America's Best History Spotlight

On this page we're going to Spotlight the lesser known historic sites and attractions that dot the history landscape across the USA and are worth a visit if you're in their area. And while they may be lesser known, some are very unique, and will be that rare find. You'll be, at times, on the ground floor, or maybe even know something others don't. It'll be fun. Visit them.

Giusewa Pueblo

Jemez Historic Site, New Mexico

Its a confluence of cultures in a historic site that reaches back to the ancestral site of the Jemez people of New Mexico, the pueblo of Gíusewa, and the 17th-century Spanish colonial mission called San José de los Jémez. It recounts a revolt by the Jemez people against the Spanish in 1623 and abounds in the ruins of it all. Today, the Jemez Historic Site, formerly known as the Jemez State Monument since 1935 after its preservation had begun in the two decades before, has a relatively small footprint, seven acres or so, but a past so large it reverberates throughout the Jemez River valley in the mouth of Church Canyon with the remains of the Native pueblo as well as the colonial mission that the Spanish built to convert the Jemez and the Jemez attempted to endure. Image above: Ruins of the mission at Gíusewa Pueblo, 1873-1881, John K. Hillers. Courtesy SMU Libraries Digital Collection via Wikipedia Commons.

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Info, What's There Now, History Nearby

Jemez Historic Site

Jemez Historic Site, New Mexico

The origins of the site stretched back seven hundred years when the Gíusewa Pueblo (named after the natural springs of the area) was established by the ancestral people of the Jemez tribe with the Spanish marking its existence during the Coronado expedition. During the latter part of the 16th century, it was estimated that the Jemez tribe, in its various pueblos, numbered about thirty thousand people. By 1598, the Spanish were back, building a small Franciscan mission beside it, with the remnants of the buildings that are currently part of the historic site dating back to 1621. Yes, only two years before the Jemez tribe would revolt.

What remains of those days? From the Spanish side - The church remnants, one of the largest in the 17th century missions in New Mexico, one hundred and ten feet in length with an octagonal bell tower, the foundation of a residence, foundation of a civic building, and a plaza. From the Jemez - a pueblo of two hundred rooms and two kivas.

How long did the tribe remain there? Well, they left after the Pueblo Rebellion of 1680, which evicted the Spanish for twelve years, and relocated to the site of today's Jemez Pueblo.

How long was the mission open? San Jos&ecuate de los J&ecuatemez was abandoned forty years earlier.

The site is on the National Register of Historic Places (1973) and is a National Historic Landmark (2012).

Image above: Photo above: Interior of the church at the San José de los Jémez mission, Sarah Stierch. Courtesy Sarah Stierch, CC 4.0 via Wikipedia Commons. Below: Painting of an Apache war scene (not the Jemez Apache revolt) named "A Dash for the Timber," 1889, Frederick Remington. Courtesy Amon Carter Museum of American Art via Wikipedia Commons.

Apache Wars

Where Is It

The Jemez Historic Site, admininistered by the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, is located on New Mexico State Road 4 north of Jemez Springs, New Mexico. Physical address is Jemez Historic Site, 18160 NM-4, Jemez Springs, NM 87025. That's about sixty miles north of Albuquerque and seventy-five miles west of Santa Fe past Bandelier National Monument and through the Valles Caldera National Preserve.

What is There Now

Although the site is small, seven acres, there is a wonderful heritage center and 1,400 foot interpretive trail through the ruins.

Beyond the Jemez Historic Site, there is also the Pueblo of Jemez, which is one of nineteen existing pueblos in New Mexico. The federally recognized tribe has a Visitor Center recounting its culture on eighty-nine thousand acres of land with a population of three thousand four hundred. The Pueblo of Jemez Visitor Center is open daily.

When Open and How Much

The Jemez Historic Site is usually open daily, but currently closed. Check the park website for the current situation before you go.

Fees subject to change.

Jemez Historic Site
Pueblo of Jemez

History Nearby

You're surrounded by history of both nature and Native American culture, with national forests such as Santa Fe, as well as national park sites such as the Valles Caldera National Preserve and Bandelier National Monument. There are also the sites of the Santa Fe Trail to visit, and if you're coming from Albuquerque, the Old Town area there, just to name a few.

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