2018 Death Valley Tribal Participants
On the left: Eli Aquino, Eric Calvert and Dwayne Calvert
On the right: Robert Mariano, then Aubrey Lujan, Isiah Chavez, Elijah Lujan, then Amber Chapo
New Mexico Natives Experience Death Valley
Cow Creek Compound was built in the 1930s by the Civilian Conservation Corps in south central Death Valley National Park. Currently used as a maintenance facility, it was constructed entirely of adobe with a surrounding compound wall hundreds of feet long. For several years, Cornerstones has been conducting adobe “hands on” training workshops to rebuild the severely deteriorated wall. Local soils are very rocky, and the adobe bricks contain a large percentage of gravely stone. The adobe surfaces of Cow Creek structures were never plastered, but were left to weather naturally, revealing lots of colorful stone. No straw was used, yielding a different kind of adobe, unfamiliar to those of us familiar with traditional building materials in New Mexico.
At the beginning of this year’s workshop in late October, a 5-person team from the Ancestral Lands Southwest Conservation Corps office in Albuquerque joined our 3 Okay Owingeh team members, who were starting the season’s work. Adobe making is always first on the agenda and the eight Native Americans representing Isleta Pueblo, the Navajo Nation and our Cornerstones’ team joined in a tribal collaboration to learn about materials, new techniques and to make over 1000 bricks for the wall work. Three diverse cultures with three different languages making bricks far from home in the lowest, hottest and driest place in the US made for a unique, rewarding shared experience. Our newest and youngest volunteer was on hand, picking up a trowel to help. Plans are underway to repeat the work project in 2019.
On the left - making adobe bricks. On the right - our youngest volunteer from the Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo, Braylon!
Cornerstones’ new intern, Isaac Logsdon, participated in his first work project with Cornerstones at the Cow Creek Compound from November 4th through December 14th. He helped restore several sections of a perimeter wall, which included rebuilding parts from the foundation, to repairing the original. He spent a day in the ghost town of Rhyolite, NV (a Bureau of Land Management site), repairing a 1906 bottle house. The house was built with earthen mortar and an estimated 50,000 glass bottles! We are delighted to welcome Isaac into the Cornerstones family. A recent graduate of Kansas State University with a Bachelor of Fine Arts, Art History and Ceramics degree from Kansas City Art Institute, Kansas City, MO., he is extremely talented and has much to offer!
The Glass Bottle House
We hope that you will think generously about donating to Cornerstones during this celebratory season!
During this holiday season, Cornerstones Community Partnerships is counting its blessings! You are at the top of our list!
Your continued commitment to our goal of working in partnership with communities to restore historic structures, encourage traditional building practices and affirm cultural values indicates that you share the importance Cornerstones places on New Mexico’s unique cultural landscape! Thank you!
Ongoing projects at Plaza del Cerro, Chimayo, reputed to be the only extant fortified plaza in North America, and at San Miguel Chapel, the oldest church in the United States, are always a part of our agenda.
But in order to remain relevant in today’s world and to fully impact the communities we serve, we also seek new directions. Our most recent new project is The Solar Initiative. A generous donor has stepped forward to grant monies for solar installation and maintenance on Tribal lands and in New Mexico villages. Since its inception at the end of 2017, we have made eight grants ranging from a training and installation program for members of the Navajo Nation and Pueblo of Zuni who live off the grid in the Gallup area to, most recently, UNM-Taos for the Integrated Education and Solar Certification Training program, designed specifically for the non-traditional student.
As we review proposals from potential grantees, we are focused on funding projects that give opportunity to the unemployed, underemployed and youth, who, in turn, give back to the community.
And, exciting news: Cornerstones has received funding to initiate solarization of San Miguel Chapel! We’ll keep you informed of our progress!
We hope that you will think generously about donating to Cornerstones during this celebratory season!
Centro de Amistad Senior Center in Santa Clara Goes Solar
On Friday, October 12, 2018 the Centro de Amistad Senior Center in Santa Clara switched to an all-solar system. Cornerstones, in partnership with Remy’s Good Day Fund, granted New Energy Economy funds to assist in the installation. The revenue saved will be re-invested in the senior center and its programs, which include the only meal of the day for many of the 100 seniors served and the only opportunity for socialization.
