Ancestors of the pueblo Indians first settled the East Mountains about 700 A.D., visible remains of which may be seen at Tijeras Pueblo off north NM 337, just south of Interstate 40. Spanish missionaries arrived in the early 1600s, and founded missions at six locations, including Chilili, Tajique, Quarai and Abo. Spanish colonial settlers built estancias (large farm-ranch centers) between Chilili and Quarai. Drought and Apache raids forced a Spanish retreat about 1670, but settlers returned in 1763 to establish a plaza at Carnuel at the mouth of Tijeras Canyon. After a difficult start, more Spanish colonists arrived in the early 1800s, establishing farms and villages on lands north and south along what is today NM 14. A third wave of immigrants arrived in the early 1900s, as cabins were built to accommodate Anglo-Americans from Albuquerque drawn to the mountains for summer recreation and those from all over the nation drawn by the cool air believed to help in the cure of tuberculosis. After World War II, the mountains became a bedroom community for Albuquerque, as commuter homes and subdivisions took shape. Today, the area generally known as the East Mountains is home to more than 10,000 residents.
2014 Upcoming Events Calendar
September 14, Sunday, 2 p.m. Recognition ceremony with refreshments honoring those who have participated in our "Great People, Great Stories" and "Sandia Mountain Legacy" oral history projects, plus awards of recognition for those who have helped preserve area history, including the folks who cleaned up and restored two historic cemeteries -- in Hyer and Lucy, N.M. -- and Rita Liebling for saving the Ross Ward grocery mural. To be held at the little historic church in Tijeras west of the library, in Luis Garcia Park.
September 28, Sunday, 12-5, Los Vecinos Community Center. We'll ask the public to add to our "Treasure Map" of Lost Names and Places in the East Mountains, a recent project partially spawned by oral history participants telling us about places they've lived that no longer are found on maps. We'll unveil and sell our 2015 East Mountain Historical Society Calendar, "East Mountains: Then and Now" ($12 - in full color) and our also share our historic photos and family histories with the public. The calendar features scenes and explanatory captions from East Mountain villages and our environs "Then and Now". Put together by member Kathy Rich, original "Now" photographs by board member Rick Holben line up with historic "Then" photos from the last century. You won't want to be without this fascinating group of Then and Now photos!Nov. 2, Sunday, 1:30 Annual Meeting and Elections; 2 p.m. talk by Anne Hillerman, author of "Spider Woman's Daughter," plus silent auction of books related to New Mexico and/or history. If you'd like to join our board, let us know, and we're still looking for a treasurer. We'll also accept nominations at the annual meeting.
East Mountain Historical Society Honored for Oral History Project
The East Mountain Historical Society has received the Oral History Project of 2012 award for its "Great People, Great Stories" interviews conducted 2011-12 among East Mountain residents.
The award was presented to Kris Thacher, oral history project coordinator, and Denise Tessier, EMHS president, by noted oral historian Rose Diaz of Origins and Legacies Historical Services. The honor came during a three-hour celebration June 3 honoring the 15 East Mountain-area residents who had shared their life stories through the "Great People, Great Stories" oral history pilot project. The event was held at the historic church in Tijeras and adjacent Luis Garcia Park.
During that event, visitors were overflowing out the church door as each of those interviewed received a binder from EMHS containing a recognition certificate, honorary membership in the East Mountain Historical Society, a DVD of each person's oral history interview and two copies of a full-color booklet produced by EMHS. The booklet featured two pages of photos and a summary of the lives of each of the 15 interview subjects. The participants were also featured in a slide show by EMHS.
Before the presentation, the honorees heard a short talk from Diaz, who in turn honored the East Mountain Historical Society by announcing that "Great People, Great Stories" had been named project of the year.
The project also was noted the following week by the Bernalillo County Commission, when Tessier was recognized for preserving history as a writer and lecturer, including service as president of EMHS, which is celebrating its 20th year, and for helping to launch the oral history project with Thacher.
The oral history project was made possible via a grant from the county's Neighborhood Association Outreach Grant Program, which was used to train 10 community historians, purchase recording equipment and create the binder, booklet and DVDs. The East Mountain Area Coalition of Neighborhoods agreed to act as sponsor so that EMHS could conduct the project using the grant.
The commemorative booklet "Great People, Great Stories" was created for the interview subjects and their families, and features Mike Anaya and Rita Anaya Davis of Moriarty, Juan Candelaria of Cedar Crest / San Antonito, Lois Cavasos of Stanley, Marie Herrera Dresser of Carnuel, Andy Gonzales of San Antonio, Ciria Gonzales of La Madera, Angie Gutierrez of Chilili, Jim Hanlon of Sandia Park, Eloy Jaramillo of Carnuel, Lillian Lincoln of Tijeras, Lewis McComb, from the easternmost edge of Bernalillo County, Rachel Maldonado of Juan Tomas/Yrissari, Fidel Padilla of Abo and Rita Loy Horton Simmons of Edgewood.
Oral history committee members who conducted the interviews and wrote summaries for the booklet included Thacher, Tessier, Nancy Carpenter, Anabel Sanchez, Beverly Neville, Christine Smith, Jim Hanlon, Danita Luker, and Carol Frederick. Carpenter created the slide show and some of the still photographs for the booklet, which was edited and designed by Melissa Howard and printed by Kathy Rich, all members of EMHS.
Eventually, these oral histories will be made public and archived at the Center for Southwest Research at the University of New Mexico as additions to the East Mountain Historical Society collection. First, however, they must be transcribed, and although the pilot project grant period is ended, EMHS intends to continue conducting oral histories. For more information and for photos about the June 3 event, visit our newsletters page.
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