Taos A to Z: L Taos Unlimited's Taos A to Z

La Hacienda de los Martinez
One of the few remaining Northern New Mexico style Spanish Colonial “Great Houses” open to the public, this hacienda served as an important trade center between the northern frontier of the Spanish Empire and Mexico City. Built in 1804, this fortress-like building with massive adobe walls became an important trade center for the northern boundary of the Spanish Empire. The hacienda was the final terminus for Camino Real (the royal road) which connected northern New Mexico to Mexico City. The hacienda was also the headquarters for an extensive ranching and farming operation.

Severino Martinez and his wife, Maria, raised six children in the hacienda. Their eldest son was the famous Padre Antonio Martinez who battled the French Bishop Lamy to preserve the Hispanic character of the Catholic Church in the territory. The Padre was a dynamic social reformer who created the first co-educational school in New Mexico and brought the first printing press to Taos. Today, the hacienda's 21 rooms, surrounding two courtyards, provide the visitor with a rare glimpse of the rugged frontier life and times of the early 19th century in Taos, New Mexico. (~Jean)
A coyote fence in Northern New Mexico.
Land of Enchantment
The official nickname of the state of New Mexico, given for its stunning beauty and the sacred place the land holds in the hearts of its people. (~Aimee)

A sapling or small tree stripped of its bark and used in numerous building applications in the Southwest and Mexico. For example, latillas are laid side-by-side for ceilings as well as being used as fence posts. Latillas are also used in the popular "coyote fences" seen widely in Taos and Santa Fe, New Mexico. (~Aimee)

A large, widespread group of reptiles with nearly 5,000 species, lizards range across all continents except Antarctica. Lizards typically have four limbs, external ears, and a long tail. Many species of lizards can detach their tails for the purpose of escaping from predators. Lizards are very common in the Southwest, often spotted climbing New Mexico's exterior adobe walls...and as decor, they can be found on interior adobe walls as well. (~Aimee)

Jim Morrison was the Lizard King!
A Bit of Lizard Rock Trivia: Rock icon, Jim Morrison (lead singer of the 1960s rock group, The Doors), was known as the "Lizard King." Jim Morrison's deep connection to shamanism often took form as iconography in his writing. In his lyrics for the epic performance/song Celebration of the Lizard, he would speak "I am the lizard king. I can do anything." This is the origin of the Lizard King moniker. Although several attempts were made to record Celebration of the Lizard, only one small section of it was released as Not to Touch the Earth on The Doors' third album, Waiting for the Sun. (~Aimee)

Long johns hang on the line.
Long Johns
Definition: “underwear with closely fitted legs that extend to the wearer's ankles, often with a long-sleeved top.” Long underwear, often called “long johns,” is a newer style of two-piece underwear with long legs and long sleeves that is normally worn during cold weather. It offers an advantage over the more old-fashioned version of long johns or “union suit,” in that the wearer can choose to use either the top, bottom, or both parts depending on how cold it is. The one-piece long johns, traditionally made of red flannel was buttoned all the way up the front and had a button-up rear “access hatch” so the wearer could eliminate bodily waste without undressing.

Depending on the size of the suit, some have the maximum of 11 buttons on the front, to be fastened through buttonholes from the neck down to the groin area. This warm and practical garment remained in common use in North America into the 20th century. As its popularity waned, it became chiefly working men’s wear. In the mid-1900s, it was not uncommon for rural men to wear the same long johns continuously all week, or even all winter. Normally, no other type of underwear was worn with it. One of the major events of the spring was when the union suits were removed, washed, and put away for the summer. In films and television, wearing long johns was a sign that the character was completely out of touch with the modern world. For example, a funny scene in “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” has the six brothers refusing to take off their long johns for their older brother’s new bride to wash. (~Jean)

Chocolate long john
A Bit of Personal Long Johns Trivia: With our inclusion of the term “long johns” in our A to Z directory, let it not be confused with the delicious donut-like dessert called by the same name. When I was a young girl, one of our favorite treats was the “long john” (donut dough bar) with chocolate or maple icing. My mother would get them from the bakery of a local discount market called “Big Giant.” And occasionally, my aunt would treat my cousin and I to a chocolate long john and a Grapette (in an icy-cold, tall glass bottle) when we would run errands in El Reno, Oklahoma. Although they taste exactly like donuts, the preference for a long john over a donut had to do with the fact that a long john was more substantial, and therefore, more satisfying than the average, somewhat puny donut. (~Jean)

Luminaria (or Farolito)
The first luminarias in North America were bonfires of crisscrossed piñon boughs arranged in three-foot high squares. The Pueblo Indians in New Mexico have long made these small fires outside their homes to light their way to church on Christmas Eve. Later luminarias were small paper lanterns made from colored paper brought to this continent from the Orient. Instead of hanging these delicate lanterns from trees or on wires, they were placed on the ground, on rooftops and along pathways. Today, the word farolito is used in Northern New Mexico, while luminaria is used in Central and Southern New Mexico. Contemporary farolitos are small brown paper bags, filled with an inch of sand which supports a candle. At Christmas time, New Mexico streets and rooftops are lined with these festive lights. (~Aimee)

Pictured top to bottom: 1} Latillas are used for coyote fencing throughout the Southwest; 2} A pair of long johns hang on the wash line

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