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Celebrating the Legacy of John Gaw Meem

old portrait of John Gaw Meem

Each November we pause and reflect on the life and legacy of one of the most influential figures in the storied history of Los Poblanos: John Gaw Meem, the renowned architect behind Los Poblanos Ranch and the La Quinta Cultural Center. Meem, born on November 17, 1894, is widely considered New Mexico's greatest architect of the 20th century. Throughout his long, successful career, Meem worked on countless projects and collaborated with many leading figures in the Southwest including Ruth and Albert Simms, the owners of Los Poblanos in the 1930s.

Blueprint of the Hacienda

Blueprint of the Hacienda

Meem's work reflects a rich tapestry of personal experiences, interests and influences, from his childhood in Brazil (raised by parents who were missionaries), to his recovery from tuberculosis at the Sunmount Sanatorium in Santa Fe, to his training in the Beaux-Arts style of architecture at Atelier Denver. Upon settling in New Mexico, Meem developed a keen interest in historic preservation. He was inspired by the elements found in Puebloan settlements, Spanish mission churches, simple adobe forms and decorative Greek Revival style. The combination of these elements constitute Meem's signature Territorial Revival architecture. 

At Los Poblanos, we count ourselves fortunate to be the stewards of two Meem-designed architectural gems that are magnificent expressions of Territorial Revival style. Preserving and sharing Meem's work is at the heart of the Los Poblanos mission and business model.


The Historic Hacienda

Los Poblanos Ranch was built as a private residence, first for the Simms family and later, the Rembe family. Penny and Armin Rembe opened Los Poblanos Inn in 1999 as a means of preserving the historic Hacienda, opening it up to visitors staying at their bed and breakfast. This summer, we proudly reopened the original Los Poblanos Ranch building as our Hacienda Spa. This decision reflects our commitment to delivering a well-being experience to our guests that is deeply rooted in a unique sense of place. 

Photo by Laura Gilpin of the Hacienda in the 1930s

Photo by Laura Gilpin of the Hacienda in the 1930s

The Hacienda Sala Grande in the past and present day

The Hacienda Sala Grande in the past and present day


La Quinta

We are also striving to return the La Quinta building to its original intended purpose as a place for the community to gather, celebrate and participate in cultural events and activities. Our twice-weekly Afternoon Tea provides the chance to revel in Meem's architectural masterpiece and join a docent-led art and architecture tour of La Quinta. In October, we launched the monthly Dr. Armin Rembe Lecture Series at La Quinta, in the spirit of the lecture series established by the Simms in the 1930s and commemorating Dr. Armin Rembe who passed away in April 2021.

As the past two years have presented unexpected challenges and opportunities, we continue to draw inspiration from the incredible legacy of John Gaw Meem and the foresight he had to celebrate and protect the unique character that makes New Mexico the enchanting place it is.

Photo by Laura Gilpin of La Quinta in the 1930s

Photo by Laura Gilpin of La Quinta in the 1930s

The La Quinta ballroom in the past and present day

The La Quinta ballroom in the past and present day

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