Saturday, September 23, 2023

Corrales Chronicles: I Didn’t Know That! Series


By Mary Davis

This 1970 picture of a group standing in the patio of the Territorial House Restaurant was lent to the Corrales Historical Society by Pat Windisch who had moved to Corrales the year it was taken. Pat (then Pat Phillips, she didn’t marry Chris Windisch until 1986) is smiling, standing next to Tommy Gentry (later the one and only black Mayor of Corrales) at the right end of the back row. She doesn’t remember the names of most of the people in the picture except for the woman standing in front of her whose name was Diana Matheson. Pat said that Diana was very much a horse person (“she even had bowed legs”) and her boy friend (the grinning blonde young man next to Pat in the back) was a real cowboy too. The boy looking down in front is Ben Rotifer and next to him is Tommy Gentry Jr. The young man with the cowboy hat may be Ben’s brother Jesse. No one else was identified—more names welcomed!

Pat had come to New Mexico in 1968 to study archeology at UNM; she remembers that Corrales resident Mike Marshall was a graduate student there. The highlight of her archeological career was a summer in the Dordogne in southwest France excavating a Cro-Magnon site in a high cave. Since she already had pottery skills, she made a living by working at the Fred Evangel studio on West Central. Eventually she gave up archeology (“can’t make a living doing archeology”) and became a full time potter. She met her husband Chris when both were exhibiting at a craft fair on the Santa Fe Plaza. They were married on a snowy December day in a “magical” ceremony in front of a fireplace at the La Posada Inn on East Palace Street in Santa Fe.

Pat remembers that the Territorial House (usually called the T House) was “a general meeting place for anyone over 21,” although children also frequented the restaurant. The photo shows several children, and in a recent interview, Susi Baylor Eichhorst happily recalled that, “We rode our horses to the T House with our Dad and tied them up to the hitching post. Dad would have a beer, we kids had a Shirley Temple and played in the sawdust.” Many T House customers did ride to the restaurant; Pat remembered, “If they got drunk, they would just get on their horse and the horse knew the way home!”

The Territorial House deserves an article by itself since its long and vivid history is so complex; maybe next time. The Historical Society has no photographs of the building from its earlier days—we would very much appreciate any donations!

My interview with Pat about the group at the Territorial House unearthed a bit more information about the hippies (photograph in the November 11, 2022 Comment,) who lived in a commune called Welcome Home in the building that now is El Portal. The story came out during Pat’s interview that in 1970 she lived just two houses south of Welcome Home. What she remembered of the group was that they all had long hair and most smoked pot. She vividly remembers her visit to Welcome Home to borrow something and seeing “a whole stack of people piled on the floor.” Pat “tried really hard to be a hippie” and wore Nehru shirts and bellbottom pants to blend in. However when she visited her home in Illinois, her mother crushed her dream by saying, “I am so glad that none of my children became hippies.” 

Information provided by Corrales Historical Society (CHS) Archives Committee. Want to learn more? Visit for all the exciting things the Historical Society has to offer. New CHS members are always welcome.


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