San Acacia is not a ghost town
I went to San Acacia because I found it in a book about New Mexico's ghost towns. What the author failed to mention is that San Acacia not a ghost town at all.
San Acacia is a small town located off I-25 between Bernardo and Socorro. As previously mentioned, it is not a ghost town. There are some cool abandoned structures and a cemetery here but there are also quite a few homes inhabited by the living. San Acacia seems to be a fine place to have horses and every house I saw had at least one horse. I also saw people taking their horses for walks around town. Not riding their horses around town but taking them for walks like the way people take dogs for walks.
Founded in 1880, San Acacia was named for a Christian martyr from Roman times - St. Acacio. Unfortunately the spirit of St. Acacio did not show to up to advise the town folk about the need to consult a plat map prior to putting down stakes. San Acacia had a beneficial location with regard to the railroad but it's proximity to the river(s) proved disastrous.
Two prominent rivers, The Rio Puerco and the Rio Salido converge with the Rio Grande just a few miles north of San Acacia. Do you already see where this is going? In August of 1929, during a particularly turbulent monsoon season, raging torrents from both the Rio Puerco and the Rio Salido gushed into the Rio Grande, overwhelming the banks and flooding everything from San Acacia to San Marcial. Then a month later, before the mud had even dried, it happened again. This time destroying all the crops in the valley and washing out the railroad. San Acacia and San Antonio sustained serious damage but farther south the village of San Marcial was wiped from the map, buried under a blanket of sand and clay.
San Acacia Church
There doesn't seem to be much (or any) information about the church. It is unnamed and unused. There is horse poop on the sanctuary floor. In addition to the obvious kind of Jesus-themed graffiti one might expect to find in a church, there are also paintings of framed paintings, complete with hanging hardware, on the wall. Yes, paintings of paintings, on the wall. Scroll through the pictures, you'll see what I mean.
What you should know about this church is that there are houses with people and horses on either side of it, so be polite and be quick. Don't bug the neighbors.
San Acacia Cemetery
The gate is open at San Acacia Cemetery and there are quite a few interesting old graves here. I always say this but I'll say it again. When visiting places like this, take only photos and leave only footsteps. Watch where you step, don't pick things up, try not to touch anything at all, and do not take anything home with you.
There are many cemeteries like this in New Mexico but I learned something about the one in San Acacia that makes it unique. You see that big hill in the background of some of the photos? In 1855, a government surveyor named John W. Garretson chose this hill as the fixed point from which the United States would lay out New Mexico's survey lines in four directions. The survey lines were used to certify land titles under the 1848 peace treaty with Mexico.
Abandoned Houses in San Acacia
There's not very many abandoned houses in San Acacia but I did find a couple that looked interesting. Unfortunately, No Trespassing signs and next door neighbors make entering the properties a bad idea. For the record, shooting over the fence is not trespassing. ;)
Leaving So Soon?
All photos shot with a Canon EOS 50D and a variety of lenses including a Lensbaby 2.0, Sigma DC 17mm-50mm 2.8 EX, and a 90mm Lensball from Besnfoto.
Post production done in Adobe Photoshop and most of the heavy lifting accomplished with Photoshop Actions from The Luxe Lens and Kubota.
I am DeAnna Vincent, fine art and portrait photographer in Los Lunas, New Mexico. These are the photos from my everyday adventures.