The Mabel Dodge Luhan House
240 Morada Lane
Taos, New Mexico
And how I have loved it, this house built on different levels, a room or two at a time. – from Winter in Taos, by Mabel Dodge Luhan
From her first glimpse of Taos in 1916 until her death in 1962, the wealthy heiress, Mabel Dodge Luhan, claimed it as home. With her fourth husband, Tony Luhan, a Taos Pueblo Indian, she added on to an original 200-year-old adobe structure that bordered pueblo land, to create a home and a retreat for guests. The list of guests beckoned by the “difficult” and complicated Mabel Dodge Luhan is a long one, including D. H. and Frieda Lawrence, Ansel Adams, Mary Austin, Willa Cather, Georgia O’Keefe, Robinson Jeffers, Thomas Wolfe, Thornton Wilder, and others. Taos would never be the same.
Today, The Mabel Dodge Luhan House is open to travelers. While staying in one of the rooms named for Mabel, Tony, and their guests, you can imagine the life of the house while Luhan presided. While Taos has changed since the 1920s and 1930s, The Mabel Dodge Luhan House remains a sanctuary. From the moment you walk through the gates into the “flagstone placita,” her world opens before you. Cottonwood, beech, and elm trees shade the “placita,” house, and birdhouse built for her beloved pigeons, “reared high up on thick, long posts.” There is breakfast in the dining room, with its portraits of Mabel and Tony, and corners for conversation and reading in the “big room.” Outside, the acqueia madre, or mother ditch, runs through the property on the west, while views move across pueblo lands to the Sangre de Cristo Mountains on the east side of the house. You can wander into town on a path through the park and visit Luhan’s modest gravesite in the Kit Carson Cemetery.
The Mabel Dodge Luhan House website offers visitor information, a brief biography of Mabel Dodge Luhan, a self-guided tour of house and grounds, and a list of upcoming workshops. If you can’t stay at Mabel’s house, like us on a recent visit, drop by – you’ll be rewarded literarily and historically.
The house grew slowly and it stretches on and on. At one end it piles up, for over the Big Room there is the bedroom where Tony sleeps, next to my room, and a big sleeping porch off of it; and from this room one climbs a steep little stairway up into a kind of lookout room, made of helioglass set in wooden columns on all four sides, where one has the views of all the valley, down to the village and beyond it to the horizon, up to the Pueblo and the Sacred Mountain, north to Frieda’s ranch on the side of Lobo Mountain, and the Colorado mountains beyond it. — from Winter in Taos, by Mabel Dodge Luhan