RIO RANCHO, N.M. — Highway signs directing visitors to state monuments rebranded last year as “historic sites,” including Coronado, are going up around the state.
Crews put up Coronado Historic Site signs on Thursday along north- and southbound Interstate 25 near Bernalillo.
A New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs news release says a marketing study showed that the name “historic site” resonated with tourists as a place of cultural and historic significance, resulting in name changes for the monuments during the 2013 legislative session.
Gov. Susana Martinez signed the measure last March.
The signage is intended to make it easier for visitors to find and experience the sites, with the department also enhancing educational programming and adding and refreshing exhibits at each.
The state’s other historic sites are Jemez near Jemez Springs, El Camino International Heritage Center near Socorro, Lincoln and Fort Stanton in Lincoln County, Bosque Redondo Memorial at Fort Sumner, Fort Selden in Radium Springs and the Taylor Barela Mesilla House in Old Mesilla Valley.
The Coronado Historic Site, located along the west bank of the Rio Grande just north of US 550, provides information about the first contact between early native residents of Kuaua Pueblo and Spanish settlers arriving in New Mexico in the 15th century.
Among the features is the Painted Kiva.
The Jemez site contains stone ruins of a 500-year-old pueblo village and the San Jose de los Jemez church, which dates to 1621.
Matt Barbour, manager at Jemez, said visitors can get a two-day pass for $5 to both Coronado and Jemez. He said admission is free to New Mexico residents on Sundays and to New Mexico seniors on Wednesdays.