11 Most Endangered Historic Places

Adobe Churches of New Mexico

Year Listed: 1996
Location: New Mexico
Threat: Natural Forces, Deterioration


A few of New Mexico’s 362 catalogued earthen churches, many older than the United States, are in imminent danger of being lost.  Archbishop Michael Sheehan has moved decisively to work with communities to help. He has reinstituted the Archbishops Commission for the Preservation of New Mexican Churches which is considering issues on a case by case basis with professionals participating including Cornerstones Community Partnerships. Several churches have suffered partial collapse due to the many complex issues associated with the preservation of historic adobe walls. Cornerstones has been a key force and successfully assisted over 300 sites in communities in stabilizing or restoring some structures through a community based process.  This process teaches at-risk youth the traditional adobe building skills and appreciation of their culture and community.  However, each year the demand far exceeds the availability of assistance and the challenges continue to grow.