The Extraordinary Allure of San Francisco de Asís Church

We Love San Francisco de Asís Church

My family has traveled to Taos, New Mexico as a destination for almost 80 years. The light, the architecture and the art have drawn us there. We never seem to tire of visiting San Francisco de Asis Church.

While my grandfather, W. R. Allen, was alive, he documented the church, us in front of the church, people around the church and architectural details of the church. I never asked him why he loved it so much. The architecture was part of it. He loved beautiful buildings, especially mid-century modern ones. While the Church in no way reflects mid-century modernism, it does have a simplicity to its design.

Other Artists Love San Francisco de Asks

The fact that Georgia O’Keefe and Ansel Adams and other artists were fascinated by the church also drew him to the church. When my grandfather completed his draft card he listed “actor” as his profession. He returned from the war a trained photographer and channeled his creativity into film. A growing family meant he needed a job. His skills in math and engineering landed him at Climax Molybdenum Company

San Francisco de Asís as a Family Keystone

Place can provide a powerful keystone to a family history. A particular geography can be as important to a family as a person or treasured object. I think Taos and San Francisco de Asís functions as both a keystone and a touchstone for our family.

The church offers a cohesive source of storytelling and ritual. We all have memories of visiting. We have my grandfather’s photos documenting the visits. The church is also fundamental to our family. It is part of our family history.

Talking about the church and our trips allows to partake in shared memories. The stories also allow us to share with others our love of travel and the importance of the western United States to our family identity. I think as a family we’re particularly engaging when we talk about Taos. We’ve been together for almost 80 years, after all.

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