TCAS Historic Sites Project 1996


During 1996, The Torrance County Archaeological Society (TCAS) undertook an extensive survey of Torrance County to determine the location and condition of historic remains from a period representing the settlement/development of the Estancia Basin and vicinity from about the mid-1800's to 1940. This project was stimulated and made possible partially by Federal Funds from the Historic Preservation Fund, Department of Interior, National Park Service, and through a small Subgrant administered and partially funded by the State Historic Preservation Officer, Historic Preservation Division, Office of Cultural Affairs, State of New Mexico.

TCAS set out to find and document: the extent, condition, and ownership of historic remains. TCAS wants to promote preservation and interpretation of historic remains related to homesteading and agricultural life ways in the Estancia Basin while some evidence still remains. The group wants to help Inform owners of historic properties of importance and value of historic easement. They seek to identify and recommend historic properties thought to be eligible to the National Register and In addition, identify archaeological sites that maybe endangered. TCAS also seeks to ask landholders concerning their willingness to support additional study and preservation of historic remains.

The project was accomplished by searching existing records, conducting interviews and recording willing informant/cooperators, doing a lot of walking (ground reconnaissance), and completing on-site documentation and recordation.  Work was performed by a multi- disciplinary team made up of members from the Torrance County Archaeological Society.

The members of the Torrance County Archaeological Society (TCAS) and Torrance County Historical Society (TCHS) who joined forces to complete this survey project were: Waynette Burnett, Faith Bouchard, Vivian Counts, Sharon Hanna, John Hayden, Billye Head, Joy Jones, John Lawrence, Helen Mattingly (deceased), Rosa Pierce, Gloria Pohi, Linda Powell, Jerry Shaw, Miriam Shaw and Richard Spangler.

Project coordinator, John hayden said “We began by identifying and listing town sites, and isolated schools, churches, and cemeteries. Our main sources of information were: local residents, personal records and memoirs, county records, existing maps and publications and knowledgeable members of TCAS.  News of our project spread by word-of-mouth netting us much valuable contributed information on location and details of many sites that we probably would not have known about otherwise.  Once most folks know what we are trying to accomplish, they provide great input-often more than we can handle with our limited resources.”

At the closure of work on this Subgrant, TCAS completed 100% of the project tasks: 1) identified 92 historic sites of various kinds, 2) completed 47 NM Historical Building Survey Inventory Forms, covering 34 sites, 3) recorded map locations for each on USGS Quadrangle maps, 4) conducted interviews with many longtime residents.

TCAS is looking for a permanent location to care for the records and materials and to make them available to the public.  For the present, they will make results of this initial historical survey project available to those who are interested.  Contact any member of the Torrance County Archeological Society. Also, TCAS plans to continue the project, therefore, anyone who would like to share stories, records, photographs, maps, diaries, family histories or genealogies please contact Jerry Shaw or Gloria PohI.

The Torrance County Archaeology Society meets 7:00pm, the first Monday of each month from September through May, at the Estancia Upper Middle School Library. A guest speaker usually preceeds a short business meeting.


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