A Brief History of Tome', New Mexico
Tome' is located off HWY47 south of the intersection with El Cerro Loop (formerly known to long term residents as "the 4-way stop") and is one of several small communities that run together in the area generally known as "Los Lunas".
Today, Tome is little more than a blip on the map but, once upon a time, it was the county seal of Valencia County and is the oldest Hispanic settlement in Valencia County.
Tome' was originally part of an encomienda granted to a fellow named Tome' Dominguez de Mendoza in 1659. However, following the Pueblo Revolt of 1680 during which 38 members of his household were killed, Dominguez abandoned his land and high-tailed it all the way to El Paseo where he remained until the Spanish reconquered New Mexico in 1692.
In 1739, a group of 29 settlers from Albuquerque petitioned governor, Gaspar Domingo de Mendoza for control of the abandoned land. The governor granted their request and the Town Of Tome' Grant was conveyed to them.
Following the blueprint of other Spanish colonial towns, Tome' had a central plaza with a church that was surrounded by houses. In 1776, Fray Atanasio Dominguez reported that the settlement of Tome' was home to 727 residents, making about the same size as Albuquerque at the time.
In 1821, Mexico gained its independence from Spain and by this time Tome' was large enough to have it's own local government with a mayor and a legislative council. By 1852, New Mexico was under the control of the United States (though not yet a state), and Tome' was designated the county seat of Valencia County.
In 1876, due to continuing Native American conflicts and a decline in population and general organization, the county seat was permanently moved to Los Lunas.
Immaculate Conception Catholic Church
The Immaculate Conception Catholic Church in Tome', New Mexico was established in 1739 and is the oldest church in Valencia County. Over the years, I have shot a few weddings at this church and, while the both the inside and outside have undergone some improvements and renovations, it remains largely the same as it's always been (according the oldest pictures I can find). On this day I was not able to access the interior but I can tell your from past experience that the interior is almost all original.
On the church property is another interesting building that houses a memorial for a few of its parishioners that fought and died in the Korean War. Out of respect for the surviving families, I have intentionally muted the names on the headstones.
Today, Tome' remains a significant spiritual center in the local Catholic Community. The most notable landmark in Tome' is Tome' Hill. Three crosses sit atop the hill that can be seen from almost anywhere in the surrounding community and, on significant holidays, hundreds of people will be seen walking on HWY 47 making their pilgrimage to the top of the hill.
The photos above and below are interior shots of the same building. At one end is the Korean War Memorial and the other end sits empty.
The Tome' Jail
In 1875, perhaps in an attempt to regain the county seat, the town of Tome' built a two story adobe courthouse on the plaza and a stone jail which is still standing. The county seat was indeed moved back to Tome', temporarily, but in 1876 it was permanently moved to Los Lunas.
Next door to the jail is another old building that is boarded up and looks to be about the same age. I could not find any explanation for what this building is but it looks like it may have been offices either for jail staff or possibly for the church which is right across the street.
Both the jail and adjacent building sit on private property and viewing is restricted to what you can see from the street. The Tome' Jail is considered part of the the El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro National Historic Trail.
I am DeAnna Vincent, fine art and portrait photographer in Los Lunas, New Mexico. These are the photos from my everyday adventures.