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“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
“Bite-Size Bits of Local, National, and Global History”
Los Alamos in Los Alamos County, New Mexico — The American Mountains (Southwest)
 

The Romero Cabin

Los Alamos Historical Society

 
 
The Romero Cabin Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 24, 2015
1. The Romero Cabin Marker
Inscription.  Among those tempted by the Homestead Act of 1862, which offered free land in exchange for the successful establishment of a farmstead, was Victor Romero. In 1913 he applied for 15 acres of land that is now within the boundaries of Los Alamos National Laboratory. To house his wife, Refugio Sanchez, and their six children, Victor built the one-room cabin you see here. In 1985, Laboratory historic preservation specialists moved the cabin from its original location and reconstructed it on this site. The cabin, currently owned and maintained by the Los Alamos Historical Society, was extensively restored in 2009.

This rough-hewn cabin has become the symbol of Hispanic homesteading on the Pajarito Plateau. It is one of the last examples of a homestead cabin of its type on the plateau; most other homesteading properties were destroyed in the Cerro Grande Fire of May 2000.

The Romeros lived in this cabin during the growing and stock-raising season, returning to their home in the Rio Grande Valley in winter. Some time before 1938, the family stopped spending their summers on the plateau but continued to use the fields sporadically for pasturage.
Marker detail: Aerial Photograph, 1946 image. Click for full size.
2. Marker detail: Aerial Photograph, 1946
The Romero and adjacent homesteads, shown in this 1946 aerial photograph, lay abandoned immediately after the government acquired the land in 1943 but eventually became part of the site of the Laboratory's main plutonium facility at Technical Area 55. The dirt road became present-day Pajarito Road.
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In 1943, the federal government claimed the site for the Manhattan Project.
 
Erected by Los Alamos National Laboratory.
 
Topics. This historical marker is listed in these topic lists: AgricultureArchitectureHispanic AmericansSettlements & Settlers. A significant historical year for this entry is 1913.
 
Location. 35° 52.962′ N, 106° 18.088′ W. Marker is in Los Alamos, New Mexico, in Los Alamos County. Marker can be reached from Juniper Street just west of 19th Street. Marker is located along the walkway just north of the Los Alamos Historical Museum. Touch for map. Marker is at or near this postal address: 2132 Central Avenue, Los Alamos NM 87544, United States of America. Touch for directions.
 
Other nearby markers. At least 8 other markers are within walking distance of this marker. Homesteading on the Pajarito Plateau, 1887-1942 (here, next to this marker); Harold H. Brook (a few steps from this marker); Albert J. Connell (a few steps from this marker); Martha Brook (a few steps from this marker); William Mackwood Hopper (a few steps from this marker); Manhattan Project Era (about 400 feet away, measured in a direct line); Los Alamos National Laboratory Today (approx. 0.2 miles away); Ice House Memorial (approx. 0.2 miles away). Touch for a list and map of all markers in Los Alamos.
 
Related markers. Click here for a list of markers that are related to this marker. Los Alamos Historical Walking Tour
 
Also see . . .
Marker detail: Romero Homestead Sketch image. Click for full size.
3. Marker detail: Romero Homestead Sketch
This sketch shows the layout of the Romero homestead. The cabin's simple furnishings included a bed and a wood-burning stove. The children slept on a porch on the north side of the cabin. The family used a horse-drawn sled to haul water in barrels from a spring in a nearby canyon.

1. The Homesteaders of Los Alamos. New Mexico was admitted to the United States as the forty-seventh state in 1912. The next year, homesteaders Victor and Refugio Romero built a cabin at Los Alamos. On their fifteen-acre farm, the Romeros planted corn, beans, and melons, and kept chickens, cows, pigs, and horses. The cabin had one room, and was filled with homemade furniture and a cast-iron stove. The property also had a corral and grain shed. (Submitted on September 25, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 

2. A Brief History of Romero Cabin. Water was not readily available on the mesa top and was hauled up in barrels from the bottom of a nearby canyon. Many of the Hispano homestead families on the Pajarito Plateau were related by marriage and there was a network of trails that connected the neighboring properties, often leading from mesa to mesa. (Submitted on September 25, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.) 
 
Marker detail: Anchor Ranch Bean Fields image. Click for full size.
4. Marker detail: Anchor Ranch Bean Fields
Although the Romeros planted vegetables in a kitchen garden by the cabin, most of their acreage was devoted to cash crops — corn and beans. During the First World War, New Mexico farmers shipped tons of beans for the war effort. Shown here are bean fields at Anchor Ranch west of the Romero homestead.
Marker detail: David and Francisquita Romero image. Click for full size.
5. Marker detail: David and Francisquita Romero
David and Francisquita Romero were Victor Romero's parents and his immediate neighbors. Homesteading was a difficult undertaking on the arid Pajarito Plateau, where dry farming had to be practiced. Extended families often shared the work in the loosely communal life of the plateau.
Marker detail: Bences Gonzales image. Click for full size.
6. Marker detail: Bences Gonzales
In the 1930s, Victor Romero's son-in-law, Bences Gonzales (left), helped rebuild the Romero cabin from the ground up. The cabin's shed roof design is representative of Hispanic architecture in Northern New Mexico. Flat and low-pitched roofs were also common on the plateau. Compare the roofing style of the Romero cabin with that of the cabin (right) built by the Duran family, relations of the Romeros who lived just west of Victor Romero's homestead.
Marker detail: Romero Cabin Sketch image. Click for full size.
7. Marker detail: Romero Cabin Sketch
Compare this drawing of the Romero cabin at its original location with the restoration in front of you. Rotten timbers have been replaced with new logs; notching styles have been replicated to retain the character of the cabin's original design and workmanship.
The Romero Cabin Marker image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 24, 2015
8. The Romero Cabin Marker
(Romero Cabin in background)
The Romero Cabin image. Click for full size.
By Cosmos Mariner, May 24, 2015
9. The Romero Cabin
 
 
Credits. This page was last revised on September 25, 2020. It was originally submitted on September 21, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida. This page has been viewed 57 times since then and 2 times this year. Photos:   1. submitted on September 24, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.   2, 3, 4, 5, 6, 7, 8, 9. submitted on September 25, 2020, by Cosmos Mariner of Cape Canaveral, Florida.

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Apr. 14, 2021