I rarely drive this far out on Agua Fria, but one day I did and saw this lovely church. It seemed to beckon and I wandered through the tiny cemetery reading names and dates and thinking about the fabric of each life.
The church was built in 1835. It seems that church going in the early 1800's was an all-day affair. The main Cathedral was miles away and by the time families hitched their horses to the wagon, drove to town, attended mass, and returned home, eight hours or so would have been consumed. And you'd have to forgo going to church entirely if it was your turn on Sundays to water from the acequia. And some families could only "afford" going to church once a month. So, building one closer to home seemed just the thing to do.
But where to build? Jose Jacinto Gallegos, a Village resident, offered some of his prized farm land. While folks watched, Gallegos tossed his hat into the air and the church was built exactly where it landed. Everyone took part in the construction. Adobe bricks were fashioned from the ruins of an old pueblo. The walls were plastered by the women of the Village, and each of the corbels for the roof vigas was crafted by individual families - making them charmingly irregular. The church was named and dedicated to San Isidro, ploughman and patron saint of farmers and protector of crops.
The ancient markers in the cemetery resonate with the names of those early residents of Agua Fria Village.