Wednesday, October 4, 2023
Corrales Chronicles

Corrales Chronicles: I Didn’t Know That!


Did you know that there are seven buildings and one archeological site in Corrales listed on the New Mexico Register of Cultural Properties? The first two stand on Old Church Road—the Old San Ysidro Church and Casa San Ysidro (and its collections). The other five are all on Corrales Road in the downtown/commercial area: Casa Perea (4829), Cristobal Martinez House/Perea Hall (4607), Casa Vieja (4541), Elias Martinez House (4655), and the Alejandro Gonzales House (4499). The location of the archeological site noted above, the remnant of a large pueblo, is not made public for security reasons. Listing on the State Register of Cultural Properties places some protections on the properties when state or federal funds are used in a renovation project or when owners apply for a state tax credit against their renovation expenses.

The Registered buildings in downtown Corrales also now have blue Corrales Historical Society building plaques giving the approximate date of construction and a bit of the structure’s history. Several other buildings along Corrales Road have joined the plaqued group: Jose Felipe Silva House (4779), Octaviano Lopez Building (4686), Old Society Hall (4534), Perea’s Tijuana Bar and Restaurant (4590), Casa de Francisco Antonio Gonzales (4535), Rivera House (4225), and Candido Gonzales House (4036), as well as the Francisco Gutierrez House, 1000 Old Church Road, next to the Old Church. These buildings may be eligible for listing on the State Register if the State Cultural Properties Review Committee that decides Register listings deems they retain most of their historic architectural character. 

What qualifies a structure for listing on the Register? First, it must appear close to how it appeared in its “period of significance,” the years in which the structure achieved the appearance for which it is being nominated. Casa Vieja, for example, although built in the nineteenth century, came to look as it does in the mid-twentieth century when newcomers to New Mexico found, bought, and renovated or restored old adobes. Buildings that appear intact can also be listed for the importance of the people who lived there. The Alejandro Gonzales House was home to a farmer who pioneered progressive farming methods and a crop—celery—in New Mexico. Copies of the Register nominations are available at the State Cultural Affairs office in Santa Fe and in the CHS Archives.

The Corrales Historical Society plaque is given to a Corrales building if it retains parts of its early structure and has become a landmark in the Village. The Tijuana Bar has been standing in some form since about 1800, keeps some of its appearance from early in the twentieth century, and has belonged to the same long time Corrales family for nearly 100 years. The Francisco Gutierrez House, although with several additions, is still a long low adobe holding three separate homes much as it did in the 1920s. Its owners can be traced back to the mid-19th century and were one of the donors of land for the old San Ysidro Church.

A self-guided walking tour with a map of the buildings with historical building plaques is available at most stores in Corrales. Buildings that received a plaque are not protected from alteration or demolition by their plaque listing; the Historical Society only has the owner agree that if the building is significantly changed in appearance, the plaque will be removed.

Included here are historic photographs of some of the buildings that have received plaques.


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