Dozens of local elders and area leaders turned out for a green ribbon cutting ceremony to celebrate the completion of a 19 kW solar array that will virtually eliminate the center’s electrical costs and reduce yearly electricity bills by $8-$10,000 for the Village of Santa Clara, helping to redirect funds back into community. It will also reduce CO2 emissions by nearly 900,000 lbs. - the equivalent of Not Burning 368,000 lbs. of coal!
Poster Presentation at the Ribera Cultural Community Center
In 1998, the Los Pueblos Community Council envisioned The Ribera Community Cultural Center in Ribera, NM. They re-purposed the old Ribera School the Old Ribera School into a much-needed community center for gatherings, art exhibits and classes and other community-focused activities with the intent of enriching the lives of those living in San Miguel county.
Gloria Luz Gonzales, Director, Los Pueblos Community Council, has been instrumental in the entire 10-year project. When funding for solar panels was offered by Cornerstones during the reconstruction process, she realized the potential of it to save money that could be used to support projects at the center. She also saw it as a teaching moment. In February 2018, Cornerstones, in partnership with Remy’s Good Day Fund, granted the Cultural Center funds to install 14 solar panels to provide the hot water supply for radiant heat throughout the building. The installation was completed on September 10, 2018. On October 24, 2018 at 10AM, Cornerstones presented the Community Cultural Center with a poster explaining the new solar thermal system.
Partnering with Remy’s Good Day Fund, we at Cornerstones have created a Solar Initiative directed toward job training, and the installation and maintenance of solar systems on Tribal lands and in economically challenged northern New Mexico villages. We support job training for youth, the unemployed and underemployed which enhances economic opportunity for both the individual as well as their community. Solar power also offers health benefits and cost savings. We are delighted to be part of the solarization of the Santa Clara and Ribera centers and look forward to helping other communities in New Mexico strengthen ties and improve economies.
New Mexico ranks second in the nation for solar potential. but has been slow to act on this fact. Cornerstones and Remy’s Good Day Fund intend to change this!
The Sacred Heart of Jesus Church in Rainsville, NM has been repaired. Mora County interns, Robby Kelly and Santiago Vigil worked diligently on Friday, September 29 to complete this mission. Their lime plaster repair work was very successful and blends in well with the rest of the structure. After the repair, they lime washed the structure with one coat and water colored(brown) it with rollers on extension poles. This gave the normally white colored, lime washed walls a mud plaster look. Thank you, Robbie and Santiago, for the beautiful job!
TICAL (Taller Internacional de Cal)
The Historic Doña Ana Village, NM
The International Workshop on Lime Plaster and Lime Wash (TICAL) at Doña Ana Village October 9-13, 2018 was a great success.Community members, Pat Taylor (Pat Taylor, Inc), representatives of the Instituto Nacional de Antropologia e Historia, University of New Mexico and Cornerstones Community Partnerships jointly lead the workshop. The workshop addressed traditional adobe repairs, lime plaster and lime wash of historic structures in Doña Ana, a historic district in Las Cruces, listed on the State and National Register. The focus was on the church, the De La O house and the Montoya House. Approximately 40 participants from the US and Mexico, including 5 students from UNM, enjoyed both the classroom and hands-on training, as well as several lectures. Those attending the workshop praised the quality of the overall experience, commenting on the well -organized lessons and the knowledgeable and welcoming nature of the attending experts. Many are looking forward to an invitation to the next TICAL! The workshop was sponsored by the Historic Preservation Education Foundation, the National Park Service, Doña Ana Historic Preservation Committee, Cornerstones Community Partnerships, University of New Mexico, Pat Taylor, Inc., and INAH. Congratulations to all who ensured the success of this workshop!
Partnering with communities toward sustainable heritage
Cornerstones Project Manager, Don Sena, has been busy recently sealing the area above the new flashing on the new roof of the San Miguel gift shop and sacristy. After storms washed out many areas between the exterior wall and the new roof, repairs were needed so flashing could be installed. After repairs and flashing installation, wire mesh was installed to hold the scratch coat (base coat) in place on the upper portion of the flashing. Because of Don’s successful efforts, all areas above the flashing, around windows, behind rundown pipes, and on the parapet above the gift shop have been plastered and sealed. Another coat of mud will be placed on the parapet area above the gift shop to better seal the roof and cover the exposed geo-reinforcing mesh. Many thanks to Don for his commitment to historic preservation!
