Elizabeth Anne VanderPutten - Jemez Springs

The village of Jemez Springs (1998 pop. 499) was our last overnight before returning to Albuquerque. It is the home of an active art community, several small art galleries, and an historic bath house with springs for which the town was named. It is also home to the Servants of the Paraclete (a Catholic retreat house), several restaurants, a mercantile and a grocery store, various B&Bs, a gas station, a small inn, cabins, a motel and one public library.

First settled in the 1870s, Jemez Springs grew up around its mineral springs and a bath house. In recent years the village has made itself into something of a weekend getaway for Albuquerque residents, as well as a stop for tourist from everywhere. According to the town's history, it was originally called Archuleta by the U.S. Postal Service in 1888, which later changed it to Perea, and in 1927 to its present name of Jemez Springs.

In 1995, the National Civic League selected Jemez Springs as an All-American City in recognition of its citizens' collective grass-roots efforts to improve their quality of life.


Courtesy Jemez Springs Library

Jemez Public Library

How many towns of 499 people in 1999 do you know that have their own public library?

Jemez Springs reminded me a bit of the rejuvenated ghost town Madrid on the Turquoise Trail that I visited a week earlier, with its art galleries and artists and artisans, its independence, and its civic pride.

I don't remember seeing a library in Madrid, however.


Los Ojos Restaurant and Saloon

We had dinner at the Los Ojos, which is an old time saloon. It is a fun place and appears to be a kind of social center for the town. On one side is a bar and dance hall with a stage and open mike every other Friday.

The other side is a restaurant with one of the most amusing menus I've seen. It is in the form of a tabloid with a masthead "Los Ojos Scandal" and the motto, "We Pander to anyone with money." The contents are a blend of old time pictures with humorous captions, a menu, trivia, advertising, and items poking fun at the mayor and everyone else in sight.


September 18, 1999


September 18, 1999

The Country Cafe

For breakfast, we chose the Country Cafe because it faced the morning sun and we could get a window seat.

As often is the case, I saw something new and different on the menu and tried it. Brian, on the other hand, is not generally thought of as a bold experimenter when dining, and chose something pretty standard.

His, this time, was the better choice. But we were able to buy some film there.


The Jemez Mountain Inn
P.O. Box 28, Jemez Springs, NM 87025

The Jemez Mountain Inn is in the process of becoming, and is more an inn by self designation than tradition. It better pictured as a motel, with a front office-home and a detached wood frame building in the rear which has a sun deck and six distinctive suites. Guests love it.

Proprietors Richard Sanchez and Jessica Moseley were to celebrate their first wedding anniversary the day we left with a trip to Santa Fe, Richard's home town. They were most agreeable hosts.


September 18, 1999


September 18, 1999

In Front of The Memory Lane Room

We stayed in the "Memory Lane Room," which is described as turn-of-the-century Victorian. I got the impression that Richard and Jessica would like to develop the "Inn" into something akin to the Inn of the Turquoise Bear where we stayed in Santa Fe.

Richard, who has an MA, decided recently to take up Greek. He has a wonderful sense of humor and is the creator of the "Los Ojos Scandal" menu (or so our waitress there told me.)


The Highway to Corrales

After leaving Jemez Springs and getting to highway 44 at San Ysidro, I was impressed by the darkening sky on the many colored landscape.

On the horizon ahead, perhaps 40 miles or so, are the Sandia Mountains. In the valley is Corrales, our destination for lunch, and further is Albuquerque and tomorrow a flight home.

Everything in New Mexico is more distant than it looks.

September 18, 1999

September 18, 1999


The Old San Ysidro Church

A shower was gathering when we reached the Old San Ysidro Church in Ysidro. The church was built in 1868 as a place of worship. Today it serves the village as a community center for village government meetings, public and private ceremonies, and cultural activities. Art exhibits, musical events, and public lectures are held in the Old Church on a regular basis. Like the St Francis of Assisi Church in Rancho de Taos the building is a favorite subject of painters and photographers. The Old Church is on the National Register of Historic Places, the New Mexico State Register of Cultural Properties, and has received the Governor's Award for Excellence.


At the Ranchos de Corrales Restaurant

Behind our shoulders can be seen the 10,687 foot Sandia Mountains. We are standing outside the Rancho de Corrales Restaurant in Corrales where we had brunch. Near here, with the same background, my cousin Robert VanderPutten married Christine Lung in 2001.

With me are uncle Robert VanderPutten and aunt Doris. They are former Californians who retired to Rio Rancho  just north of Albuquerque and  have helped it to grow from empty land into the 3rd largest city in the state in one generation.


September 18, 1999


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