NoeHill Travels in the American West: New Mexico

National Register of Historic Places in Santa Fe County

National Register #74001206: San Ildefonso Pueblo Historic District 9 August 2007
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National Register #74001206
San Ildefonso Pueblo Historic District
County Road 84
San Ildefonso Pueblo
Established 1300

The Pueblo of San Ildefonso was established a mile from the present village around 1300. It was first visited by Caspar Castaño de Sosa in 1591. Two other Spaniards, Francisco Leyva de Bonillo and Antonio Gutiérrez de Humaïa led an unauthorized expedition into New Mexico in 1595 and spent a year among the northern pueblos making San Ildefonso their principal headquarters.

At the beginning of the 17th century, the pueblo moved to its present site. In 1601, a convento and church were built. In 1610, Fray Andrews Baptista established a permanent mission. In 1641, the population of San Ildefonso was four hundred. By 1680, the population had doubled.

The San Ildefonso Indians played a major role in the great Pueblo Revolt of 1680. Their chief, Francisco, was one of the major leaders of the rebellion against Spanish rule. It was by his command that the church was destroyed and many Spanish colonists were killed, including the two resident missionaries.

The Pueblo Revolt killed four hundred Spanish and drove the remaining two thousand settlers out of the territory. Twelve years later, the Spanish reoccupied the territory with little opposition.

In 1776, Fray Francisco Atanasio Dominguez inventoried the pueblo and noted:

Said pueblo is in the form of a very large plaza, clean and without any impediments. It consists of four tenements with three large passageways to the east, south, and north at their respective corners, and a small one to the west to lead to the church. The houses are arranged as I said at Tesuque, but larger and better kept than there. Therefore I say no more. Around the plaza at proportionate distances are the corrals, ovens, and henhouses.

Today, the Pueblo of San Ildefonso is built around a large plaza formerly divided by a line of one-story structures which were razed in the 1960s. A circular ceremonial kiva is located on the south end of the plaza and a rectangular kiva is situated southwest of it.

An adobe church built in 1905 stands on the site of the destroyed 17th century mission. The church and the adobe houses in the pueblo are in excellent condition.

Source: Adapted from Wikipedia and the NRHP nomination submitted in 1974.

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