Celebrating the Life and Enduring Legacy of J. Paul Taylor | New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs

Celebrating the Life and Enduring Legacy of J. Paul Taylor

Taylor-Mesilla Historic Property

Taylor Home in Old Mesilla. Courtesy: NM Historic Sites

The annals of New Mexico history are filled with the stories of people who have contributed to their communities, their tribes, their governments, and our culture. Few stories can compare in sheer volume to the near century of service, involvement, vision, and leadership exhibited by J. Paul Taylor. A long-time educator in Las Cruces Public Schools, Taylor served nine consecutive terms as a representative in the New Mexico Legislature, and on numerous nonprofit and organizational boards, including the Museum of New Mexico Board of Regents. Taylor has received awards and accolades too numerous to mention.

The son of a native Texan dairy owner in El Paso and a mother who traced her New Mexican roots back to Coronado, Mr. Taylor’s intellect, commitment, work ethic, warmth, and charm have been exceptional assets in many New Mexico arenas for decades.

Mr. Taylor celebrated his 99th birthday at the New Mexico Farm & Ranch Heritage Museum in Las Cruces last August. The birthday celebration, which honors Mr. Taylor as a friend, benefactor and civic leader, is sponsored annually by the Friends of the Taylor Family Monument, in partnership with the Department of Cultural Affairs and New Mexico Historic Sites.

In 2003, Taylor and his late wife, Mary Daniels Taylor, and their family generously bequeathed their historic adobe home and two adjoining stores to the Museum of New Mexico as a historic site. Their collections of Spanish Colonial, Mexican, and New Mexican artwork, along with furniture, rugs, pottery, and textiles from all over the world, were included in the donation.

The Taylor-Barela-Reynolds-Mesilla Historic Site, as it is called, provides an exceptional setting for visitors to understand and appreciate the history, culture, and architecture of Mesilla and the Southwest borderlands. Generations of New Mexicans and visitors from all over the world will experience New Mexico through its lens.

The Taylor-Mesilla Historic Property is one of nine Historic Sites managed by the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs. It is open to the public by appointment only. A limited number of group and school tours can be arranged by calling 575-202-1638.

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