Frequently Asked Questions - Ranchos de Taos Plaza

June 24, 2014

How old is the San Francisco de Asis Church?
a. It was ordained in 1813 by the Catholic Ministry of Santa Fe, this is the best date available and varies by a few years according to various sources. It took over 50 years to build.

Any other significance to the Plaza?
a. Yes, the Plaza was build on top of an abandoned Native American village. Broken bones and pottery are found here.

What is the San Francisco de Asis Church best known for?
a. The backside of the Church with the enormous buttresses has been photographed and pained by numerous artists, most notably Georgia O’Keefe. The Church has been called the top place to see before you die by Yahoo.

Can we go to the church, why is it locked up?
a. Yes, visiting hours Monday-Saturday ate 8:30am – 4:30pm (approximately), Sunday the Church holds Mass at 7am, 9am and 11:30am after which it is closed for the rest of the day due to theft.

Where did Georgia O’Keefe live?
a. She stayed at the Mabel Dodge Luhan House and at the Sagebrush Inn while in Taos

Where can we see O’Keefe’s paintings, especially the ones of the Church?
a. All of O’Keefe’s paintings are in private collections, many in museums, including the O’Keefe Museum in Santa Fe. Unfortunately, at this time none of her paintings are on view to the public in Taos.

What is the Mystery painting and when can I see that?
a. The Mystery painting is a depiction of Christ which changes when the lights are shut off. It is available for viewing when the Church office is open, 9am – 4pm Monday through Friday.

What is the Church built of?
a. The adobe mud and bricks consist of a mixture of dirt, straw and water. Each spring at the beginning of June the Church is given a fresh coat of adobe mud, done by the community and a few volunteer visitors. This process is called the Emjarre.

Why does the Church face away from the road?
a. The Church was built to face a branch of the old Santa Fe Trail, which comes up from the meadow to the southeast.

Did Dennis Hopper really live nearby?
a. Yes, Mr. Hopper renovated the old Ranchos Movie Theater across the street, where he resided from 1990 until his passing in May 2010. He filmed some of the movie “Backtrack” with Jodie Foster there and in the St. Francis Church Plaza, using many of his local friends as extras. Out of respect for his family, please do not ask where Dennis Hopper has been buried.

Please respect the privacy of Plaza occupants. Always ask before taking photographs of people or interiors.


Written By:

Two Graces Plaza Gallery
68 St. Francis Church Plaza
(575) 758-4639

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