Feminilas Building

Year Listed: 2023
County: Costilla
Construction Date: 1920s
Threat When Listed: Demolition by Neglect, Weather Exposure

The Feminilas Building is located in the Culebra Valley south and east of San Luis, Colorado, and was built around 1920 as the only known building separately owned and operated by the women’s auxiliary of the SPMDTU Hispanic men’s labor organization (Society for the Mutual Protection of United Workers). The small adobe building is in badly deteriorating condition but can be saved and used as a small community and interpretive center to highlight the role of women’s auxiliaries in supporting the SPMDTU and in maintaining local Hispano cultures and traditions. The Feminilas played an integral role in providing aid to the afflicted and bereaved in the area, similar to the Penitentes, which was a traditional men’s group associated with the Catholic Church.

“Hopefully, the building would be saved from collapse … it represents a traditional way of life, focusing on the traditional contributions of Hispanic women.” – Belinda Zink, CPI Reviewer

The Feminilas Building was constructed in the territorial adobe style popular in the region, with vigas and latillas with earthen overburden and a gabled wood framed roof. The building is undesignated and suffers from weather exposure and deterioration, and is in danger of collapse. Its condition reflects a lack of resources and underappreciation of the contributions and significance of underrepresented groups in the region. Preservation of the Feminilas Building would help to preserve the unique lifeways, language, and culture of the Culebra Valley and the traditional contributions of Hispanic women. CPI will work with the property owners and local stakeholders and advocates to stabilize, rehabilitate, and return the building to a useful life in the community.

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