Friday, 5 October 2012

El Rancho De Las Golondrinas

The Ranch of the Swallows dates back to the early 1700’s and is fascinating.   It was the last stop before Santa Fe on the Camino Real and as such must have been a welcome sight for travellers who had just traversed the dreaded Camino Del Muerto. 

Torreon (defensive tower) at the entrance.
The ranch is part original, part restored and part period buildings brought in from other locations.
This is one of the oldest sections.   We learnt that the doorways were low, partly because people were smaller but also for defensive reasons, as if the thick outer walls were breached, the attackers had to look down as they tried to access the inner area, making it easier for those defending to fight back.
Another view of the inside.
Chapel of the Penitentes, unfortunately it was locked so we couldn’t go inside.

The Rio Grande runs through the property, luckily there is a bridge so we didn’t have to wade through the ford.

Fields are still planted with corn there is also a blacksmiths, wheelwrights, tanners, all the things you would need to keep a ranch running.

School house for the children.
This Molina (watermill) is the largest of the 4 at Las Golondrinas, the working parts were made in Buffalo, New York.   In the 1870’s it was brought over the Santa Fe trail to the town of Sapelló just north of Las Vegas, New Mexico were it was used for generations by the same family.   In the 1960’s it was purchased by Las Golondrinas, the adobe building is a replica of the original in Sapelló, the 20 ft water wheel has recently been restored and is powered by water carried by an aqueduct from the ‘cienega’ (upper spring).
We spent several fascinating hours visiting this historical place and although it’s on the edge of Santa Fe, it seemed a million miles away from all the hustle and bustle.
Have fun, we are!

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