Barb Odell, Volunteer Photographer
Cornerstones is so appreciative of the many miles Barb travels to capture the magic of work projects. We asked her to share a few of her thoughts and favorite photos. She says, “I want to give you images from the work sites as it’s been incredible to see these developments. One is the transfer of knowledge from old to young. As we know, handing down these work techniques is invaluable to the preservation of these buildings. And Cornerstones can make those connections - such as the late Felipe Ortega, who is showing Leanne Fulfer how to build the Horno at the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe."
The second photo is from the Plaza del Cerro at Chimayo, showing some of the items found during the excavation of the walls as community members and volunteers got ready to restore them. Many of these found objects were underneath the street side window where there was a space between the boards in the wall section below the sill. “I find it fascinating when we find these items and wonder on their history", Barb says.
Many thanks to Barb for capturing and sharing community spirit!
Both photos by Barb Odell.
TICAL - October 9 -13, 2018
The correct room rate for attendees is $79.00 per night.
Google Group Spends Day at Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo Making Adobe Bricks
After many years in decline, the focus of the Ohkay Owingeh today is on rehabilitating the historic core of the pueblo, which was entirely built of adobe by the Ohkay Owingeh people. This commitment to rebuild serves as an excellent model for other communities.
On August 2, 2018, a group of Google employees spent the day making adobe bricks at the Ohkay Owingeh pueblo. Cornerstones Community Partnerships, who has been conducting adobe making workshops like this for many years, involving volunteers from all over the country, coordinated the project. “We do it whenever we can structure the opportunity” says Jake Barrow, Cornerstones’ Director. “The Google event at the Pueblo was very special because of the vital importance of native culture to the heritage of New Mexico. Earthen architectural traditions are deeply imbedded in our state and represent a tactile connection of a unique place and people. This work links our present to our past, which is so well-embodied by the current Okay Owingeh project.”
We, at Cornerstones, are delighted that Google had the opportunity to work in collaboration with the pueblo and had a chance to experience the Governor’s and War Chief’s prayers with its message of unity, respect, thankfulness and appreciation.
Saturday Concerts at San Miguel Chapel - Exceptional Chamber Music performances support the restoration of this historic structure. The last two performances are at 4PM in the Chapel on August 18th and August 25th.
Cornerstones' work projects have been rescheduled due to weather. We look forward to beginning again in early September. During that month, Mora Youth interns will be workring on weekends at various locations in the county. If you'd like to volunteer, please contact Cornerstones for information.
A group from Historic Preservation at Boston Architectural College, led by Director Eleni Glekas and comprised of 10 graduate students and faculty from BAC and the National College of Arts in Pakistan, recently visited Santa Fe. The trip was organized through an educational partnership the college has with the U.S. Dept. of State. The group visited Santa Fe several years ago and attended a lecture given by Cornerstones' Director Jake Barrow, who instructed them in the art of adobe construction and Cornerstones’ preservation projects
Mud adobe was of prime interest to the group on this trip and they contacted Jake again, who gave a presentation to them on adobe and the history of San Miguel Mission. At Cornerstones’ suggestion, the group then travelled to Chimayo where they toured the Plaza del Cerro and spoke with several Chimayosos about the its restoration. The Plaza del Cerro is considered the oldest, intact, enclosed plaza in New Mexico, built in the late 18th century and designed defensively to protect the community. Cornerstones, along with Chimayo community members and other volunteers, is engaged in the restoration of this important site.
Cornerstones is delighted to have had the opportunity to educate and assist this group during their visit to northern New Mexico.
The Taller International de Conservacion y Restauracion de Arquitectura de Tierra (TICRAT) is a binational initiative that started approximately 25 years ago to bring much needed information to communities and professionals in the preservation of historic and earthen structures in our region. These earthen technologies and building typologies in Mexico and the U.S. are a common cultural thread between both nations. Cornerstones, along with important institutions such as the National Park Service (NPS), University of Arizona, UNM and the Instituto de Antropologia e Historia (INAH in Mexico) collaborated this year to bring the program to Santa Fe and the Pecos National Historical Park in New Mexico, June 12-15. The NPS provided a long list of experts in earthen architecture, including our own Jake Barrow. The workshop was complemented by academic institution lecturers as well as local conservationists. Morning presentations were held at Site Santa Fe, a unique contemporary art space, and afternoon workshops were conducted at the Pecos National Historical Park. Participants enjoyed a hands-on morning lime plaster and washing project at the historic Nuestra Senora de Luz church in Canoncito. Cornerstones is delighted, after a ten year hiatus, to again be an integral part of this important international conference.
