Programs & Services

State Preservation Award Winners Announced

Invitation to cover: The 44th annual awards ceremony is Friday, May 13, 2 p.m., at the Scottish Rite Center in Santa Fe. It is one of 41 events and a commemorative poster geared to marking the 2016 National Park Service Centennial and National Historic Preservation Act 50th anniversary in New Mexico. All events are listed in the “Calendar of Events” posted on the HPD website.

Santa Fe – Twenty individuals and organizations that made a difference preserving New Mexico history will be recognized with Heritage Preservation Awards on May 13, the New Mexico Historic Preservation Division announced today.

An afternoon ceremony will be held in the theater of the historic Scottish Rite Temple in Santa Fe. Awards are signed by Governor Susana Martinez and presented by the state Cultural Properties Review Committee, whose duties include listing buildings, archaeological sites, and structures in the State Register of Cultural Properties. The ceremony is a signature event sponsored by HPD during Heritage Preservation Month each May.

“The awards this year honor significant accomplishments in preserving Native American heritage, historic architecture, and pioneering work by one of the first preservation organizations in New Mexico, said Rick Hendricks, Ph.D., CPRC chairman and New Mexico State Historian. “The committee also is recognizing New Mexico authors for several types of publications ranging from the scholarly to books about roadside historic markers and a historical novel.”

The 44th awards ceremony is one of dozens of events focusing on the National Historic Preservation Act’s 50th anniversary and the National Park Service Centennial during May. The online Calendar of Events at has a complete list along with information about obtaining this year’s commemorative poster about the two preservation milestones.

Heritage Preservation Awards

Awards will be presented to 20 individuals from Santa Fe, Albuquerque, Las Cruces, Las Vegas, Gallup, Corrales, Silver City, and Lincoln.

Lifetime Achievement

  • Santa Fe-based photographer Marcia Keegan has documented Native American culture through her camera lens since the 1970s. She has published several compilations of her photographs. Her work is part of the permanent collections of the White House, Library of Congress, Metropolitan Museum of Art, Albuquerque Museum, and New Mexico Museum of Art. Recognized as the only visual artist permitted to photograph all nineteen New Mexico pueblos, her work has been praised by Native American leaders Regis Pecos and Herman Agoyo. Keegan began her career as an Associated Press photographer and worked for the Albuquerque Tribune and Albuquerque Journal. She played a significant role in recognizing Native American women on the state’s roadside markers under the New Mexico Historic Women Marker Initiative.

State Historian’s Award for Excellence in New Mexico Scholarship

  • Drs. Charles H. Harris III and Louis Ray Sadler were born one day apart in 1937 in different countries, and both married women named “Betty.” They did not meet until 1969 when they began teaching at New Mexico State University. Harris and Sadler formed a dynamic publishing partnership in 2002 that has produced a body of work that stands with the best-researched, scholarly prose to come out of the Southwest. They have published five books together, including one about Santa Fe-based archaeologist Sylvanus Morley, a top government spy during World War I. Mexican Revolution-themed works such as The Texas Rangers and the Mexican Revolution: The Bloodiest Decade, 1910-1920 have won previous awards.

Individual Achievement

  • Sustainability has become a preservation buzzword in the last five years, but Victoria T. Jacobson advocated for it long before the term was popular. A retired NPS historic architect, she has helped preserve buildings as diverse as the Depression-era Old Santa Fe Trail NPS headquarters adobe masterpiece to mid-twentieth century Mission 66 visitor centers at Fort Union, and Capulin Volcano. A tireless volunteer, she has been with the New Mexico Heritage Preservation Alliance for 10 years, five as its president.
  • For more than 20 years, archaeologist Norman B. Nelson has championed SiteWatch—the site steward program that trains volunteers to monitor sensitive cultural sites for vandalism, erosion, and theft. At HPD, he led the program for five years but before that he developed similar programs in Hawaii and for New Mexico State Parks. Under his leadership SiteWatch chapters were established in 18 communities representing every region in New Mexico. Nelson retired in 2015 to spend more time with his family in Edgewood.
  • C. Dean Wilson knows more about the origins and cultural significance of different types of Southwestern Native American ceramics than anyone in the field. He is being honored for his exhaustive work as a ceramist and his innovative approach to sharing his knowledge with public. Wilson, of Santa Fe, developed the online Southwest Ceramic Typology Project for the state Office of Archaeological Studies. He has analyzed Southwestern ceramics for 35 years, 25 of them with OAS, a division of the Department of Cultural Affairs.
  • At first glance, the New Mexico Department of Transportation might appear more focused on building new roads than preserving old ones. But Laurel T. Wallace, of Santa Fe, made sure the best of the old was preserved as manager of the department’s historic bridges and structures program. She wrote authoritative documents used to interpret and preserve historic roads and the iconic architecture and structures found along beloved old highways such as Route 66 and our scenic byways. Wallace retired from NMDOT in 2015.

