Scroll down to see historic structures in the Village of Jemez Springs:
- Old bath house at Jemez Hot Springs
- Jemez Springs Bath House
- Abousleman House
- Los Ojos
- Jemez Mountain Inn/Amber Lodge
- Jemez Springs Presbyterian Church
- Our Lady of Assumption Catholic Church
- Momaday House
- Jemez Mountain Views/Laughing Lizard
- Casa Blanca Guest House
- Mercantile/Jemez Stage Stop
- Jemez Historic Site
- Adams House
- Otero home/Cor Jesu Monastery
- Miller house/Via Coeli
Early Bath House/Giggling Springs/Jemez Hot Springs
On the riverbank of the Jemez Hot Springs spa is a ramshackle building which was the bath house built and operated by Moses Abousleman. It was destroyed by a flood in 1941 and never rebuilt.
At some point, four cabins were moved onto the property and made available for rent, mostly to anglers. In 1996, they were remodeled to be more upscale rentals and named the Giggling Star. In 2004, the property was turned into a spa with a large soaking pool and gift shop, currently operating as Giggling Springs Spa.
Jemez Springs Bath House
The best known of the historic structures in Jemez Springs is the Jemez Springs Bath House, which has been remodeled many times since its initial construction in 1881. Like most of the 100+ year-old structures in the village, it is not adobe; it is made of rock covered with stucco.
In the early days, a trip from Albuquerque took too long to go out and return in one day, so people camped or stayed in one of the two hotels. Visitors from that time have written that it looked like a tent city surrounding the bath house. Those here for a cure not only soaked in the tubs but drank the water to relieve their ailments. At one time, a swimming pool was part of the attraction; it has long since been filled in. The gazebo directly north of the bath house is the site of the original spring that served the bath house; it continues that function today. Behind the Bath House along the river, boiling water bubbles up to create a calcified mound, an ongoing demonstration of the hot springs in its natural state.
In the late 1940s, the owners sold the Bath House to the Catholic Church, which in turn sold it to the Village of Jemez Springs in 1961. The structure languished for several decades and then was leased to private operators, who restored the building. In 2003, the Village assumed operation.
Moises Abousleman built this house in 1912. The story is told that when he brought his wife to their new home for the first time, she looked around and asked, “Where is the kitchen?” He then made additional alterations. For more about the Abousleman family, go to Early Settlers.
Jemez Mountain Inn
The Jemez Mountain Inn, previously the Amber Lodge, appears in the earliest photos of the village. The front structure is one of the oldest buildings in the Village, dating from the late 1800s, and currently is the residence of the inn’s owners. At times in the past century, it served as a store, post office, credit union, restaurant, barber shop and saloon, as well as an inn. The six guest rooms at the back are modern additions.
Los Ojos Bar & Grill
The mercantile store that Moses Abousleman built in the late 1800s built became Los Ojos Bar & Grill in 1947. It has been written up in numerous state and national publications and is a must-see stop along the National Scenic Byway named the Jemez Mountain Trail. The original building is the section on the south end. In the past century, it has been a mercantile store, warehouse, pool hall, dining hall, gambling hall and finally a bar. It has the second oldest continuously owned liquor license in the New Mexico.
Jemez Mountain Views/Laughing Lizard
After serving as a dance hall and warehouse, the building just south of the Presbyterian Church became a café that changed hands several times; two of its names were the Palace Cafe and the Chili Bowl. It then operated for years as a widely-known destination: The Laughing Lizard, owned and operated by Elsie MacKinnon. It was a much beloved community gathering place; Thursday nights were local nights. When Elsie retired, the village turned out for a wake in the Lizard’s honor. Today the building is occupied by a gift shop.
Laughing Lizard Cafe in 2010. Photo by Judith Isaacs
Jemez Springs Presbyterian Church
One of the three oldest buildings in the Village is the Jemez Springs Presbyterian Church, first established in 1881 by Dr. J.M. Shields. The building you see today is considerably expanded from the first church. That original sanctuary is now the lower level meeting room, which hosts a variety of community activities, including poetry readings, tai chi classes and an after-school program for elementary students. This follows a long tradition of housing local services, which has included a library and health clinic.
