Sangre de Cristo Heritage Center
San Luis is "Where Colorado Began". Established on April 9, 1851 as San Luis de la Culebra, San Luis is the oldest continually occupied town in the state of Colorado. San Luis was part of the Sangre de Cristo Land Grant owned by Carlos Beaubien. In San Luis you will find La Vega (The Commons), one of two “commons” in the United States (the other being Boston Common). Today La Vega is still used as communal grazing lands. San Luis and the Culebra Villages are also home to the oldest adjudicated water rights in the state of Colorado.
The Sangre de Cristo Heritage Center is home to the San Luis Museum, Community Theater, and a Community Kitchen. Currently The Sangre de Cristo Heritage Center is going under an ambitious interior renovation/restoration project. The first phase of the project was completed in the winter of 2019-2020. The next phase of renovation will begin in the summer of 2020. The entire project has been funded with grant money from the State Historical Fund - History Colorado and other granting partners. The project is a long term phased out project and currently the Sangre de Cristo Heritage Center is closed. We do not have an estimated date for reopening.
To learn more about the town of San Luis go to:
Scenic Byway -- You can discover more about the eastern portion of the San Luis Valley take a drive along the of the Los Caminos Antiquos Scenic Byway.
Sacred Circle Tour -- The County has also put together a Sacred Circle Tour that also includes the:
Shrine at the Stations of the Cross
Experience the beauty of the Rio Culebra landscape and the accomplished local skill that created this awe-inspiring devotional site. Overlooking the town of San Luis is the shrine of "La Mesa de la Piedad y de la Misericordia" (Hill of Piety and Mercy). Constructed in 1986, two centerpieces celebrate Colorado's newest Catholic shrine, La Capilla de Todos Los Santos (the Chapel of All Saints) and bronze sculptures depicting the Stations of the Cross. As visitors climb the half-mile trail they can view fifteen bronze sculptures of Christ's passion and resurrection and experience the magnificent adobe Capilla at the top of the mesa. On San Pedro Mesa overlooking San Luis, at the junction of CO Hwys 159 and 142 San Luis, CO 81152 (719) 672-3685.
Scenic Byway itinerary:
Short Walks, Long Views - a 3-Day Itinerary on 3 Scenic Byways
The original settlers of Southern Colorado brought with them a form of land settlement and irrigation that was based on principles of equity, shared scarcity and cooperation in which water was viewed as a resource in place, rather than a commodity. It is here, in the villages surrounding San Luis, where Colorado's oldest continuous water rights have existed since the mid-1800's. This type of water system is called an acequia. Acequias continue to be the lifeblood of residents in Southern Costilla County – they not only serve to provide the water for the farms on which hundreds of families depend on, but they also serve as a conduit for community services and support.
Filming by #ChristiBode, Moxiecran Media