Check out the first official season of Chamber Music at San Miguel Chapel every Sunday at 4:00 PM from July 28th through August 25th. These concerts are to raise funds for the preservation of San Miguel. See the calendar page of their website for more information:http://sanmiguelchapel.org/
Placitas was resettled by the Spanish in !840, after years of conflict. Although there was no church at the time, the Catholic Church was providing services in the area, conducting masses in chapels at various locations throughout the Placitas area until the turn of the century. At that time the present church, San Antonio, was built and has served the people since (although Placitas has never had a resident priest).
Twelve volunteers, including those from Cornerstones and community members, recently re-plastered San Antonio Church in Placitas, NM, working three six-hour days, starting July 12 and finishing July 14. Seven yards of soil and sand were used for this mud plaster, which will last for years. Volunteers and community members particularly enjoyed this experience, partly due to the architectural curvature of the area behind the altar. The group included a couple from Colorado, six Placitas community members and two volunteers from Ojo Caliente. Volunteers, Angela Francis and Jeff Davis, who have helped on the last three Cornerstones work projects, rounded out the group. Volunteers like these who produce professional results have added to the success of our summer program this year! Much fun was had and many bonds were made during this project. A big thanks to everyone who came out to help repair this historic structure.
Our Lady of Light Church, Canoncito, NM
“Our Lady of Light" Church in Cañoncito, NM was built in 1880 and added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1995. The one-story adobe structure was constructed into a slope at the side of Apache Canyon and is a visibly attractive icon along Rt 25 north of Santa Fe.
In June a TICRAT (International workshop for adobe preservation) took place at the church. This was a celebration of a previous workshop held in the 90’s at which time a major re-plastering of the church took place, organized by Cornerstones. Following the one-day TICRAT, community workshop, members, Cornerstones’ volunteers and project manager, Don Sena spent 3 days (July 5 -July 7) continuing the work started. Although afternoon thunderstorms forced some work stoppages, work included removal of old, eroded lime plaster around the base of the structure, repairing plaster failures and crack repair. New lime plaster was applied where needed. Several coats of lime wash were also applied to the exterior walls. Painting was initiated on windows and doors. One-half yard of sand and 4 bags of lime were used. The group included seven nearby community members and two Knights of Columbus members. Adin Lichtenstein, Angela Francis, mentioned in the above article and a valued volunteer and highly skilled plasterer, and Bernadette Lucero (Archdiocese of Santa Fe) participated in the effort. Some work remains to be done to complete the preservation maintenance. Cornerstones was gratified to return to the church after so many years to help make repairs. The church is challenged by not having a mayordomo or volunteers to maintain it for services. Elderly community members are hopeful for a renewal of these important functions.
St Mary's, Ojo Caliente
St Mary’s Church in Ojo Caliente, NM was built in the 1950’s, adjacent to the Santa Cruz church, which had fallen into disrepair. Santa Cruz was dedicated in 1812 but by 1885 was victimized by weather and pigeons. Newspaper reports of the day claimed thieves had stolen many of the religious artifacts.
Over time, St. Mary’s church has required repairs itself. Cornerstones' volunteers have been active in mud plaster and basal repairs on the edifice since 2006. From July 25 through July 28 this summer, volunteers re-plastered the west-facing walls of St. Mary’s, working four six-hour days. Approximately 1 yard of sand and 5 yards of soil were used to re-plaster 3 west facing panels. Seven community members, Jeff Davis, Angela Francis, and Cornerstones Development Associate, Karen Kuranz, worked to get this project completed. A special thanks to other community members for assisting in making delicious lunches for the workers. Many thanks to all who participated!
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The San Lorenzo Mission Church was originally built in the early 1600’s. In the late 1800’s the structure was in such bad shape, it had to be torn down. A new church, using the original design and traditional building materials was built on the existing foundation and dedicated in 1993. Churches: Symbols of a Community, now Cornerstones, provided technical assistance. Over the years, renewal of plaster has been necessary and from May 8 through June 8, volunteers from the Picuris Pueblo, the Valley School of Ligonier, PA and a group from Connecticut completed 72 hours of mud-plastering of the Church. To restore the church walls, native soil was screened and mixed with concrete sand at a ratio of 1 to 1.5. This combination makes the material more workable and crack resistant. In recent years, the pueblo has used soil alone which has not performed as well as it should. The new mix was very well received by tribal members. Joe Mermejo, Majordomo in charge of the church, set up the work and was assisted by Donna Rudolf, a Picuris projects consultant. Support and direction came from the Picuris Pueblo Governor, Craig Quanchello and Cornerstones project manager, Don Sena. We thank the many volunteers who helped with the plastering!
