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El Morro, New Mexico

Village or Town
A community May Day Celebration and dinner at the Old School Gallery – Kirk Shoemaker

In The Enchanted Land Where Dreams Take Wing & Fly, the small village of El Morro, New Mexico is a very unique, interesting little community that sits along the Zuni Acoma Trail, an Ancient Way traveled for 1000's of years by prehistoric puebloan peoples. A nearby oasis pool at the base of a towering cliff was the magnet that attracted so many wayfarers to pass this way. In 1540 the Spanish Conquistador Coronado, with his ill-fated expedition of 1000 men and 1000 animals, passed through El Morro, searching for the Seven Cities of Gold. In 1859 a U.S. Army camel caravan of 25 camels passed through and rested at the El Morro pool, as well as hundreds of pioneers headed west.

El Morro was a thriving community of ranchers in the 1940's, with a trading post, post office, feed lot and rodeo grounds. In 1948 the community built a two room school house where about 20 anglo, hispanic and Navajo children went to school. The anglo & hispanic children rode horseback or walked to school, while the Navajo children lived in a dormitory in Mountain View, 9 miles away, and rode to school in a converted army truck. Their "school bus" was heated with a wood burning stove in the winter. The school house was closed in the mid-fifties and the building was used for feed, hay, and grain storage. In 1987 the interior walls were removed, a stage was built and the old school house was used for a wild west show, dances, meetings and reunions.

In 1997 the local artists & residents formed the El Morro Area Arts Council, and in 1998 they bought the Old School House and converted it into a beautiful art gallery, community center, and theatre for performing arts. Their first big opening event was a Renaissance Festival, a wonderful day of colorful costumes and festivities with over 300 people attending.

El Morro is the community center & social hub for hundreds of hardy, desert dwellers whose homesteads are scattered over the surrounding 900 square mile area. The primitive, natural beauty and energy of El Morro Valley has attracted a large community of Artists who live nearby and call El Morro their home. The community owned & operated "Old School Gallery" is the social center where the community gathers for art exhibitions, workshops, stage plays, musical performances, dances, potlucks, morning Yoga and Tai Chi, crafts fair, drumming circles, celebrations, festivals, and on and on.

Today El Morro is a thriving community of imaginative artists. There is a trading post - coffee shop with an outdoor patio and stage for concerts, a small cafe, rv park, campground, cabins, feed & seed store, a thrift "emporium" and a new community food cooperative that is working to open a wholesome food store. Community spirit and creative entrepreneurship has revived the village of El Morro in recent years and created a very energetic, socially active, close-knit community of friends and neighbors, who always welcome newcomers and passersby with open arms.

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