at the north end of Jornada del Muerto, to guard against Apache and Navajo raids and to protect El Camino Real. With the outbreak of the Civil War, the fort remained a Union Army Post. On February 21, 1862, Confederate troops under General H.H. Sibley engaged the Union Army troops under Colonel R.S. Canby. Confederates won the Battle of Valverde, fought upstream from the fort at the Valverde Crossing. Fort Craig later was home to the Buffalo Soldiers, regiments of Black soldiers who served after the Civil War.

Santa Fe RailroadThe arrival of the railroad in the 1880s brought miners, merchants, and cattlemen to Socorro County. In the west, Magdalena became the center of mining activities and the “End of the Trail” for cattle drives from farther west. The town of Socorro sported a grain mill, a brewery and smelters to process the ores. California mission style homes and buildings took their place among the adobes in the booming towns. In 1889, the area’s first university opened: the New Mexico School of Mines, now known as New Mexico Tech. NM Tech has garnered an international reputation in the sciences and is consistently rated as a top college nationally. The Tech campus is also home to the National Radio Astronomy Observatory’s VLA and VLBA, and several associated entities.

Jumbo FragmentThe beginning of World War II saw an increase in activity in Socorro County’s southeast quarter. With the increase in temporary workers traveling through, San Antonio’s Frank Chavez answered a need by opening a small restaurant in his store, and created the first green chile hamburger at the Owl Bar and Cafe. The workers wouldn’t say what they were doing but did tell residents to watch for something big on the morning of July 16, 1945. Many Socorroans remember the light of the first atomic blast at White Sands Missile Range. Trinity Site is now a monument, open twice a year. Placard describing "Jumbo" is here.

Text Source: Submitted by Gwen Roath, former reporter, editor and current-publisher of Steppin’ Out, a bi-monthly guide to regional arts and events and the editor of the on-line magazine SONewMex.com.
Website URL: http://socorronm.org/about-socorro/history/
Juan de Oņate Image Source: http://www.newmexicohistory.org
Railroad archival photo: www.kshs.org

Old Socorro Walking Tour
City of Socorro (Old Town) Walking Tour

The walking tour has been divided into three historic districts. Look at this MAP to guide you.

Kittrel ParkKittrel Park is believed to have been an empty Army field in the 1850's. It was south of the original Plaza, but by the 1880s the park became known as "The Plaza". Kittrel Park was once enclosed by a picket fence, planted with trees, and had a small bandstand on it. Dr. L. W. Kittrel, a Socorro dentist and postmaster, worked to maintain the park during the end of the nineteenth century. It is believed that when Dr. Kittrel passed away in 1916, he was buried under the park, and the park was named after him.

Near Kittrel ParkThe current Plaza encompasses Kittrel Park, a pleasant grassy area with trees, walkways, metal and other seating areas, and gazebo and the Elfego Baca Heritage Park, the treed and renovated block north of Kittrel Park, which displays the tiles of history and Children's art and the bronze sculpture called the Wheel of History that shows a pictorial history of over four hundred years in Socorro. Both parks have artistic metal sculpture signs that display past and present attractions for Socorro and the surrounding areas.

San Miguel Church District …

San Miguel MissionSan Miguel Church was completed in 1821 and the community was built around it. The original dwellings and other structures were traditional Pueblo/Spanish New Mexico style architecture, with thick adobe (sun-dried brick) walls, flat roofs and mud floors, with few and small windows, and short doors. Small openings provided security from Indian attacks. Most of the houses were built close together and close to the street, eliminating front yards. The streets were narrow, rambling, and irregular.

Garcia HouseEast of Elfego Baca Heritage Park is the Juan Neporouceno Garcia House. It is New Mexican territorial style architecture and represents one type of Spanish adobe dwellings, with rooms built around a courtyard (placita). The enclosed courtyard style offered space for fruit trees, privacy, protection, animals, and sometimes, even a well. The adobe walls of this house are about 20 inches thick. (1a on map)

Bacaa HouseLooking to the north, is the Juan Jose Baca House, built around 1870. Juan Jose Baca was the grandson of one of the original Socorro settlers. As was common at that time, the family operated a business in their home. The two-story end of the dwelling was used for a general merchandise store. Mr. Baca was also a rancher and a politician. The walls of the house are 18 inches thick and it has a courtyard. Note the elaborate balcony. (2a on map)

