La Loma Plaza
Taos, New Mexico
Pasturelands once separated the town of Taos and the defensive village of La Plazuela de San Antonio – The Little Plaza of Saint Anthony. Renamed in 1964, La Loma Plaza, a few short blocks from the center of Taos, is designated as a National Historic District. La Loma Plaza sits on a hill west of Taos Plaza.
Spanish families began constructing adobe homes in 1796. The homes connected to each other. Windows and doors faced the interior plaza forming a square fortification to project themselves and their animals from Ute and Comanche Indian raids.
Today the core of many La Loma structures date back to original construction, some even owned by direct descendants of the first settlers. Entering La Loma Plaza, a narrow lane off Valdez Lane passes the diminutive San Antonio de Padua Capilla, circa 1875.
A low stone wall encloses a small flagstone park. Trees shade benches and chairs – a welcoming spot to relax and note architectural details of the surrounding plaza.
Several homes on the quiet plaza are available for vacation rentals. The pink adobe with heart motif gate immediately caught my eye, Casa Pajaro. From Internet research I learn that the interior and much of the furniture has been painted my iconic Taos artist Jim Wagner. Known for bright colors and folksy style, Wagner captures a whimsical view of the Northern New Mexico character. Ever-present, chattering magpies populate many of Wagner’s works.