El Rancho de las Golondrinas (The Ranch of the Swallows) was a paraje (official rest stop) on El Camino Real from Mexico City through Chihuahua to Old Santa Fe. Dating from the early 1700s, the property was associated with several family names; including Vega y Coca, Sandoval, Baca and others. Las Golondrinas is one of the most historic Spanish ranches in the southwest. Descendants of the original Spanish settlers still live in the fertile valley of La Cienega.
In the diaries and reports of yesteryear, "el paraje de las Golondrinas" is often mentioned. It became the last encampment before reaching Santa Fe, the end of the long journey on horseback or by carretas from far away Mexico City. Juan Bautista de Anza, Governor of New Mexico in 1778, searching for a direct route to Arizpe, Sonora, Mexico, spent the night here with a one hundred fifty-one man military expedition.
Learn more about the Camino Real with a short two part series from KOB Channel 4 News Part 1 & Part 2.
El Rancho de las Golondrinas grew out of the vision of the Curtin-Paloheimo family, who acquired the property in the early 1930s. Existing historic buildings were restored, authentic structures erected on old foundations and related buildings brought in from other New Mexican sites. Now, an 18th century placita house complete with defensive tower, a 19th century home and all of its outbuildings, a molasses mill, a threshing ground, several primitive water mills, a blacksmith shop, a wheelwright shop, a winery and vineyard depict many of the essential elements of early New Mexico. The Sierra Village portrays life as it was lived in the mountainous regions of New Mexico. A morada (Penitente meeting house), descansos , a Campo Santo and an Oratorio testify to the deep religious faith that sustained the early settlers.
Through living history, El Rancho de las Golondrinas hopes to foster understanding of, respect for and pride in the language, culture, arts and history of Spanish Colonial, Mexican and Territorial New Mexico. Particular emphasis is placed on its use as an educational facility. It welcomes teachers and students for tours, workshops, seminars and other learning experiences. The museum is now owned and operated by the El Rancho de las Golondrinas, Inc. a non-profit 501(c)(3) organization. Donations to Las Golondrinas are tax deductible to the extent allowed by the law. We are a member of the Association for Living Historical Farms and Agricultural Museums (ALHFAM).