From the Guide Book to Highway 66

Paraje Trading Post This single structure is at the intersection of a road to ACOMA PUEBLO. The direction to Acoma is plainly marked, and a visit to this remarkable place is a "must". You travel about 14 miles over a graded dirt-and-gravel road to reach it. On the way you pass the ENCHANTED MESA about 10 miles from US 66. This mesa was once the site of a village, but its sides fell away during an earthquake, marooning three old women who had been left in the pueblo while the villagers tilled the field below. The mesa can be climbed by experienced climbers.

When you approach ACOMA ROCK, you will have to park your car and climb a sandy, sloping trail to its table-like top. The pueblo covers over 70 acres and is over 350 feet above the surrounding plain. An admission fee of $1 per person is charged, for money going to its improvments.

Acoma, also known as "Sky City," is the oldest pueblo in North America which has been inhabited continuously. In one of the early battles with the Spanish Conquistadores, five soldiers leaped from its height, and all but one lived to tell the tale! Until 200 years ago, the only method of access was by climbing up toe-holds in the rock.

At the top of the pueblo, several structures made of stone and adobe, and still inhabited - although most of the villagers spend the summers in the valley below with their flocks and their crops. The old church, the Mission oF San Estaban Rey, was started in 1629, and is the locale for Willa Cather's book, "Death Comes for the Archbishop." A ceremonial dance is held here the first week in September of each year. A few years ago, the Walter Wanger studio produced the film "Sundown" here, and in order to make the locale appear African for movie purposes, they brought in several elephants, camels, zebras and other animals, which appeared strange indeed to the natives.

From The Guide Book to Highway 66 by Jack D. Rittenhouse © 1946 Jack D. Rittenhouse; additional material © 1989 University of New Mexico Press.
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