Taos' Martinez Hacienda

After three years of living in Taos, and becoming known as a local expert in New Mexico's historic archaeology and architecture from the Pre-Puebloans to the modern, one would think I had already made it to the Martinez Hacienda in Taos. Despite the fact that it is down the street (Ranchitos) and FREE on Sundays! Like another Taos gem - the Millicent Rogers Museum, which took me two years to get to - I just didn't make time. Until yesterday.

We got to the hacienda a little over an hour before they closed at 4.  I thought to myself "easy, NO problem." and we went in. Little did I know how much there was to see. The women at the front were more than helpful, they were kind... sweet, even... and very excited to have locals there. Evidently we weren't the only ones who forget it is there.

What we discovered inside made my little architect's heart flutter. The restored early 19th century hacienda was DOUBLE COURT-YARDED! What a treat! Effectively, the design had a courtyard for the family - home, and a courtyard for the day-to-day goings on of running a trade & agricultural center - work. It was, for all intensive purposes and in the modern parlance - a live-work space!

The hacienda is true Spanish-Colonial architecture at its core, with some updates from the late 19th century like larger window openings to the interior courtyards and hand-hewn decorative corbels in the chapel, and more modern updates that make it better function as a museum.

The hacienda had achieved the perfect form for it's time: It was a secure and defensible O-shaped structure (actually two put together to form an 8-shape) that had been formed over many years with many additions. You can see the edges of the additions where floor levels, ceiling levels, and foundation styles change.

The place is a great gift to the people of Taos and New Mexico. It tells so much of the NM architecture story, without even really trying. And its filled with the tools with which the settlers built our story. I highly recommend a visit!
exposed foundation

Old time spice rack

Heated sleeping bunk in the kitchen

Natural weaving tools



Brands and Ropes

Blacksmith's forge