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Monday, December 3, 2012

Old Town Las Vegas, New Mexico Plaza

Las Vegas, New Mexico, is the original Las Vegas, lacking the glitz and glitter of its Nevada namesake, but with plenty of grit and grace. (Okay, that's your alliteration lesson for today.)

Las Vegas is a town of around 13, 600 and it's 29 miles from the ranch to a bookstore, a fabric store, a natural foods store, Wal-Mart, and to get a fast food fix. I mean you, Sonic, and also you, Lotaburger! Las Vegas has a community college and two baccalaureate colleges, and even a movie theatre. And a drive-in movie theater during the summer.

It's actually two towns: one began in the early days of Vegas around 1835 and a newer town sprung up when in 1880 the railroad came to town about a mile from the original village. Up until fairly recently, they were two separate municipalities. The school districts are still separate.

There are even two downtowns here, but I like "Old Town" better because it's amazing how many of the old buildings are still in use and The Plaza is a central place where people gather for events like Las Fiestas during the 4th of July weekend, Cinco de Mayo, and for the Christmas Electric Light Parade. Back in 1846 it was where General Stephen Kearney stood on a roof and proclaimed to the assembled townsfolk that they were now under American rule.

Here's the plaza bandstand, all decked out for the holidays.

New Mexico Hispanic art is a big deal in the North, with a long tradition of local artisans copying the religious statues the Catholic priests brought north from Mexico and from Spain. The artists who carve these statues are called santeros and their pieces can be as small as your hand or as tall as you are.

I noticed the wood carver was finished with his first statue, begun earlier in the year. It's a Mary statue, and I noticed she looked kind of sad.

As I stepped closer to read the plaque at her feet, I realized why she looked so sad: She's Our Lady of Sorrows!

Mary had seven sorrows in her life, and this statue depicts the sorrowful Mary.'

Below is a 1455 depiction of Our Lady of Sorrows. If I compare the statue in the plaza to this painting, Our Lady in Las Vegas positively glows with happiness! It's all relative, I guess.

Don't forget to visit your local merchants and buy stuff from them. It's a tough world out there and our local folks deserve your business. Unless they don't.


  1. We always hit a Lotaburger when we get into New Mexico. They hold a special place in hubbie's memories. I agree--those chilies on a hamburger are great. We visited Old Town many times and it holds a special charm. The plaza looks so festive! I love seeing northern New Mexico through your eyes.

  2. That Plaza has so much charm, its lovely! The Mary statue is really bright and colorful and so right you are, cheerful compared to the older version!


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