Meet Bob and Liz Swartwout!
January 10, 2018
The Swartwouts moved to Santa Fe from near Saratoga Springs, New York, forty years ago when Bob was recruited to serve as the first Executive Director of the New Mexico Public Service Commission. Bob grew up in the very small hamlet of East Branch, New York, in the Catskill Mountains. Liz grew up in the borough of Queens in New York City. Bob is a licensed civil engineer with a varied career in industry and government which ended with 24 years as a solo consultant. Liz was a stay at home mom.
“Over the years we both, independently, did an extensive amount of volunteering,” says Liz. Liz has read the newspaper for the New Mexico Commission for the Blind, tutored for Literacy Volunteers, was a Girl Scout leader and volunteered in the Santa Fe Public Schools. Bob has volunteered for Boy Scout councils, served as president of the PTA at Chaparral Elementary School, and coached and served on the board of the Northern New Mexico Youth Soccer Club for many years.
In 2005, after Bob retired and the children had long since left the nest, they decided to begin volunteering together. They spent several years at the Laboratory of Anthropology’s Archaeological Records Management Section assisting in the processing of paperwork designed to protect and maintain records of pre-European artifacts and data that are continuously being found all over New Mexico.
In 2013, their daughter, Christina Farmer, suggested that they volunteer at Las Golondrinas where she and her two daughters, Natasha and Anabella, had been weavers for a number of years. They attended training that year and were immediately hooked. This is now their fifth season and they have learned, and are still learning, their wonderful southwest history. Bob and Liz treasure the friendships they have made with their fellow volunteers and with the staff. They enjoy arriving early and sitting on the casita’s portal in the cool morning air of the Ranch while chatting with their friends.
Bob and Liz both have a great interest in American history. Bob’s is, to a great extent, inspired by his family history. The Swartwouts were Dutch settlers in about 1650 in New Amsterdam (the southern end of Manhattan Island) and then in the New Netherlands in the Hudson Valley up as far as Fort Orange (now Albany, New York). The Dutch lands soon became English lands in what are now the states of New York, New Jersey and Connecticut.
By 10:00 A.M., on Thursdays and Sundays, the Swartwouts can be found on the upper Ranch in either La Tiendita, the Baca House or the Chapel eagerly awaiting visitors from near and far. They have met folks from every continent except Antarctica. They both look forward to many more seasons at El Rancho de las Golondrinas.