La Capillita Site #22


This is the earliest religious structure on this land. Erected in about 1915 by los Fuerteños, La Capillita was served by a Carmelite father who rode out from Holy Family Parish once a month or so. The communicants gathered in front of this tiny structure under the shade of mesquite trees; the skeleton of one of the original trees still stands. By 1920 the new church of San Ángel de la Guarda had been constructed on the site on which San Pedro Chapel now stands, and La Capillita fell into disuse. For a number of years local women decorated it as a shrine, but eventually the roof fell in, the elements took over and La Capillita became a pile of rubble.

In 1997 plans were realized to excavate and rebuild La Capillita. Many individuals and organizations contributed money and labor to this project. An archeological exploration unveiled the original walls, the mud adobe foundation, and the packed dirt floor. A small photograph which appeared in a 1939 publication celebrating the 25th anniversary of Holy Family Parish served as a model. Oral histories of some Fuerteños who remember the building from their childhoods added more details. This reconstruction is as historically accurate as possible and serves as a visual link to an earlier time in El Fuerte.