Opera HouseTurning right and traveling east towards California, St, you will find the Garcia Opera House, one of Socorro's grand historic landmarks. Francesca Garcia, widow of Juan Nepomuceno Garcia, built the opera house and dedicated it in his memory, Construction was begun in 1884 and completed in 1887. The adobe walls are 34 inches thick and are curved to add strength and acoustics to the building. The inside 40-foot wide space has an open-trussed roof system. The flooring is made of hardwood. The stage takes up one third of the building. It is a "raked" stage, which is slanted to give the audience a better view. The slant is one foot higher from rear to front. The proscenium arch curves to both sides of the stage, is supported by fluted columns, and the panels are decorated with a blue and gold design. There are no records of an opera ever performing in the Garcia Opera House, but it was used for many community events. There were dances, masquerade balls, musical and theatrical productions, political rallies, marriages, Christmas parties, commencement exercises, and even basketball games. (3a on map)

Traditional House202 San Miguel shows a traditional style adobe, with small doors and windows sit back into the walls. House front ... House window. (4a on map)

Sedillo HouseAnastacio Sedillo House at 114 Baca Street is estimated to be about 161 years old. The house was built in an L-shaped adobe Territorial design that reflects Socorro's past. The added Victorian details show the architectural changes that came to Socorro with the railroad. (5a on map)

Sedillo HouseJacabo Sedillo House at 348 Bernard was built between 1902 and 1913. The Sedillo family built the house with adobe, even though other types of architecture and materials had become popular in other parts of Socorro. View the unique details of the porch and roof dormers. (6a on map)

San Miguel MissionIn 1598, the Piro Indian pueblo of Pilabo offered assistance to the colonists of the Don Juan de Oņate expedition as they traveled through. In his documents, Oņate attributed the name "Socorro" (help) to the pueblo for their kindness and generous gift of corn. Two Franciscan priests who were traveling with Oņate stayed behind with the Indians to do missionary work. Father Bertavidez named the village "Nuestra Senora de Perpetuo Socorro" (Our Lady of Perpetual Help). The mission was built between 1615 and 1626. The massive adobe walls are about five feet thick. The vigas (beams) were hand carved in wood that had been hauled clown from the mountains miles away from Socorro. During the Pueblo uprising of 1680, the Piros and Spanish fled south. It wasn't until 1816 that a small group of Spaniards resettled Socorro and rebuilt the church. There are 4 sub floors under the church. Records show that four priests & General Manuel Armijo, the last governor of the Territory of New Mexico, are buried under the church. Some descendants of the early settlers say that in the early 1800's, an Apache Indian raid was halted when they saw a man with wings and shining sword hovering over the church door. Shortly afterward, a petition was made to the Bishop to change the name of the church to San Miguel (St Michael) the Angelic Protector of the people. Additional San Miguel views: Courtyard Gate ... Interior1 ... Interior2 ... Interior3 ... Interior4. (7a on map)

Torres HouseThe Lupe Torres House, 347 Bernard, was originally two dwellings built around 1898. They were later joined together and during renovations, an Emborregodo style of plastering was applied to the house. It is a special technique that smoothes the squared corners and gives the panels a "wooly" looking texture. Emborregodo means "en-sheeped". (8a on map)

Zingerle HouseThe Zingerle Home on the corner of Bernard & Mt. Carmel was built by Manuel Abeyta in 1871. He was a Socorro businessman, whose family was among the first Socorro settlers. The house is a one and half story adobe, with a gabled roof. It was built in an L-shaped linear design, sitting close to the street. After the 1880's, a brick facing was added to the north and east adobe walls. (9a on map)

Zimmerly House(10a) The Delfine Zimmerly House shows a style of adding rooms in a linear pattern as they were needed for growth. Entry to the additional rooms was created by cutting through the walls. The new rooms were entered by walking through the preceding rooms or through exterior doorways. The house was built in 1882-83. It shows a transition from flat-roofed adobe to pitched roof. (10a on map)

Church - McCutcheon District

Memorial ParkSocorro started to grow in population, business, and prosperity in 1880 when the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway came to town. The silver mines were prospering and the Indian hostilities were ending. New people came from different backgrounds and places. Many of the new merchants built homes in the area southwest of the Plaza. The homes mostly represented the Victorian era of architecture, using brick, stone, and wood, with Queen Anne details in trim. The houses were set back from the street with front, side, and back yards. Low picket and stone fences and hedges were often used to define the front property borders. The area includes one-story Bungalow style houses, 19th century high fashion two-story houses, and other intriguing designs. Memorial Park additional views ... view 1 ... view 2 ... view 3.

