“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Agua Fria Village in Santa Fe County, New Mexico — The American Mountains (Southwest)

San Isidro Catholic Church

San Isidro Catholic Church Marker image. Click for full size.
By William H Mee, circa 2000
1. San Isidro Catholic Church Marker
Inscription. This 19th century adobe church is dedicated to San Isidro, ploughman, patron saint of farmers and protector of crops. Christian tradition maintains that in order to allow San Isidro time for his daily prayers an angel plowed his fields. Agua Fria annually observes this fifteenth day of May as “His Day of Goodwill” to honor his role in this agricultural community along El Camino Real.
Erected 1960 by Official Scenic Historic Marker erected by State Highway Department with N.M. Historic Preservation Division text.
Marker series. This marker is included in the El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro marker series.
Location. 35° 39.609′ N, 106° 0.252′ W. Marker is in Agua Fria Village, New Mexico, in Santa Fe County. Marker is on Agua Fria Street (El Camino Real) (County Route 66) half a mile east of Lopez Lane, on the right when traveling east. Click for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 3674 Agua Fria Street, Santa Fe NM 87507, United States of America.
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within 4 miles of this marker, measured as the crow flies. Agua Fria (here, next to this marker); Santa Fe (approx. 1.2 miles away); Don Juan Bautista de Anza
San Isidro Catholic Church Marker image. Click for full size.
By William H Mee, circa 2000
2. San Isidro Catholic Church Marker
(approx. 3.8 miles away); Maralyn Budke (approx. 3.9 miles away); Billy The Kid (approx. 4 miles away); “Homage to the Burro” (approx. 4 miles away); Lamy Building (approx. 4.1 miles away); San Miguel Church (approx. 4.1 miles away).
More about this marker. How San Isidro Church Came To Be.

When people went to church in the 1800's they had to go all the way to Guadalupe Church or the main Cathedral across from the Plaza. Typically people had to feed and water the horses then hitch them up to the wagon (similar to how we gas up a car today). The man or young boys doing this would then go inside and change to their Sunday best even delaying the whole family a little bit more. The whole process of getting the wagon ready took a half hour or so. Then the family would take at least two hours to ride into town. A couple of hours at church and the routine talking after mass and the whole trip took a minimum of six hours. Add to this the unhitching of the horses and the brushing of them if they were sweated up and the trip could easily take eight hours. If it was your turn to water from the acequia on Sunday you would just have to forego going
San Isidro Catholic Church in Winter image. Click for full size.
By William H Mee, February 24, 2005
3. San Isidro Catholic Church in Winter
Portion of Cemetery is also shown.
to church. In the winter it was hard to keep the fire going in the house and someone might be elected to stay home. Very often families could really only “afford” to go to church once a month. People started talking about it at the local store owned by the Romeros and what a hardship it could be. Some men were sitting around outside the store near the water tank by San Isidro Crossing and said that if the Village had a church it wouldn’t waste the whole day in travel. Someone said: who would be crazy enough to give up some good farm land to build a church?, and then everyone laughed. Amidst the laughter, Jose Jacinto Gallegos said very simply: “I would.”

So the men walked over to his property near the store and then posed the next dilemma. Where would the church be built? Should it be built close to the road, or higher up on the hill? Then Jose Jacinto Gallegos came back with the simplest of solutions and said: “wherever my hat lands.” With that he threw up his cowboy hat and it landed on the present day site of San Isidro Church.

The church was built in 1835 by the entire Village. Adobes were made by the ruins of the old pueblo and were put up by hand. The walls were plastered by the women as was the custom of the day. The corbels for the roof vigas were done by each major family. If you notice them today almost each one is different. Some are very crudely sawn while others are expertly crafted. But each one is its own individual character.

I imagine there were some official discussions with the Diocese on getting a priest to visit once a month and of approving the facility as a Mission.

This account is currently being rewritten under the guidance of Melinda Romero Pike Agua Fria's Official Historian.
Regarding San Isidro Catholic Church. There is a text held at the State Historian's office that says:

"In 1868 this church was constructed of salvaged materials following a flood which demolished an earlier building. Dedicated to San Ysidro, patron of farmers, the building is one of the finest surviving examples of mid-19th century New Mexico religious architecture."

We believe this may be connected to the San Isidro Church is Tesuque or Jemez and is NOT associated with this marker.
Additional keywords. historic architecture
Categories. Churches, Etc.Hispanic Americans
Credits. This page originally submitted on , by William H Mee of Santa Fe, New Mexico, usa. This page has been viewed 1,471 times since then and 208 times this year. Last updated on , by William H Mee of Santa Fe, New Mexico, usa. Photos:   1, 2. submitted on , by William H Mee of Santa Fe, New Mexico, usa.   3. submitted on , by William H Mee of Santa Fe, New Mexico, usa. • Syd Whittle was the editor who published this page. This page was last revised on June 16, 2016.
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