Taos Pue­blo pur­chases sto­ried Lineberry Es­tate

Prop­erty may be de­vel­oped into pos­si­ble con­ven­tion cen­ter

The Taos News - - FRONT PAGE - By Rick Ro­mancito tempo@taos­news.com The Taos News

It was Taos Pue­blo land in the first place, but over many years the 14.331 acres en­com­pass­ing the Lineberry Es­tate even­tu­ally fell out of its hands. Now, it’s back.

At doc­u­ment-sign­ing cer­e­monies con­ducted Wed­nes­day morn­ing (Sept. 26), Taos Pue­blo re-aquired the prop­erty, termed by tribal of­fi­cials as “the gate­way to life.”

“This is a very im­por­tant oc­ca­sion for Taos Pue­blo,” tribal Gov. Gil­bert Suazo said about the pur­chase for an undis­closed amount. “This prop­erty that we are talk­ing about is Taos Pue­blo land from way back, abo­rig­i­nal land, (that)

later be­came part of the Taos Pue­blo Grant, and these lands were lost in var­i­ous ways through other own­ers. We’re al­ways glad to get those lands back.”

Suazo said ne­go­ti­a­tions to ac­quire the prop­erty have been on­go­ing through the sum­mer months and in­volved work­ing with mem­bers of the Taos Pue­blo busi­ness devel­op­ment team; Kathy Dice of First New Mex­ico Ti­tle; An­gel Reyes, pres­i­dent and CEO of Cen­tinel Bank in the town of Taos, along with rep­re­sen­ta­tives of the Lineberry Foun­da­tion.

Af­ter the cer­e­monies, Teresa Leger, at­tor­ney for the Pue­blo, said of­fi­cials stated the prop­erty may be de­vel­oped into a trib­ally op­er­ated con­ven­tion cen­ter.

The Lineberry Es­tate at 501 Paseo del Pue­blo Norte has fig­ured promi­nently in the art his­tory of the town of Taos.

Once known as “El Ran­cho de la Mari­posa,” it was orig­i­nally owned by Chicago painter Duane Van Vechten (1898-1977), who worked in a stu­dio she built on the prop­erty. In 1935 she met and mar­ried busi­ness­man Ed­win Lineberry.

“To­gether they built and op­er­ated the first gro­cery store in Taos and also the Kachina Lodge, which bor­dered their es­tate,” ac­cord­ing to a “Re­mark­able Women of Taos” pro­file at taos.org. “(Van Vechten) created unique South­west­ern de­signs for the lodge as well as the wooden totem pole in the cen­ter of the cir­cu­lar Kiva Cof­fee shop, which is meant to rep­re­sent ‘Bird, Beast, Man and In­fin­ity.’”

Af­ter Van Vechten’s death, Lineberry “found him­self with all her paint­ings as well as many oth­ers they had ac­quired over the years,”

taos.org con­tin­ues. “These paint­ings were given or pur­chased from friends, many who were some of the first artists in Taos, now known as the Taos So­ci­ety of Artists. Ed wished that oth­ers could ap­pre­ci­ate the col­lec­tion, and upon re­mar­ry­ing, he and his sec­ond wife, Novella, would es­tab­lish a mu­seum in mem­ory of his first wife, Duane, and the Taos founders, so they could ‘re­ceive the tribute the de­serve.’ In 1994, the Van Vechten-Lineberry Taos Art Mu­seum was created to pro­mote and honor Taos’ finest artists.”

The fa­cil­ity was con­sid­ered state-of-the-art with cli­mate-con­trolled gal­leries and stor­age ar­eas, along with video se­cu­rity be­hind the prop­erty’s leg­endary and im­pos­ing high wall. But, af­ter only a few years, funds to keep it open dwin­dled, and it was closed by 2003. The art­work per­tain­ing to the Taos So­ci­ety of Artists formed the ba­sis for the Taos Art Mu­seum now housed in the Fechin House. The rest was sold at auction by Sotheby’s.

Leger said pro­ceeds from the prop­erty sale will be di­rected by the Lineberry Foun­da­tion to­ward phil­an­thropic en­deav­ors.

Rick Ro­mancito

With a stroke of his pen, Taos Pue­blo Gov. Gil­bert Suazo, left, signed doc­u­ments ac­quir­ing own­er­ship of the Lineberry Es­tate for the tribe Wed­nes­day (Sept. 26). With him at the ta­ble, from left, are Taos Pue­blo War Chief Henry Samora Sr. and An­gel Reyes of Cen­tinel Bank.

Cour­tesy Google Maps

Lo­cated at the south­ern en­trance to Taos Pue­blo lands, the Lineberry Es­tate sits be­hind a high wall and houses the for­mer Van Vechten-Lineberry Taos Art Mu­seum and home of the late Ed­win and Novella Lineberry.

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