Releases | New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs

From Saloons to Seminaries- Three New Mexico properties added to National Register

February 8th, 2024

Santa Fe, NM – The New Mexico Historic Preservation Division (NMHPD) is thrilled to announce that a trio of historic properties across the state have been listed in the National Register of Historic Places. 

Since November, three New Mexico properties – Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary in Santa Fe County, Medical Arts Historic District in Bernalillo County, and Biavaschi Saloon-Capital Bar in Socorro County – have been added to the National Register. Each property was recommended to the Cultural Properties Review Commission for consideration by NMHPD and local partners. 

"These buildings showcase the broad range of architectural styles on display throughout New Mexico’s history,” said State Historic Preservation Officer Jeff Pappas. “On the surface, a seminary in Santa Fe might not have much in common with a saloon in Socorro, but they each capture aspects of our state’s rich history.” 

Located off Camino del Monte Sol near the base of Sun Mountain in southeast Santa Fe, the Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary epitomizes the evolution of Santa Fe style from its earliest iteration in the early twentieth century through its modern interpretation in the 1960s. The property represents numerous eras in the architectural history of Santa Fe and has contributed to the broader development of the city, and particularly southeast Santa Fe, over the course of the twentieth century. Buildings on the property were designed by prominent New Mexico architects, including Isaac Rapp and John Gaw Meem. 

An hour south, the Medical Arts Historic District in Albuquerque is a complex of four brick medical office plazas built on a series of sand hills overlooking Downtown between 1950 and 1968. By 1965, the property had become Albuquerque’s largest concentration of private-practice medical offices, featuring a mix of midcentury architectural styles. The buildings are considered excellent early examples of the International Style in Albuquerque, characterized by plain facades, canopies supported by I-beams, and lack of architectural ornament. Moreover, the buildings are organized around expansive parking lots that catered to suburban patients, highlighting the city’s rapid growth during the middle of the twentieth century. The property begins at the southwest corner of Las Lomas Rd. NE and Encino Pl. NE. 

In Socorro, Italian immigrant Giovanni Biavaschi built the Biavaschi Saloon-Capital Bar in 1896 adjacent to Socorro Plaza using native stone, brick, and adobe. Nearly 130 years later, the building now stands as one of the few remaining saloon buildings in Socorro. Additionally, the building is an excellent representative example of a 19th-century New Mexico saloon, as it retains its main façade and interior plan. The brick front façade includes large segmental-arched windows and a variety of decorative brickwork, including brick panels, soldier-course bricks, and mouse tooth brickwork in the entablature. Its interior plan reflects the building’s history as two separate businesses – a grocery with a saloon in the back and a billiard hall with a card room – before Biavaschi enabled the building to function as a single business. 

To learn more about these unique properties and their paths to the National Register, visit nmhistoricpreservation.org.  

About the New Mexico Historic Preservation Division: NMHPD manages, oversees, and coordinates historic preservation activities across the state. The division educates the public about historic preservation and protects thousands of historic and archaeological sites in New Mexico. If you have ever visited an archaeological site, stopped on the side of the road to read a historic marker, or appreciated a well-maintained historic building in your community, you have likely engaged with the work of the NMHPD. 

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Immaculate Heart of Mary Seminary

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