Feminilas Building, Costilla County
“Located near San Francisco Creek in the San Luis Valley, the Feminilas Building is the only known structure separately owned and operated by the women’s auxiliary of men’s labor organization, La Sociedad Protección Mutua de Trabajadores Unidos (SPMDTU).
The Feminilas provided aid to the afflicted and bereaved, like the Penitentes, a men’s group associated with the Catholic Church. Constructed around 1920, the small adobe building, complete with vigas and latillas popular in the region, is in poor condition. It suffers from natural weatherization and deterioration and is in danger of collapse.
Juanita Martinez, a resident of San Francisco told the Valley Courier, “I was the last member of the Feminilas, they were an auxiliary to the SPMDTU. They didn’t allow women to join [the men’s group] back in the 1920s. Women always supported, encouraged, and helped the men’s part and decided to form their own group.”
Preservation of the Feminilas Building would help preserve the unique lifeways, language, and culture of the San Luis Valley and the traditional contributions of Hispanic women. CPI will work with the property owners and local stakeholders to stabilize, rehabilitate, and highlight the role of women’s auxiliaries in Colorado history.”
For more information on Colorado’s Most Endangered Places and the Saving Places conference, visit www.coloradopreservation.org.
Learn more about the Feminilas Building here: