Constructed between 1919 and the early 1920s, the Pino Ranch House is a significant vernacular building within La Cienega, New Mexico. The house is located at El Rancho de las Golondrinas, which is New Mexico’s only living history museum. The Pino Ranch House was constructed on the heels of New Mexican statehood and as an artifact from this era the house provides great material insight to the confluence of Hispano and Anglo building practices. This is evidenced through the use of adobe, a traditional Hispano building material, combined with very “American” design elements such as mirrored exterior architectural features, a basement, and a hipped roof with dormers and wood shingles. The property maintains its historic integrity with the character defining features of the south porch, shingled roof with dormers and the landscaping elements of the south ponds. The unique blend of materials and craftsmanship create a distinguishing vernacular style.
Culturally, ranching practices related to the Pino Ranch House are significant in two ways. First, the intended use of the Pino Ranch House was as a home on a rancho; therefore, the building and the activities associated with it contribute to interpretation of the historic sheepherding landscape of La Cienega. Second, the Pino family, who were known regionally for their large ranching enterprises, were important figures in the history of New Mexico. The period of significance, 1919-1968, is the era in which the house was continually associated with ranching.
Through a series of strategic marriages, the land within the La Cienega Valley was owned by prominent families. These included the families Baca, Vega y Coca, Delgado, Gonzales, Ortiz, and Pino. The practice of families intermarrying to secure land is an example of cultural traditions that impact the landscape. Further, the color blue found within the Pino Family Coat of Arms “served as a reminder of the family’s royal obligations to defending the agricultural traditions of their country.” The ranching practices were intrinsic to the identity of the Pino family. These practices carried over transcontinentally (from Spain, to New Spain, Mexico and then New Mexico) and continued, via the Pino Ranch House, on the Las Golondrinas land until 1968.
The original context of the Pino Ranch House is superseded by the immediate landscape at Las Golondrinas; but it relates to the larger rural historic landscape of La Cienega. As J.B. Jackson, an esteemed geographer and resident of La Cienega, describes “what comes first: the blessing or the prayer? It is not easy in this landscape to separate the role of man from the role of nature.” The Pino Ranch House, as a property located within a living history museum, has a unique potential to be a place of critical inquiry. Overall, the Pino Ranch House is an artifact on a historic rancho that was built through changing cultural traditions. The building is an integral piece of the rural historic landscape of La Cienega and the greater Santa Fe area.