Sunday, June 19, 2022

Postcards from Chromo

Chromo School established in 1895

We’ve made the jaunt from Taos to Durango dozens of times over the past two decades. And since Peggy has been represented by Sorrel Sky Gallery in Durango for many years, she routinely delivers paintings, attends openings, and teaches workshops there. Durango is a nifty little college town with an eclectic restaurant scene and the best bread between Denver and San Francisco. So, any excuse to visit the place works for me. The bakery is fittingly named Bread.

Schoolhouse and horses

Roof and Clouds

This time we were attending the 20th Anniversary of the gallery. Kind of a big deal. Twenty years in the gallery business is no mean feat and Sorrel Sky has accomplished it with verve and style. The occasion was worthy of a gala celebration and gala it was. Beyond the wonderful art at the gallery owner Shanan Campbell had invited Ken Koshio and his three-man Japanese Taiko drumming troupe to kick off the fiesta. She told the audience that she had heard Ken’s group perform in Scottsdale and knew she had to invite them to headline her 20th anniversary fiesta. Their athletic, high-energy performance left us breathless, and the vibrating drums shook us to our boots. Learn about Ken Koshio at

Old meets new

Little house on the prairie

But this post isn’t just about Sorrel Sky or the 20th anniversary splash. It’s about the gorgeous four-hour drive from Taos to Durango and more specifically about the tiny settlement of Chromo that’s sits on Highway 84 three miles north of the New Mexico-Colorado border. The setting of the village that sits beneath Chromo Mountain is magical. It’s classic cowboy movie country that could easily masquerade as Wyoming or Montana.

The star of the show in Chromo is a one room schoolhouse set in a pasture with an outhouse to the rear and a teacherie to the right as we faced the school. Teacherie, I’m left to deduce, is an arcane term for a teacher’s residence. Think infirmary or menagerie but for a spinster schoolmarm braving the wild and wooly west.  The bottom photographs are of the teacherie. According to the plaque on the front of the schoolhouse the facility dates to 1895 and Chromo School is an Approved Standard School whatever that means. And what were the standards in 1895 anyway? Today it's a community center for a prosperous ranching community.

A gaggle of horses grazing on the school’s lawn stopped us in our tracks. It was a first. We’ve driven by the school at least forty times in 18 years and I’ve photographed it on a dozen of those occasions but nary a horse till now. Peggy was driving this time since it was her gig. As we came abreast of the glorious scene passed I yelled, “Stop! Make a U-turn. We have to photograph that.”

And it’s a good thing we did. The horses were gone the next day.


Blacks Crossing said...

Your blog came through loud and clear, as it should after all of your conversion work. It was a joy to see and read about Chromo as well as the 20th anniversary of the Sorrel Sky Gallery in Durango. Congratulations are certainly due Shanan Campbell and your bride, Peggy, for being part of the gallery's success. The photographs you made in Chromo are wonderful, particularly the school house with horses (good catch) and the Old Meets New. I can just hear the hum of computers therein. What a great sky backdrop as well! Thanks for blogging Steve. Hope you had some good "Bread" while in Durango.

Steve Immel said...

Thanks, Daryl. Chromo is a sweet spot and we were there at precisely the right time. As to bread from Bread we did partake at breakfast Saturday morning. I had a avocado toast. We brought back several day old baguettes, two of which we froze. We reconstituted them last night for a dinner party. We let them thaw, drenched them with cold tap water and reheated them at 375 for about 10 minutes. Three weeks after being baked at Bread they were better than any we found in New Mexico except Clafouti's in Santa Fe.