Volunteers at the San Juan Bautista Church, Los Hueros
Although in the mid-1800’s the area was still occupied by members of the Jicarilla Apache tribe, Ocate, 3 miles east of Los Hueros, was settled by Hispanics who, with their flocks of sheep, moved southeast from Taos, looking for new, unoccupied pastures and farmland. They eventually moved west, creating the village of Los Hueros and building their church. A plaque found on the balcony of San Juan Bautista in1986 confirms that it was built in 1895.
In 1989, community members of Los Hueros contacted “Churches: Symbols of Community”, seeking help restoring their church. With the approval of the Archdiocese, Cornerstones made a site visit in 1990 to determine its condition. Community volunteers, with the assistance of Cornerstones’ technical advisors, restored and lime plastered the church in 1992. Periodic repairs continue to this day and on June 6, more than a dozen community members and other volunteers showed up to assist in the latest project. The stripping of old lime plaster off the exterior base, various exterior wall panels, and the re-plastering of these areas with new lime plaster was completed on 6/15/18. All exterior walls were then lime washed multiple times. Cornerstones' interns Robbie Kelly and Santiago Vigil assisted in the work. Robbie started working with Cornerstones as an intern seven years ago when he was 15 years old and has been a steady and greatly valued team member since then. Santiago is 14 years old and is a new addition to our team on that side of the mountain. At fourteen, he is already an accomplished author! Other community members brought food and refreshments for the workers each day. It was a very pleasurable experience working on this structure and much fun was had by all.
Since 2012, the Wellseley Village Church youth group from Massachusetts has volunteered with Cornerstones, in Santa Fe and its surrounding communities, helping to preserve the Santa Domingo Trading Post, the San Miguel Chapel, the Agua Fria Village entrance monument and other similar projects. This year they returned to Santa Fe in April to inaugurate an adobe yard in the Plaza del Cerro in Chimayo, a National Historic District. Fifty high schoolers and their advisors spent spring break mining clay dirt, making 715 adobe bricks and mud plastering, all essential to preserving parts of the plaza. The Chimayo community and Cornerstones are so grateful to this hardworking group of young people and are hoping to see them in April 2019!
We recently received a thank you letter from the Wellesley youth group along with pictures and comments. We'd like to share a few of them with you!
“Thank you, Jake, for making a difference and showing us how to do so.” Stacey
“Thank you all so much! Fun and rewarding work - absolutely loved it.” Kelly
“I enjoyed building a wall.” Billy
“Glad we could help!” Anna
“We are so happy the bricks we made will rebuild the plaza buildings.” Jim
“We are grateful for muddy hands!” Pam
Adobe Brick-Making during the Historic Preservation Month of May
Over four consecutive Saturdays in May, Cornerstones and Historic Santa Fe Foundation celebrated Heritage Preservation Month by conducting our 2nd annual adobe brick-making workshop series in the courtyard of the Palace of the Governors and at San Miguel Chapel in Santa Fe. Over 200 volunteers made bricks and/or stayed to learn. The bricks will be used to restore buildings in northern New Mexico and each participant who signed up will be mailed a Certificate of Accomplishment with detailed information about the new home for their bricks. We greatly appreciate the volunteers who came from across the country and from as far away as Taiwan. Along with the thousands of other volunteers who help in earthen architectural preservation, their enthusiasm and hard work are the heartbeat of our mission. We look forward to welcoming many more brick-makers in May 2019!
Cornerstones and the Historic Santa Fe Foundation invite you to attend the remaining two Saturdays of the 2nd annual adobe brick-making community days during May 2018. Join other volunteers, meet new friends, have fun, learn something new and get your hands dirty for a worthy cause.
Each full size brick you make will be used to restore historic buildings in Northern New Mexico and you will be mailed a Certificate of Accomplishment with detailed information about the new home of your brick.
Last Two Saturdays In May
San Miguel Chapel
401 Old Santa Fe Trail
May 19 / May 26
9:30 am to 1 pm
All ages are welcome.
All adobe-making events are free and open to the public.
Join us for:
Preservation Month Lecture
New Mexico History Museum / Meem Room
Is Adobe Relevant Today?
Cornerstones Executive Director Jake Barrow
Wednesday, May 16 12 pm noon
Bring your own brown bag lunch.