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The Setting of Casa San Ysidro

Information about the setting of Casa San Ysidro.

Casa San Ysidro is a unique compound which includes historic buildings, recreations of buildings from the region, and new constructions. Get a taste of what awaits you on your full tour.

Casa Entry & Zaguán Gates

entry way

The doors which open to the zaguán of Casa San Ysidro have been conservatively dated to circa 1835.

Very few such gates have survived the centuries, and these are particularly interesting because of their splendid hand-forged iron hinges.

The size of the gate allowed for the entry of a loaded carreta or farm wagon when the double doors were open; the small "door within a door" accommodated pedestrian traffic.

The Zaguán

Image of the zaguan at Casa San Ysidro.

The zaguán is the covered entryway that leads from the exterior of the house to the patio or plazuela.

During the Spanish Colonial period the zaguán was commonly the only opening to a courtyard home whose massive blank outside walls provided security from hostile bands.

The small, Territorial era window set into the adobe wall looks into the kitchen. Before the American Occupation of 1846, window glass was a rarity in New Mexico.

Even after window glass began to be imported in quantity from the United States, small-paned windows remained the norm until the railroad arrived in 1879-1880.


Image of a patio at Casa San Ysidro.

A traditional portal shades and shelters pedestrian traffic around the center courtyeard.

The hanging laterns are made of wood with mica and selinite window panes. Such lanterns are often mentioned in New Mexican inventories and wills of the 18th century.

Lit with candles or grease tubs, they frequently caught fire and were quickly replaced when tin lanterns became available in the 1850s.


Image of a cook house at Casa San Ysidro.

Built by a settler in Escabosa, New Mexico shortly after the Civil War, this one-room log and adobe home with its viga ceiling was salvaged and moved to Casa San Ysidro.

Here it was used as a summer kitchen.

It was common practice in Spanish Colonial New Mexico to move the kitchen seasonally, and a detached summer kitchen kept the heat from cooking out of the main living areas of the home.

Cactus Wall

Image of a cactus plant at Casa San Ysidro.

The eight-foot wall surrounding the corral area of Casa San Ysidro is thickly planted with cactus, a traditional New Mexican "security system."

As added protection, the rooftops of the main house would have been occupied by the family's dogs, each barking vigilantly at the first sight of an approaching stranger.

Stone Barn

Image of a stone barn at Casa San Ysidro.

The pitched roof stone barn was given to Casa San Ysidro by a family from Tajique, New Mexico.

Family tradition states that the stones used in the construction of this barn originally came from the ruins of the nearby 17th century church of Quarai.

Disassembled and moved to its present location in the late 1950s, reconstruction was an on-going process that required approximately ten years to complete.

Contact Information

Casa San Ysidro

(505) 898-3915

Subheader Image Details

Elaine de Kooning, 1920 - 1989
"Juarez" (detail), 1959, oil on canvas
Collection of Albuquerque Museum