Architectural Heritage

  • The first firehouse built for a volunteer fire department in New Mexico is in Las Vegas. The E. Romero Hose and Fire Company building in the city’s Bridge Street Historic District went up in in 1882, burned down, and was rebuilt in 1909. Now it’s well on its way to becoming a museum, thanks to MainStreet de Las Vegas, which made it a priority to save this important building in the Bridge Street Historic District. After years of disuse, the roof was about to cave in and the first-floor ceiling had collapsed. MainStreet secured $75,000 in legislative funds for clean-up and a new roof. Glass accordion doors were installed behind the original wooden garage-bay doors, to display the prized 1937 Seagrave fire truck and the 1890 La France fire cart parked beside it.

Community Preservation Planning

  • New Mexico’s newest historic district is the Gallup Commercial Historic District, established in April by the CPRC. The Gallup MainStreet Arts & Cultural District sponsored the nomination, which will be used to guide development in a part Gallup that speaks to its railroad, Route 66 and tourism pasts. For generations, the area has been an important Native American arts-and- crafts trade center and home of the Inter-Tribal Ceremonial founded in 1922. The art district’s partnerships with the Gallup Business Improvement District, the city, Route 66 Ride, Octavia Fellin Public Library and the Land of Enchantment Opera have helped promote the local arts economy.

Heritage Organization

  • New Mexico’s oldest MainStreet program is the Silver City MainStreet Project. Now 30 years old, it has overseen major infrastructure improvements downtown including new sidewalks, streetlights and a visitor center. But in 2015 the program accomplished the rare feat of re-opening a downtown movie theater from Hollywood’s golden years as a first-run, 21st century movie house. Built in 1923, the Silco was shuttered and became a furniture store in 1965. After several incarnations, MainStreet leased the building in 2006 for performances and events. The $1 million rehabilitation—financial support came from the New Mexico legislature, HPD, New Mexico MainStreet and private donations—restored the interior, a neon marquee, installed digital projection and sound equipment and new seats. The restored theater’s premier showing was the first run of Mad Max.
  • In the 50th anniversary year of the National Historic Preservation Act, few preservation organizations are as deserving of recognition as the Old Santa Fe Association. Architect John Gaw Meem and author Mary Austin established it in 1926 in part to stop a summer culture colony, or tent Chautauqua, from forming on land near present-day St. John’s College. OSFA was the driving force behind one of the first local preservation ordinances in the nation, Santa Fe’s 1957 historic styles ordinance. In the late 1940s it stopped a highway from being built through downtown Santa Fe, and in 1961 established the Historic Santa Fe Foundation to acquire and manage historic properties. Recently, OSFA updated the 1964 State Historic Districts and Landmarks Act so state and local governments must collaborate when legislative funds are earmarked for new construction in historic districts.
  • San Ysidro Church in Corrales is listed in the National Register of Historic Places as a fine example of a small, mid-19th century New Mexico village church. A severe storm in 2013 washed away layers of adobe plaster and revealed myriad problems that threatened the church’s structural integrity. Preserved by the Corrales Historical Society for 42 years, which manages it as a community events venue, the Society, Village of Corrales and the Village of Corrales Fire Department applied for Federal Emergency Management Funds to repair the church. They hired Santa Fe-based conservator Crocker Ltd. to stabilize and repair the building. The four entities are receiving awards as collaborating organizations that preserved the church, which was built in 1868 to replace a previous church demolished by a flood.

Heritage Publication

  • David Pike wrote two informative editions of Roadside New Mexico: A Guide to Historic Markers published by UNM Press in 2004 and 2015. Based in Albuquerque, Pike traveled to each of the 494 markers listed in his newest book, and even included “ghost markers,” those no longer standing but sometimes marked by an abandoned, overgrown pull-out. His books are reliable, accurate guides to New Mexico’s Official Scenic Historic Markers, and fortified with history synopses that serve as roadmaps to the stories behind their texts. The expanded 2015 edition includes new markers built since 2004 plus the first 55 women’s history markers approved by the CPRC under of the New Mexico Historic Women Marker Initiative. Pike was deputy chief of staff for U.S. Sen. Jeff Bingaman, and worked in the senator's Washington, D.C., office for 27 years.
  • When the call went out for Lincoln County family histories, the Lincoln County Historical Society received hundreds of lengthy family accounts and 5,000 photographs. Four-hundred stories were compiled into Lincoln County, New Mexico, Tells Its Stories by Marilyn Burchett. She was the book’s editor and the force behind its publication for the New Mexico Statehood Centennial. The book touches on well-known Lincoln County figures including Billy the Kid, Pat Garrett, General John J. “Black Jack” Pershing among them by preserving family histories in print for generations to come.
  • Book signings for Overturned Bucket author Rose Spader have drawn large crowds interested in the author’s first-hand recollections of people and places that figure prominently in New Mexico history. Based on 22-years of family research by Spader and written with her daughter, Debra Speck, the book touches on Taos’ reaction to the arrival of Mabel Dodge Lujan, the gunslinger history of Cimarron’s St. James Hotel and her family’s encounters with New Mexico historical events. The story is told through the eyes of its narrator, Rose Spader, who grows from a young girl to a mature woman in the course of this historical novel. Mother and daughter are receiving awards.

As in past years, the media is invited and encouraged to cover the awards ceremony and to seek additional information about an award recipient by contacting HPD.

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