ancient adobe village in a hauntingly beautiful landscape, Puerto
de Luna (10 miles south of Santa Rosa) was once the most thriving
village in the area. According to one legend, Coronado's conquistadores
built a bridge across the Pecos here and watched the moon come
up behind rock outcroppings. The area was not permanently settled
until Civil War times, relatively late by Southwestern standards.
Early settlers found a beautiful, fertile valley with soft sweet
drinking water from nearby springs and sufficient acequia water
to irrigate their fields.
The coming of the railroad signaled the beginning of the
end for Puerto de Luna when it was bypassed. Instead, the
citizens of Santa Rosa were the ones to cheer the first train
steaming into their town on Christmas Day of 1901.
Special sites in "PDL," as the locals call it,
include the Nuestro Señora del Refugio Church, the
original County Courthouse, and the nearby Grzelachowski House,
home to one of the town's most colorful entrepreneurs. "Grezla,"
as the retired Civil War chaplain was nicknamed, was a business
partner to Charles Ilfeld, pioneer merchant, and also friend
to outlaw Billy the Kid. Billy is said to have eaten his last
Christmas dinner in Grezla's home in PDL.
Puerto de Luna is also famous for "PDL Chile" a
unique strain of chile that has been cultivated here for over
100 years. Look for specials on local restaurant marquees
or menus boasting PDL Chile.
Santa Rosa, head for the railroad-era Fourth Street Business
District and the Ilfeld Warehouse. Check out the old storefronts!
The remains of Saint Rose Chapel, erected in 1879 by builder
Don Celso Baca, are right across from his hacienda about a
mile from the town center on Highway 91.
HISTORY IN A NUTSHELL
- 1541 Coronado passes through on his search for gold.
- 1824 Republic of Mexico gives Agua Negra Land Grant to
Don Antonio Sandoval.
- 1842 The first settlers arrive in Puerto de Luna.
- 1863 The federal government forcibly relocates Navajos
to nearby Bosque Redondo on what is known as "The Long
- 1901 The Chicago, Rock Island & Pacific Railroad steams
into Santa Rosa.
- 1903 Santa Rosa becomes Guadalupe county seat, and fate
bypasses Puerto de Luna.