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The Barela-Reynolds House

HABS photo of Barela-Reynolds House
HABS NM-205
Calle Principal
Mesilla, New Mexico

The Barela-Reynolds house, located on the west side of the plaza, survives today as one of the oldest and most historically significant structures in Mesilla, with portions of the house dating to circa 1850. The house was originally two separate, adjacent properties, each a store fronting the Mesilla Plaza with attached residence to the rear. The north portion of the property was listed in 1857 as being in the possession of Mariano Yrissari, a merchant and rancher who ran a lucrative commissary business with nearby army posts. Yrissari sold his property in 1860 to Maria Rafaela Garcia Barela. Garcia Barela’s husband, Anastacio Barela, was engaged in freighting and merchandising, and also served as probate judge of Dona Ana County. Following his death in the mid 1860’s, his business interests were carried on by his son Mariano, who maintained a store in his mother’s building on the Mesilla Plaza while serving as Sheriff of Dona Ana County.

HABS drawing of Barela-Reynolds House
The south portion of the property was owned in 1854 by Pedro Peres. In 1857 Peres sold his property to two Anglo traders, Charles Hoppin and Nathan Appel. They in turn sold the property to a competitor, Alexander Duval, two years later. The Duval house and store were purchased in 1863 by the partnership of James Edgar Griggs and Joseph Reynolds. Griggs and Reynolds establish a flourishing mercantile business in southern New Mexico with stores in La Mesa, Las Cruces, and Silver City, in addition to Mesilla. In 1913 the younger Reynolds expanded the business by purchasing the adjacent Barela property, combining the two properties into their present configuration.

HABS photo of Barela-Reynolds House
The Barela-Reynolds House survives today as an outstanding example of a building type - the store with attached residence - once commonly found in small towns across New Mexico. Considered an excellent example of the Territorial Style, and possessing one of the few remaining metal-front facades in the state, the building was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1978. The Historic American Buildings Survey documented the structure in 2005. The Barela-Reynolds House serves as a prominent reminder of Mesilla's nineteenth-century heyday.