Taos Architecture Tour: Paseo del Pueblo Norte

Heading North on Paseo del Pueblo

On the east side there's kindof not much to look at on the east side except shops, til you get to the end of the long row of buildings towards the North, because most of these buildings at this end of the street are new, and not that great. Right before you cross the alley to the Taos Inn, though, things change.

On the west side of the street (no need to cross really, unless you luck out and get good lighting on the Our Lady of Guadalupe statue and painted bowls that make one of Taos' favorite photo opps) at 110 Paseo, is set of old buildings around an open courtyard. This is a great little spot, as the two story building on the north, now galleries below and private residence above, used to be one of our historic hotels. The one story building on the west of the courtyard fronts land that was once the town's stables.

Just north of this is a cool Mission Revival structure with an awesome riverrock front porch and fireplace. Obviously hand-crafted, places like this just don't get built much anymore. There was another building with similar details up the road, but they opted to cover all that up, or remove it, and turn it into a fake Craftsman house. It looks kindof crazy here in Taos. We don't DO Craftsman like that. Which is part of why this building is so special now. It's the only one of its kind left.

The last building on the long row of buildings you'll come to under a single portale (porch) is the Saavedra Building, now Starr Interiors. This building was begun in 1870 and modified in 1899, with some modifications after. It was the home/studio of Irving Couse before he bought his place on Kit Carson Road. Many of the old photographs of he an his models were taken in the inner courtyard of this hacienda style house, before the courtyard was modified to the super cute modern version it is now. Speaking of, that enclosed entry, with its beautiful gate, is another of our intact zaguans, though this one is a bit modern, like the strangely angled courtyard beyond. It's well worth a look though, as is the store inside. ; ) There's also a great carved door on the left of this courtyard.

Beyond the Alley, you come upon the Taos Inn (Taos Blue Trail Site #15). I won't get into too much about the Inn, except that it is actually an amalgam of smaller homes, and the lobby was once the interior courtyard of those homes. The fountain in the lobby used to be the well for those homes. It's pretty cool inside and definitely worth a pop-in to check out how to make the outside an inside. ; )

So here you have two options: head north on Paseo or West on Bent Street. For those that want to continue North, Kit Carson Park is a lovely place to walk in the mornings. In the northeast corner of the park, beyond a kindof sketchy gate, is the southern entrance to Taos Pueblo. You can't walk all the way, its really just for Pueblo citizens, but just beyond the gate is the main acequia channel into Taos. Once upon a time, most of the fresh running water in town, which fed our agricultural fields as well as our neighborhoods through ditches called acequias, was fed from this little stream. It's a remnant of a past that we need to remember. Because running water from streams works even when technology fails. k. off my soapbox. sorry. only not really. I want us to not need to rely on others to get what we need to stay healthy as a community. just sayin.

Futher along Paseo on the east side is the Presbyterian Church, which has an awesome labyrinth you can walk if your feet aren't dead by now.

Beyond that, by a little ways, it the Fechin House and Taos Art Museum (Taos Blue Trail Site #13). GO HERE. If you like art, architecture, fabulous spaces, woodworking, or want awesome gifts to take home. Really. Trust me on this. The former abode of artists Nicholai Fechin, this little spot of truly one of Taos' BEST KEPT ARCHITECTURAL SECRETS. Fechin’s passion for architecture and wood carving shows in every detail. The building has a flat parapet, second story setbacks with intricately detailed wood posts and brackets, a stunning west portal on the main fa├žade, a now-enclosed entry portal at what may have once been the “back” porch, projecting viga ends, decorative columns, extraordinary tapered massing and a variety of window sizes and shapes. Its overall style is that of the Spanish Pueblo Revival but its embellishments reflect the Fechin’s European origin. Solomonite wooden columns and hand-carved corbels detail the portals. IT IS EXQUISITE, inside and out.

Shopping abounds northwards but we aren't here for shopping, so lets cross the street and head back south towards Bent Street. 

You'll come up on 222 Paseo, the Hulse-Warman Gallery. Besides being an AWESOME gallery, this little Northern New Mexico style house is one of a kind. With real earth stucco and a back courtyard and gallery that are quite wonderful. Further, they have a great boardwalk. Another of the last bastions of historic Taos that's often overlooked. If they are open, please stop in and say hi and take a look around. 

When you get past the Steakhouse at Martyr's lane, look at this corner building. How wild the lintel decorations are! And some of those details! That wagon wheel window! What's THAT about? Well, it's the former home of Taos Art Colony founder Bert Phillips (Taos Blue Trail Site #12). THAT's what. When he and Blumenschein broke that wheel and found themselves in Taos, starting an art colony, I guess he decided to mark it in time on his house. The detailing here is quite something to behold. I love it!

Just a few feet more and we start to close the loop of this tour of Taos. 

Head West on Bent Street.