Preservation of Historic Adobe Buildings of the Southwest

Since 1986, Cornerstones Community Partnerships has worked to preserve historic adobe buildings and community traditions at more than 300 locations in New Mexico and the Southwest. Cornerstones uses historic preservation as a tool for community revitalization and as a method for engaging both youths and adults in the conservation of historic buildings, the maintenance of traditional building skills, and the affirmation of culture.

When requested by a community, Cornerstones will make recommendations for preservation or restoration of historic adobe buildings and will help raise funds for preservation planning. For minor repairs to structures, Cornerstones organizes volunteer workdays. For more complex projects, Cornerstones coordinates the role of local volunteers during the restoration process and partners to involve student volunteers from schools and colleges.

Through Cornerstones’ program, local volunteers learn how best to make repairs to their traditional earthen structures and the correct way to preserve the buildings to avoid future damage. Youth receive hands-on training that helps provide them with both marketable job skills and a new appreciation of their local heritage. More than 100 volunteers participate annually in the program.

Cornerstones works primarily with small, rural, economically disadvantaged communities that do not have the skills or resources to restore historic structures. Without Cornerstones’ preservation expertise and ability to raise funds and recruit volunteers, many examples of historic vernacular architecture in New Mexico and the Southwest would continue to deteriorate until they were lost to the community and future generations.

Designated a Preserve America Steward in January 2009.