Sunday, June 28, 2009

Montezuma, New Mexico

Now the name of that town isn't on every tour guide's map. But, it should be. In Montezuma is the Montezuma Castle. It started life as a hotel built by the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe railroad. It was built in 1882. It is 90,000 sq ft. It opened in 1886. Because there were hot springs adjacent to the hotel, the feeling was that east-west travelers would seek it out as a popular destination. Some did, such as Ulysses S. Grant, Teddy Roosevelt, Jesse James and even Emperor Hirohito of Japan. It closed in 1903. It went through many other owners until in 1981 industrialist and philanthropist Armand Hammer purchased the empty structure for the United World College.
The mission of the UWC is to make education a force to unite people, nations and cultures for peace and a sustainable future. A lofty goal. There are now twelve UWC schools around the world in Bosnia-Herzegovina, Canada, Costa Rica, Hong Kong, India, Italy, Norway, Singapore, Swaziland, the United States, Venezuela and Wales.

Today, Nelson Mandela and HM Queen Noor of Jordan lead the UWC movement. The high school students are selected by their own countries and the education is free to the student. Many of the graduates have become illustrious leaders of their respective countries and or successful business leaders. You can read more about the UWC movement at

One of the speakers who came to the college was Chihuly. He was so impressed with the program, the students and the staff that he wanted to do something for them. So he made two magnificent chandeliers for the dining hall. Wow, they are so exquisitely beautiful. This was my first time to see a Chihuly creation in person. I was awed.

The site of this place, watching the students and feeling "the bones" of the building made me wish to be sixteen years old and heading to school there. What an awesome gift for each of these students and ultimately an awesome gift to our World.
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maria luz said...

Being an art and antique glass freak, I loved this post. I have yet to see a "real live" Chihuly and can only dream of how beautiful his work must be in person.

I still consider a trip to his studios in Washington would be truly a trek to a sacred Mecca. Glass is one of my true passions and I have considered that once in Mexico I will take up lampwork to make beads for my jewelry and rosary designs.

Good for Armand Hammer! We need about a dozen more of those schools.

Thanks Babs.

Unknown said...

When your whirlwind social life slows down abit after all the BBQ's and such, I hope you post
pics of you at Tony Mandola's from your last trip. If it's not too much to ask. Happy 4th! said...

I saw a Chihuly retrospective in Charlotte with some of his incredible chandeliers and saw a video of his work in Venice at the Tacoma Glass Museum. As you drive through Seattle take the time to go to the Glass is worth the stop. Awesome that he left this as a gift. Amazing artist and lucky us to view the real stuff.