The Coronado Cuarto Centennial and the Depletion of Spanish Heritage
The Cuarto Centennial paid tribute to multiple strands of the upper Rio Grande's modern Spanish heritage. As the summer of 1940 approached, Spanish colonial art and architecture, village folkways, and the Santa Fe Fiesta were all brought into the promotional spotlight. The image of Coronado as noble civilizer quickly spread beyond the inner circle of exposition organizers. Coronado's memorable quest for gold was incidental to interests of Anglo cattle ranchers, farm, railroad, and mine owners, and real estate developers. As the failure of the Coronado Cuarto Centennial Exposition makes plain, Spanish colonial symbolism may have intrigued the occasional traveler and big city critic, but its potency was limited to the upper Rio Grande. Just as the racial and cultural character of los paisanos has always divided Hispano New Mexico from the modern American nation, it was the Spanish revival that helped to close the gap.
Keywords: Coronado Cuarto Centennial Exposition, Spanish heritage, Rio Grande, Hispano New Mexico, Spanish revival, Spanish colonial art, Spanish colonial architecture, village folkways, Santa Fe Fiesta
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