Southwestern Historical Quarterly
The Architecture and Art of Early Hispanic Colorado. Text and photo-
graphs by Robert Adams. (Boulder: Colorado Associated University
Press, I974. Illustrations, map, index. Pp. v+234. $10.)
Ghost Towns and Mining Camps of New Mexico. By James E. and Bar-
bara H. Sherman. (Norman: University of Oklahoma Press, 1975.
Pp. vii+2 70. Illustrations, maps, bibliography, index. Hardback,
$9-95; paper, $4-95.)
More than ever Texans are finding year-round pleasure in the moun-
tains of Colorado and New Mexico. The two volumes reviewed here should
greatly enhance the travelers' knowledge and enjoyment of this enchanting
In his tribute to the Spanish-speaking pioneers of Colorado, Robert
Adams notes that these pastoral people coped with their stern environ-
ment by cheerfully accepting it. Their architecture and art reflected the
peace that accompanies this liberating affirmation. In a prefatory essay
he traces the historical and geographical setting of Hispanic Colorado, the
principal facets of frontier life (household, occupational, social, and reli-
gious) and the cultural impact of Anglo intrusion. He then discusses in
general terms the evolution of the region's adobe architecture and tech-
niques of construction. The iconography with which the Hispanos deco-
rated their homes, churches, schools, and cemeteries expresses an accept-
ance of nature and a faith that extends beyond it.
The author's photographs are a paradigm of understated virtuosity.
They feature man-made structures set against dramatic landscapes, linger
over felicitous architectural details, and capture the simple beauty of santos,
grave markers, cerquitos, houses, barns, chapels, moradas, schoolhouses,
and picturesque ruins. The brief epilogue is a lament for the hopelessness
of saving any substantial part of this heritage.
The Colorado Associated University Press has given Adams's book a
format to match its content. The square shape is out of the ordinary for
a book of illustrations, but designer Paul Weaver has made highly effective
use of it. Each photograph is superbly reproduced in sepia and simply
framed in a brown line border on the right hand page, while a brief text
appears opposite it. A map showing the Hispanic communities is conven-
iently located after the index. The brown cloth binding approximates the
earth tones found in the adobe structures of southern Colorado. Simply
stated, this book is a masterpiece of both photography and design.
The latest collection of New Mexico ghost towns is surely one of the
best. It offers a convenient, alphabetical listing of I25 such locations--
Texas State Historical Association. The Southwestern Historical Quarterly, Volume 79, July 1975 - April, 1976. Austin, Texas. The Portal to Texas History. http://texashistory.unt.edu/ark:/67531/metapth101203/. Accessed May 24, 2015.