Our Lady of Assumption Church
Our Lady of Assumption Catholic Church was dedicated to Mariano S. Otero, a nephew of Miguel Otero who died in 1904. The church was built around 1900 by the Otero and Perea families on land donated by the Archuleta family. In 1920, the first of three additions was built on the rear.
The Momaday house was built in the 1930s and served as a general store, post office and rectory for Our Lady of Assumption Catholic Church. Its historical significance comes from that fact the from 1946-2011 it was occupied first by Al and Natachee Scott Momaday and later by their son N. Scott Momaday, a Pulitzer-prize winning author, poet, and artist. In an article of unknown origin found in library files, he wrote this about the house:
My parents’ home at Jemez Springs is a great old stone structure of two stories, massive fireplaces, and cool, dark corridors. It has, in its conformation of oak timbers, native stone, and adobe, the character of a castle, or of a haunted parsonage on the Yorkshire moors. It is, in fact, called Stonehenge, and it is aptly named, for there is a kind of Druidic mystery to it; it is informed with something like timelessness. . . .
Stonehenge is filled with a rich and varied treasure, the possessions that have defined my parents’ long tenure in the Southwest: baskets and rugs, silver and beadwork, woodcarvings and leathercraft, ancient pottery and innumerable paintings. The heads of wild animals, buffalo and deer, hang from the walls . . . It is a veritable museum of art, archaeology and natural history.
Scott Momaday has since sold the Jemez Springs house.
Casa Blanca Guest House
Like all the old structures in the Village, Casa Blanca Guest House is constructed of rock and mud, as well as the adobes traditionally associated with New Mexico. Originally a stable, then a two-room house, the five-room house was completely restored as a guest house when Roger and Linda Sweet purchased it. In the early 20th century, the house was known locally as “Buckingham Palace,” so called because a British family lived there. The original outhouse still stands in the midst of beautiful gardens terraced down to the river behind the house, and the original well house has been converted into a compact guest cottage.
Doc’s Cafe/Ward’s Trading Post/Mercantile/Deb’s Deli/Jemez Stage Stop
Another mercantile store, built in 1931 by Swedish immigrants, became a trading post, delicatessen, a café and gas station; it changed hands a number of times and today is the Jemez Stage Stop Cafe. The original store sold hay and wheat, as well as groceries and dry goods. Locals still refer to it as “the Merc” or “the Deli” because of its history as a mercantile store with a deli case. The wooden flooring, door, and some of the windows are from the original building.
Jemez Historic Site/Jemez State Monument
The first non-Indian building at the present-day site of Jemez Springs was the mission of San José de los Guisewa, located just north of the Village Plaza. The first mission was established in 1598 and then abandoned the next year. The Spanish returned to build a church in 1620-21 at the site of a large pueblo named Guisewa, which was one of many constructed of stone throughout the canyon and on the mesa tops. The mission consisted of a church and convento (priests’ quarters), now the ruins we see today at Jemez Historic Site, formerly known as Jemez State Monument. This mission was abandoned in 1630 and remained unoccupied for more than 200 years.
Cemeteries Overview coming soon.
Following practices brought from Spain and Mexico, early farmers irrigated through the use of a community ditch. Under New Mexico’s complicated and controversial water rights laws, the first people on the land are awarded rights to the water (in this case the Jemez River) in perpetuity based on when they arrived. The Jemez Springs acequia system has a priority date of 1865; in this area, only Jemez Pueblo has a prior right. A portion of the original ditch for Jemez Springs, much renovated over the centuries but still in use, can be seen in the heart of the village near the Jemez Stage Stop Café and other segments are in use throughout the village. It is governed in the traditional way by a ditch boss, or major domo, who determines who gets water when. All those using the acequia, the parcipientes, are expected to respect the rules and help to maintain the ditch.
Otero Home/Cor Jesu Monastery
Via Coeli/Miller Home/Esperanza Ranch/Hotel Clay/Palace Hotel
Some confusion exists about which hotel took over the Miller Home. We show these photos as they were labeled.
Hotel Clay, 1922. Photographer unknown.
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