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Old 07-26-2017, 11:56 AM
20,842 posts, read 39,064,756 times
Reputation: 19075


Can't seem to find a thread on the TOWN itself, though we have many threads on the valley. To add some detail on the town itself I've copied an older post by CR and edited it down to fit this generic thread on the town. Like many rural towns, it suffers from the hollowing out of farm and mining towns after time has moved on.

The TOWN made it into the NY Times today, an article about the R & R Market there, "the oldest business in Colorado, built by descendants of Spanish conquistadors in the oldest town in the state — is in danger, at the edge of closing just as rural groceries from Maine to California face similar threats to their existence."

Originally Posted by Colorado Rambler View Post
(Edited by the Moderator for this thread.)

The population has a Hispanic majority - wonderful folks!

- Many come from families who have lived there for hundreds of years on land grants that came originally from the Spanish Crown. Much of the SLV was part of the country of Mexico which gained its independence from Spain back in the 1820's if memory serves. Then the Mexican American War came along and by 1861, San Luis became a rather unwilling part of the American Experiment. Consider how upset folks can get over "them Mexicuns" migrating illegally to the US. Now think about how you'd feel if a bunch of illegals showed up and took your home and irrigation rights at gunpoint. It's been a while now and most folks have moved past this. Yet, as recently as the 1980's a group of angry armed Hispanic natives took over some land in Chama, NM, a stone's away from San Luis. The occupiers nailed up many signs explaining their position. I much admit to feeling a pang of sympathy for them every time I went through there. So, if you encounter a local or two who doesn't welcome you with open arms, that may be the reason why.

At 8,000 plus feet, be prepared to adjust to life at a high elevation - often cold and always arid. Some people have nose bleeds for months after they've arrived. For the most part this gets better as your body acclimates to the new living conditions, but some folk never do get used to it and are forced to find a home elsewhere. Since you will be right on the NM border, I suggest that you shop at towns like Espanola and Santa Fe. Espanola is nothing fancy, but you'll find many things you need there at a reasonable price. Santa Fe offers items that may be hard to find elsewhere, but you'll pay a stiff price. I'd suggest ABQ, NM as your "go to city." It's closer than Denver and more manageable size-wise. Alamosa is OK for a quick grocery run.

Finally, please keep in mind, that if your health requires more than a visit to some rural clinic a couple of times a year, you'll be doing a lot of flying/driving to bigger cities where you can find specialists and up to the minute medical care. I live in a very isolated area of Colorado myself, and one of my biggest frustrations is trying to find specialist(s) and then making the long pilgrimage to Denver or some other city for treatment.

To the right person, San luis can be paradise, but if you don't know what you're getting into and don't know how to prepare you may only come to harm.

This is not the R&R Market, but another older one.

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Last edited by Mike from back east; 07-26-2017 at 04:41 PM..
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Old 07-26-2017, 01:15 PM
Location: Where the mountains touch the sky
603 posts, read 733,291 times
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I was camping in the area and checked out the town a few years ago because it is the oldest continuously occupied town in Colorado. It's populated by mostly descendants of Hispanic people. The town was once a part of four Spanish land grants decreed by the King of Spain the settlers in the area took possession of the Sangre De Cristo Land Grant in 1851. The town actually remained a part of the Territory of New Mexico until 1861 when the Territory of Colorado was established.

The town is a bit isolated and surrounding area is mainly ranching and agriculture. It's an interesting area, very old school San Luis Valley, you can really see the Spanish cultural influence that shaped much of that part of Colorado. It is an impoverished area and there is not much in the town (pop about 700) but it does retain a classic Spanish town layout. The oldest church in Colorado is there and you can see a lot of old mud brick adobe construction.

The main "tourist" attraction is its Stations of the Cross, a series of bronze statues representing a moment during the crucifixion which climb the mesa adjacent to town with a shrine, the Stations of the Cross Church, at the top. The church is very traditional Spanish style. Even if one is not religious it is worth a visit if you are in the area.

Stations of the Cross

Last edited by StarrySkiesAbove; 07-26-2017 at 01:29 PM..
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Old 07-26-2017, 01:27 PM
Status: "Harlan Ogilvy was right!" (set 12 days ago)
Location: Bel Air, California
21,268 posts, read 21,775,362 times
Reputation: 33369
spent a couple hours in San Luis a few years ago as we moseyed our way back and forth across the valley on our way from the Dunes to Taos. Spent quite a while up at the church and as Mrs G took the walk down the hill to see the SotC, I drove on around and down stopping occasionally to take photos of the valley and the mountains in the distance.

I think they also have the oldest store (edit; sorry Mike, should have read your post more carefully) in Colorado that we sat across from at a juice bar for a while just soaking in the pace of this sleepy town.

Colorado's oldest grocery, R&R Market in San Luis - The Chronicle~News: Home

Some mega-billionaire lives in the hills above San Luis and while I had intended to drive up and have a look-see at his spread and air-strip, our time was running out so we pressed on into a different direction, SW, zig-sagging on the back dirt roads just so I could find a cool old bridge that crossed the Rio Grande.

Last edited by Ghengis; 07-26-2017 at 01:37 PM..
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Old 07-26-2017, 01:55 PM
Location: OKLAHOMA
1,783 posts, read 3,605,088 times
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I drive through it every year going from Trinidad to Chama, NM. I've never stopped but like the country from Ft. Garland down to the town. I guess, I'll actually stop this year and take a look around.
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Old 07-26-2017, 06:13 PM
Status: "Harlan Ogilvy was right!" (set 12 days ago)
Location: Bel Air, California
21,268 posts, read 21,775,362 times
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north to the Sierra Blanca Massif...

downtown San Luis

25 miles SW of San Luis on the Lobatos Bridge over the Rio Grande

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Old 07-26-2017, 06:19 PM
Location: Washington Park, Denver
6,905 posts, read 6,501,326 times
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I saw the article in the NYT today. I saw Felix Romero interviewed on a PBS show not too long ago as well.

Very different world from the Front Range.
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