Taos Architecture Tour: Kit Carson Road and Des Georges Lane

Kit Carson Road is one of the most often missed parts of Taos' Historic District. I think it's because people don't really know what they are looking at and how special it is. I'll try and help out with that here.


At 151 Kit Carson Road, at the intersection of Quesnel, is Taos' only true Queen-Anne style Victorian structure, the Miramon house, now part of the Casa Benevides Bed and Breakfast. (Which is a solidly good place to stay in the historic district, btw, if you haven't made reservations yet...) This little white house was build between 1840 and modified in 1880 and again late this past century when it was converted for lodging, but it's still pretty well intact. Victorian anything is super rare in Taos, and this award-winning preserved home is special for that reason.

Now, let me just say here that if you head east of Taos on Kit Carson, there are even more awesome buildings you might enjoy taking a look at. I'll include them on another page though. 

Back to the historic district. Head west on Kit Carson, back towards the plaza.


On the north, check out Old World Fine Art's front entrance, as well as the doors all along the north side of the street.


Many of these doors are hand carved, and quite beautiful. I love this about Taos -  there are so many amazing carved doors here! Bryans Gallery is a fun stop-in for shopping, if you need a break from all this architecture.




On the south, check out Wengert Plaza at 122 Kit Carson Road. It's another of our famous haciendas, built in stages between 1800 and 1920, with an intact but gateless zaguan. It also has nice galleries and a shaded garden court that are totally worth a peek. The oversized "cap" at the top of the exterior walls of this building is unlike anything else in Taos. It's totally random. But that's part of what makes it interesting. ; )

Back on the north, if you are into history, the 1825 Kit Carson Home and Museum at 113 Kit Carson Road (Taos Blue Trail Site #18) is worth a look. For me, my passion in this building is its totally awesome two-sided fireplace in the kitchen. I think this is my favorite historic kitchen in Taos.

The buildings at 105-109 Kit Carson are some great old buildings as well, and give us a picture of what this road used to look like, as they retain their elevated position above the street. Once upon a time, these buildings, dating from 1795-1830, had a boardwalk out front as they do now, but at street level, with steps into each structure. You can see the last original Taos boardwalk poking out from being "buried" underneath the porch at Lenny Foster's gallery. There's an awesome mural on the wall here as well.



Heading back south across the street, DO NOT MISS the El Rincon Trading Post (Taos Blue Trail Site #16). This little early 1800's trading post is great. And Estevan, who runs it, is a good guy. He MIGHT even turn on the lights for his awesome micro museum for you if you are really nice. He's got great art, jewelry, and collectibles to check out and buy as well. When you leave, poke your head around the back of the building, and check out La Dona Luz Bed and breakfast. The awesome details of the wooden lintels and columns here are VERY special. And NSFW! ; )

If you aren't into Victorian/fusion architecture, head north here along Paseo del Pueblo Norte and skip the next three buildings.


But if you like Victorian architecture and want to see Taos' version of it, head South into the parking lot beyond the Spanish Pueblo Revival shopping mall on the south near Paseo, you'll be heading towards Eske's brew pub. Some of Taos' architectural gems are hidden in plain sight back in the Eske's parking area. Walking towards Eske's, you'll come upon the green and white Victorian Walter Ufer home. Ufer was yet another of Taos' legendary artists and this was his home, back in the day. It's one of two whole true Victorian Buildings in all of Taos Historic District. In that way, it's extremely rare.

 

Directly north of it is a gated entrance, marked with a historic marker on the wall, to what was his studio (Taos Blue Trail Site #17). At times, this space is rented to galleries, and it may be open, if you are super lucky. If you are, be sure to go check out  Ufer's own chapel-turned studio, with it's gigantic north windows.

Behind Eskes, on the east along a wooded drive, is a tucked away office of a distinctive Territorial / Folk Victorian / Northern New Mexico vintage. It's a lovely little hidden away spot worthy of notice.

Now head back north towards the intersection of Paseo and kit Carson to resume the tour.