The History of Taos

Read about the art history of Taos >>

A Taos Timeline - A Long Winding Road
Throughout our long history, Taos has been a destination for travelers wanting the powerful experience of seeing new places and meeting new people. When you get to Taos, you can get a sense of these ancestors of present-day Taoseños by taking a stroll through the historic district. Print "Historic Taos," a self-guided walking tour of 22 important sites to lead the way. (1.2MB PDF file)

6,000 years ago: Nomadic hunter-gatherers pass through the area leaving behind arrowheads, potshards and pictographs.

900 years ago: The people of Taos Pueblo and Picuris Pueblo inhabit their villages.

1540: Conquistador Hernando de Alvarado follows the Rio Grande north to Taos Valley. When he sees the sun shining on the straw in the adobes at Taos Pueblo, he believes he has found the famed Cities of Gold.

1680: The Pueblo people unite to drive out the Spanish.

1696: Don Diego de Vargas of Spain resettles the area around Taos Pueblo, Taos Plaza and Ranchos de Taos.

Early 1800s: Taos becomes the headquarters for mountain men, such as Kit Carson, who marries Taoseña Josefa Jaramillo.

1826: Padre Antonio Jose Martinez begins serving the Taos parish. He starts the first newspaper west of the Mississippi, an offshoot of which is still in existence today.

1847: During the war with Mexico, some of the people of Taos rebel and kill U.S. Territorial Governor Charles Bent in his Taos home, as he attempts to escape through a hole he has dug in his adobe wall.

1898: Artists Bert Phillips and Ernest Blumenschein stop to have a broken wagon wheel repaired, become enchanted with Taos and decide to stay. This event starts an immigration of artists that continues today.

1917: Socialite Mabel Dodge Luhan arrives and eventually brings to Taos creative luminaries such as Ansel Adams, Willa Cather, Aldous Huxley, Carl Jung, D.H. Lawrence, Georgia O'Keeffe, Thornton Wilder and Thomas Wolfe.

1955: Ernie and Rhoda Blake open Taos Ski Valley. The first lift goes up Al's Run for 300 vertical feet and is 1,000 feet long.

1965: The second highest suspension bridge in the U.S. highway system is built spanning the Rio Grande Gorge. It is called the "bridge to nowhere" while it is being built, because the funding does not exist to continue the road on the other side.

1960s & 1970s: Taos is quite the hippie hang out. Many of the hippies stay and become part of the lively modern cultural scene of Taos.

In 1970, the U.S. government returns sacred Blue Lake to Taos Pueblo in a landmark decision.

Today, you are the latest in our long history of people exploring Taos.