Photograph: John Collier, Questa 1943 FSA/OWI, archived at the Library of Congress.

 

This timely project supports the Questa community’s shift from a mining town to a broader economy, one that focuses on cultural preservation, and includes sharing our local history and surrounding beauty with visitors, residents, and homecoming family.

The growing vision is to invite residents to tell their stories, to create a vibrant walking path, and to weave stories and images along a trail. The hope is to root the project in a large context that includes history, particularly of the Spanish Frontier and Indigenous Peoples, and culture. The present is heir to history, and we acknowledge that this relationship emerges in complex ways.

This project is collaborating with the educational non-profit group LEAP (Land, Experience, and Art of Place) whose members will build a cache for oral histories and archival imagery. These oral histories will focus on local stories: themes include experiences of lifeways  – sheep herding, mining, agriculture – and the seasonal rhythms of life, such as acequia care, cleaning, and use. These stories encompass a larger memory project and will reside online at www.QuestaStories.org.

Photo credit: All photographic images displayed on this site were taken by John Collier, circa 1941, when he was hired by the Farm Security Administration (FSA) to spend time in Questa capturing images of people and this place. They are archived at the Library of Congress.

Portraits

Photographs: John Collier, Questa portraits circa 1941, archived at the Library of Congress.

 

These portraits come from the Library of Congress and we would love to add more, from your collections. Please contact us if you can identify any of these children from 1941 Questa schools, or if you would like to add images of your own.

About

Photograph: John Collier, Questa 1943 FSA/OWI, archived at the Library of Congress.

 

The new Questa History & Community Trail connects downtown to the restored San Antonio de Padua church plaza, and presents a microcosm of northern New Mexican history.

The idea.
The Questa History and Community Trail circles from the village center to the old church plaza and back around on an initial .6-mile route.

At this time, the walk hosts eight informational signs at key historical or cultural viewpoints. Signs share histories and memories, while the beautified trail of Phase Two will encourage exercise and enjoyment for our community and visitors.

Future landscaping work will create roadside walking areas or markings and, where needed, a physical trail itself. Final signs will incorporate historic images and quotes from community members with complete oral histories cached online. The trail will be enhanced by reproductions of historic (and more recent) photographs serving as public art and visual anthropology.

Topics include: timeline of people in this place, ancient settlements, rare geologic features, multi-cultural origins, frontier religious devotion, acequias, the role of mining, and the restoration of Questa’s 1800s church.

Phase One – initial temporary signage on proposed route, initial oral-history recordings and image archives, and gathering of community input.
Phase Two – physical trail building for a safe and well-marked route, permanent signage, growing oral-history and image archives.
Phase Three – we connect to trail systems to our east and west, from the Enchanted Circle to the Rio Grande Trail.

The Questa History & Community Trail relies upon community feedback and input.  

Add your input, skills, and knowledge. The team grows with you! Our founding team is a diverse group from the community. More about us below.

Mark Sideris  Historic Saint Anthony’s Church Restoration Project foreman, carpenter, and landscape-engineer advisor.
Flavio Cisneros  retired history teacher and oral-history facilitator.
Jeannie Masters & Kate Cisneros  North Central NM Food Pantry founders and co-directors, and oral-history facilitators.
Tim Long  small business owner, carpenter, and seasonal ranger at Rio Grande del Norte National Monument.
Alberta Bouyer  former Questa Tourism Director, writer, marketing consultant, and project administrator
Martha Shepp  artist, editor, and project’s graphic designer.

LEAP* collaborators:
Claire Cote, LEAP director – artist and educator, gentle instigator, mother, and radical homemaker.  Oral History collector and image archive facilitator.
Gaea McGahee, LEAP Creative Associate – Questa Farmers Market founder and manager, Adjunct Anthropology faculty with NMSU/DACC. Oral History collector and image archive facilitator.

This project is funded by:
National Park Services’ Rivers, Trails and Conservation Assistance program
Northern Rio Grande National Heritage Area
New Mexico Humanities Council
In collaboration with the Village of Questa
and additional support from the QEDF, Chevron, and Taos Lodgers Tax.

*LEAP is Land, Experience, and Art of Place – a project of local non-profit Localogy. Through LEAP,  stories and photos are being collected into an online archive. The communities, including youth, will engage in research and record interviews with local elders.

The Questa History and Community Trail is a project of the Questa Creative Council. The QCC is a nonprofit tax-exempt organization under section 501(c)(3) of the US IRS Code.

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Blog

Community Memory Workshop in Questa July 8, 2018

Questa History and Community Trail presents a workshop by native son of Questa and former New Mexico State Historian Dr. Estevan Rael-Galvez entitled “Gathering Memory: Object, Photos and Story.” You are invited to bring a photograph, object, or story that holds personal meaning. Come to Questa’s VFW Hall on Sunday, July 8, at 2 pm. …

Two trail events this summer!

National Trails Day, Questa History Walk Saturday, June 2nd, 2018, 10:30am Not all trails are in the woods! Join local historian Flavio Cisneros for a walk of the Questa History & Community Trail.  A 5000-year timeline highlights rare geologic features, Hispano and multi-cultural settlements, Native life and conflicts, frontier religious devotion, orchards and arts.  Discover …

Contact

Photograph: John Collier, Questa 1943 FSA/OWI, archived at the Library of Congress.

This project is growing, ongoing, and looking for your contribution. Join us!

For information about the History and Community Trail contact:
Alberta Bouyer
questacreativecouncil@gmail.com

To add photos or stories to the Oral History Archive contact:
Claire Coté and Gaea McGahee
(575) 224-9066
emailforleap@gmail.com