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 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 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 – temporary signage on proposed route, initial oral-history recordings and image archives, plus gathering of community input. complete
Phase Two – physical trail building for a safe and well-marked route, long-lasting signage and framework, growing oral-history and image archives.
Phase Three – the Questa History Trail becomes the heart of an expanded Questa History and Community trail system as we connect to trails to our east and west, from the Enchanted Circle to the Rio Grande Trail extending the length of our state!

The future of the full Questa History & Community Trail relies upon community participation.  

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 CisnerosRetired 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.
with thanks to Carrie Leven –  archaeologist with the Questa Ranger Station.

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 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

2019-work, update!

Thank you to all our neighbors and visitors who have offered feedback in the last year! We are working to update our sign text and manufacture long-lasting sign faces and metal sign bases. We also hope to add some directional signage and make the path thoroughly and continuously walkable with added features to add to …

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