New Mexico New Deal Sites November 2018 - Photo #3 - Coronado Historic Site

Photo: November 7, 2018.
Coronado Historic Site Visitor Center and Museum, a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project from 1937[3].
More than 700 years ago, on the fertile west bank of the Rio Grande just north of Albuquerque, the Tiwa people settled Kuaua Pueblo. Coronado Historic Site is named after the Spanish explorer Francisco Vásquez de Coronado, who camped near here with his soldiers in 1540. Kuaua, which means "evergreen," was abandoned during the late 16th century. A square kiva, excavated in 1935, revealed mural paintings now deemed the finest precontact mural art in North America. Visitors, accompanied by a ranger or docent, may descend into this sacred site. Reconstructed adobe walls echo the original pueblo. The Visitor's Center, which was designed by architect John Gaw Meem, features 14 original murals on display along with artifacts and information. An interpretive trail winds through the ruins, and ranger-led tours are available.[1]
John Gaw Meem (1894-1983) was a leading proponent of New Mexico regional architecture ("the father of the Pueblo Revival school"). During the Great Depression he worked on New Deal-funded projects for buildings at several of New Mexico's colleges as well as the University of New Mexico. His work also included the Santa Fe municipal building and the county's courthouse, the administrative headquarters for the Federal Emergency Recovery Act (FERA) in New Mexico (1935), and the Laboratory of Anthropology. In Santa Fe he designed the Public Works Administration-funded (PWA) two-story Santa Fe County Fe County Courthouse (1938), including an extensive portal along the east elevation, spiral wood frames at some of the windows, and small wood balconies at some second floor windows. In Bernalillo, he designed the Kuaua Museum (1937), a Works Progress Administration (WPA) project at the Coronado State Monument. A relatively small building with a flat stepped roof lined with vigas, Meem added recessed portales along both the east and west elevations, lining both multiple windows to allow the morning and afternoon sun to illuminate the interior.[3]
  1. Coronado Historic Site website, New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs, accessed 22 November 2018.
  2. Coronado Historic Site website, New Mexico Historic Sites, accessed 22 November 2018.
  3. David Kammer, Buildings Designed by John Gaw Meem, 1925-1959,, accessed 22 November 2018.
  4. Works Progress Administration (WPA) (1935), Living New Deal website, accessed 25 November 2018.