Santa Fe Living Treasures – Elder Stories

A plasterer by trade, Elias, born in 1904, made his own mortar and worked in the old style of lathe and plaster, tending to many of Santa Fe's historic homes and buildings. He remained in this profession over sixty years. "My first trade was a baker," he recalled, "and then I joined the National Guard and cooked there for eight years. That's my life. I did all kinds of work." In 1968, he retired from the Museum of New Mexico, where he worked as a guard. In wartime he worked at Los Alamos National Laboratory, as a carpenter, plasterer, guard, and cook. "I try to do everything," he told us.

In his youth, Elias was a professional boxer. Later he gained quite a reputation as a musician. For thirty years he played bass drum in a brass band that gave regular concerts on the gazebo that once stood at the center of the plaza. "I like to beat," he explained. He also sang for the Conquistadores, a band that played at Fiesta de Santa Fe, in La Fonda Hotel, and he was proud of the fact that his voice could carry great distances. He would use a megaphone, but never a microphone.

Please see Volume 1 for complete text.
Photo ©1997 by Joanne Rijmes