Chambon HouseThe Chambon House, 324 Church Street, was built in the Eastlake architectural style, which is known for geometrical, angular shapes, with notched and carved design work. It was built in 1888 by William Watson, who also built the neighboring Bursum House, which is similar, but more elaborate. In 1921 and later, additions were made to this house. (1b on map)

Bursum HouseThe Bursum House, 326 Church Street, was built for Candelario Garcia in 1887 by the Socorro builder, William Watson. It was later the home of Holm 0. Bursum, one of Socorro's longest serving mayors. Both men were prominent territorial political leaders. The house is an excellent example of ornate Eastlake architecture, which is rare in New Mexico. It is a rectangular shaped brick two-story, with elaborate & ornate detailing. The roof gables have detailed insets and the Veranda porch is decorated with tented posts and banisters and Victorian design. (2b on map)

Spanish Style HouseSince 1898, the house at 303 Eaton Ave, has been a combination of 2 distinct architectural styles. The northern end is a linear, Spanish colonial design. The southern part has a square central hall plan and hipped roof, with a Victorian roof cresting made with metal poles and wire mesh and topped with iron fleur-de-lis ornamentation. The porch has wooden posts with cut channels & scroll brackets. (3b on map)

Eaton HouseThe Eaton House at 403 Eaton Avenue is a pre-1898 adobe house in a linear style, with an imposing front facade and small Spanish Pueblo Revival style porch. After the 1906 earthquake, the owner, Col. Ethan W. Eaton devised an earthquake protection plan. He installed one inch rods through the thick adobe walls and through exterior vertical boards. The rods were secured with bolts on the inside of the walls and star shaped washers on the outside hoards. Mr. Eaton was a leader of a vigilante group from 1881-1884, and was elected Mayor in 1885. (4b on map)

Cortesy HouseThe Cortesy House at 327 McCutcheon Avenue was built in 1881 by Anthony Cortesy, a Switzerland native and Socorro businessman. The two story Queen Anne style brick house is the largest on the block and is similar in style to the Casa de Flecha on Park Street. Note the stone lintels and sills. (5b on map)

Bungalow Style House The house at 315 McCutcheon Avenue was built sometime between 1913 and 1930. It is a one and half story Bungalow style house constructed mostly of stone. The stone front of the house is coursed rubble, similar to the short wall along the front yard. The square columns at the front entrance are characteristic Bungalow style. The home was designed by the chief engineer of the Kelly Mine. His engineering skills were applied to true and straight angles and lines and to solar gain and temperature control by calculated window placement on the south front of the house and a single window on the north back side. (6b on map)

Darr HouseThe Eaton/Darr House, 313 McCutcheon, was built around 1891. It features fancy fretwork on the east gable and a bracketed porch. (7b on map)

Fitch HouseThe Fitch House at 311 McCutcheon is a one-story, gabled, brick structure that was built in 1888. The porch has wooden Corinthian columns. It was the first house in Socorro to have a water closet, and the novelty and newness attracted visitors for an opportunity to pull the chain and make a flush. James Fitch came to the territory in 1882. He was a lawyer, active in mining and banking, and a trustee at NM School of Mines, now called NM Institute of Mining and Technology. (8b on map)

Cooney HouseThe Captain Cooney House, which was built around the 1880's, has been relatively unaltered. It is a one-story, brick house with a gable roof, bracketed entry porch, arched windows, and a three-sided bay window facing the street. Captain Cooney was a military man who sought success in mining & civil service. (9b on map)

Bungalow Style HouseIn this house at 405 Park Street, you will find an unusual turn-of-the-century Bungalow style house. It was built between 1902 and 1903 with interlocking concrete blocks that were mechanically constructed to fit together. (10b on map)

Armijo HouseThe Abeytia y Armijo House, 407 Park Street, known as the Casa de Flecha, was built in 1885. It is Socorro's most impressive Boom-era residence, due to its size & detailing. It is a massive two-story Queen Anne style brick house with an ornamental three-story tower, topped by an arrow-slits weathervane, hence its name Casa de la Flecha, or House of the Arrow. (11b on map)

Community HouseTurning back north to the Plaza, one sees an old school on the right. The building is still used for the gym, community events, groups, dance, & art festivities. (12b on map)

El Torreon HouseEl Torreon is located on Park Street. The U-shaped building is an adobe that dates back to the early 1800's. The circular rooms on each end were added during renovations by the historic Socorro area photographer Joseph E. Smith. The house is named after the rounded rooms, as they are much like the old round Torreon towers that were used by the Spaniards for defense. (13b on map)

Park Street HouseThe Park Street House next to the El Torreon was a square block house purchased by J. E. Smith for his mother from Massachusetts. An adobe addition was added and by 1909 the house was shingled in Queen Anne style to remind his mother of New England and make her feel more at home in Socorro. (14b on map)

CourthouseThe Socorro County Courthouse is a Spanish/Pueblo Revival style building that was constructed in 1940. It has projecting vigas and wood lintels. The original courthouse, built in 1884, was High Victorian Architecture with an octagonal shaped jailhouse behind. It was damaged by an earthquake in 1906. (15b on map)

Kittrel Park - Manzanares District

Kittrel ParkKittrel Park, known as "The Plaza." was the center for social and political events, religious parades, and commerce. The businesses of Socorro grew around the Plaza and eastward down Manzanares Avenue towards the Santa Fe Railway Depot.

Fitch BuildingThe Fitch Building was built by Crabtree for James Fitch in 1914. It is one of the states earliest steel reinforced concrete buildings, the first of its kind in Socorro, and possibly the only remaining one. Note the facade of recessed panels and raised columns. (1c on map)

Crabtree BuildingThe Crabtree Building is at 211 Fisher Avenue. The original iron structure of this building was hauled down from the smelter that had operated on the mesa west of town. The building housed a blacksmith shop and then a hardware store for many years. (2c on map)

City Water CommissionThe City Water Commission, 217 Fisher Avenue, now houses the Socorro Heritage and Visitors Center. It was built between 1913 and 1930 for the offices of the City Water Commission and was later used for the Police Department. It is the only commercial structure in the Plaza area that was built of coursed, ashlar stones. (3c on map)

Church of the EpiphanyThe Church of the Epiphany, at 219 Fisher Avenue, was built between 1886 and 1898. It is an adobe building in a simplified Gothic Revival style. It has a steep, gable roof and the windows and entrance have pointed Gothic style lancet arches. (4c on map)

Torres HouseJesus Maria Torres House, 225 Fisher Avenue, is a square adobe house with a Dipped roof of corrugated metal. It was built after 1913. It has been said that the trim, windows, and doors were purchased by mail-order through Crabtree Lumber Company. The turned columns on the front porch, which are unlike any other in Socorro, are the historical highlight for this house. (5c on map)

Socorro Fire StationThe Socorro Fire Station. The Socorro Volunteer Fire Department was established in 1887 and the original Socorro Hose Company was built on this spot in 1907. Fire and rescue services are now city operated. (6c on map)

Fortune PropertyThe Fortune Property is the oldest structure in existence on the southern side of the Plaza, Others were destroyed by fire. Patrick and Theresa Fortune were originally from Ireland. Mr. Fortune was stationed in New Mexico while in the military in the 1850's, and like many others, decided to stay. (7c on map)

Capitol BarThe Capitol Bar is the only drinking establishment still in existence from the mining Boom era. It has brick coping and large arched windows. Giovanni Biavaschi, a native or Italy, built the business and sold wine made from his own vineyard. Socorro was once a bountiful grape growing and wine making area. (8c on map)

Abeytia BlockOn the corner of Plaza and Manzanares Ave. is the Abeytia Block. The two story brick building was built in 1880. It housed the Hilton Drugstore and the Masonic Lodge. The drugstore was founded in the late 1890's by a relative of Conrad Hilton, and is known as having been the oldest operating drugstore in the state. In the 1930's, the building was remodeled with a California Mission Revival style, and the first floor lost its arched windows. The drugstore corner is now the Socorro County Chamber of Commerce. (9c on map)

CourthouseThe Torres Block was the mercantile block in 1886. It was built between 1881 and 1886, and was once several different businesses in separate one and two-story, flat roofed, brick-faced buildings. The businesses sold a variety of items from hardware to groceries. The separate buildings have now been joined together and the brick-faced adobe has been stuccoed over. (10c on map)

First State BankTraveling east on Manzanares Avenue and crossing California Street will bring you to the First State Bank. The bank has an extensive collection and display of historic photographs from Socorro and surrounding areas. A tour can be arranged by making an appointment (575) 835-1550. (11c on map)

Loma CinemaNext to the bank is the Loma Cinema, It has been renovated through the years, but remains an historical link to Socorro's Boom period of business growth. It once housed the Price/Lowenstein Mercantile. (12c on map)

Knights of Pythias HallAcross the street is the Knights of Pythias Hall. The two-story brick building was built in the 1880's. A metal cornice separates the first and second floors and there are pressed metal hood moldings on the second story windows. A metal bracketed cornice crowns the front. The building appears unaltered, but old photographs show it once was topped with a fancy pointed parapet. Note the still visible lettering on the walls, with K of P Hail and Owl Cigar 5Ē. (13c on map)

Commercial BuildingThe brick building next door, built between 1881 and 1886, is mostly unchanged. It shows the commercial store front use of large windows and doors, framed in wood, which was popular during Socorro's Boom era and made possible by the railway services. (14c on map)

Walking Tour Text & Map Source: http://socorronm.org/things-to-do-in-socorro-new-mexico/

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