The Beginning

History of Los Lunas

Los Lunas has a rich and colorful history. Located on the San Clemente Grant, it was given to Don Felix Candelaria in 1716, two years after his mother petitioned for the land. Shortly after Don Candelaria received the grant, the Luna family made claim to the grant and then took possession.

Antonio Jose Luna was born in 1808 and is sometimes referred to as the father of Los Lunas. He became a civic and political leader and married Isabella Baca, daughter of a prominent family from Belen, a community ten miles south of Los Lunas.

Antonio and Isabella's son, Salomon, married Adelaida Otero, granddaughter of Antonio Jose Otero of Valencia. This formed a union of two powerful and rich Republican families who controlled and dominated the future of Valencia County for almost a century.

Through the influence of the Luna family, the county seat moved from Tome to Los Lunas in 1876. When the Santa Fe Railroad line arrived in Los Lunas, the railroad depot was built which facilitated the movement of livestock, hay, supplies and general merchandise. The depot was also used for telegraph communications as well as passenger and baggage service.

A Growing Village

In 1928, the Village of Los Lunas incorporated with Antonio J. Archuleta as the first mayor. Electricity arrived in the Los Lunas area in the early 1930's. Water and sewer facilities came to the village in the late 1930's when the population was listed as 513.

For many years, Los Lunas Village Hall was located in the building which is now the public library. In the mid-1990s, the village administration and police department moved into a new building which has enough room to accommodate these departments plus the Los Lunas Village Council Chambers.

Valencia County was one of the seven counties comprising New Mexico prior to 1850. The county boundaries of the state have been through no less than a dozen changes since New Mexico became part of the United States. Valencia County once stretched from Texas to California. The most recent change in Valencia County was in 1981 when Cibola County was created from the western half of Valencia County.

The Civil War

During the Civil War, Confederate and Union forces fought a skirmish at Peralta, an unincorporated community north of Los Lunas. After the April 15, 1862 event, the Confederate Army retreated southward. Another light skirmish was fought near La Joya, south of Belen, in that same period.

Rio Abajo Heritage, published by the Valencia County Historical Society.