About TBRM

In 2003, J. Paul and the late Mary Daniels Taylor and their family donated their historic adobe home and two adjoining stores to the Museum of New Mexico as a State Monument.  The official dedication of the Taylor-Barela-Reynolds-Mesilla Historic Site (TBRM) took place in September 2006.


As one of New Mexico’s eight Historic Sites, TBRM joins a special collection of culturally significant places. Each historic site tells a unique story that is important to understanding New
Mexico histor


TBRM consists of the Barela Store (now called La Zia) and the Reynolds Store (now called El Platero) -- separated by a covered passageway called a zaguán that leads to a large home in the rear. This combination of business and residential uses was a fairly common practice in nineteenth-century New Mexico towns and villages.


The Taylor home and two adjoining stores tell the story of settlement in the Mesilla Valley and a time when Mesilla was the center of political, commercial, and social activity in southern New Mexico. Events associated with the monument’s history include:  the U.S. War with Mexico, the Treaty of Guadalupe-Hidalgo, and the Gadsden Purchase; the Confederate attempt to invade New Mexico during the Civil War; operation of the Butterfield Overland Mail Trail and Camino Real trade routes; and arrival of the railroad in New Mexico.

The stores that are associated with the historic sitet were originally built as two small storefronts on adjoining 60' x 300' lots with residential quarters and outbuildings to the rear.  The oldest parts of the buildings were constructed separately in the 1850's and then combined in 1903.

Barela Store - photo by Tom Conelly

 In the 1860s the Barela family ran a general store on the Plaza and lived in the house behind the store.  Anastacio Barela, a prominent New Mexican trader who established the business, is thought to have supported the Confederacy during the occupation of Mesilla.  After the occupation, he fled to Texas with other Southern sympathizers and deeded the property to his wife Rafaela so that it wouldn't be confiscated.  Rafaela was an astute businesswoman who operated the store with her son Mariano.  She also loaned money, held mortgages, and foreclosed on properties.   Over time, the Barela home became known as an important meeting place for financial and political interests in Doña Ana County.  In 1866, Mariano Barela was elected sheriff for Doña Ana County. 


The Barela Store is an adobe structure in the "Territorial" style.  It is distinguished by a triangular parapet in the front façade and simplified NeoClassical details such as the pediments that top wood trim around windows and doors.

Reynolds Store - photo by Tom Conelly

Joseph Reynolds and Edgar Griggs, two former civilian employees at Ft. Filmore and Ft. Craig, married sisters from a prominent New Mexican family and built a flourishing mercantile business in the Mesilla Valley.  The Mesilla store operated by the Reynolds and Griggs Company included two buildings -- one that housed the feed and grocery departments (in what is now the Mesilla Book Store) and a second that offered notions and dry goods.  When Edgar Griggs died in 1877, Joseph Reynolds continued the business until his son Charles took it over.  In an important expansion of the business in 1903, Charles Reynolds bought the Barela property and began an extensive refurbishing in the front rooms of the house.


Arrival of the railroad in 1881 significantly improved local access to a wide range of industrial building materials.  Charles Reynolds rebuilt the store with a stamped metal façade, large plate-glass windows, and a metal-bracketed cornice that still exist.  On the inside, a U-shaped mezzanine is reached by a symmetrically divided staircase embellished with turned wooden balusters and newel posts.