CAPULIN — Saint Joseph’s Church is now listed in the National Register of Historic Places, according to the Sangre de Cristo Historic Area.
Built in 1912-13 in Capulin, St. Joseph’s is associated with the Hispano families who emigrated from northern New Mexico to the San Luis Valley beginning in the 1840s.
The church was originally cared for by Jesuits as a mission of Our Lady of Guadalupe Church in Conejos.
It expanded under Theatine fathers in the 1930s, becoming an independent parish. When their first Father, Peter Ribas, arrived in Capulin, he advocated for local public schools, which were only operating two or three months a year due to limited finances.
Father Superior of the Theatines in Colorado offered to staff the public schools with Benedictine sisters, who lived at this church and taught until 1965.
The church's distinct Gothic Revival architecture includes rock-faced sandstone walls, original stained-glass windows, Gothic-arch windows and entrances, stone buttresses, and a square tower with shingled belfry.
Old St. Joseph’s Cemetery has many gravestones, dating back to 1861.