La Sala de Galisteo


La Sala de San José is located in Galisteo, New Mexico within the Galisteo Basin. The town of Galisteo was established in 1816, but La Sala was built sometime between 1898 and 1920.  It was used as a place of worship and for communal activities such as weddings and receptions, first communions, dances and live musical performances. Residents from outlying areas would make the trip to Galisteo for these social events.

La Sala has been through numerous changes over the years. The rectangular shaped building was used during the 1960s for commercial purposes but by the 1990s the space was used for art galleries. Because of its many layers of history, the building represents and embodies the exceptional historic, artistic, and cultural significance of the village. The Galisteo Basin Archaeological Site Protection Act recognizes some of the most dramatic archaeological evidence of early historic contacts between indigenous peoples and European explorers and settlers, and the area is one of the most important west of the Mississippi.

In 2009, at the request of community members and with funding from the New Mexico Historic Preservation Division, Cornerstones conducted a site survey and prepared a Conditions Report and Preservation Plan. The treatment recommendations included: stabilization of the failing stone masonry foundation, removal/ replacement of the front steps, removal of inappropriate and deteriorating exterior cement plaster, adobe repair and re-plastering with adobe.  

Since 2013 volunteers, including youth, from the community as well as volunteers and youth from other parts of the country have helped with the rehabilitation process which is still underway. The recommended stabilization work has been completed and current efforts are concentrated on door and window repair/replacement and mechanical systems as well as parapet repair.

The community wants to continue to use the space as an art gallery and a community center where public functions and activities that reflect its original use as a hall for dances, weddings, and gatherings will take place. Community members recognize Galisteo’s historical significance and want to restore community use of this building while preserving La Sala de San José as part of their larger cultural heritage.