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Our Lady of Sorrows Parish Hall

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Desmarais House
c. 1835–1849. 1810 E. Plaza St.
  • (Photograph by Regina N. Emmer)

The Desmarais House is one of the only surviving structures from the Mexican and Territorial periods on the Old Town Plaza.

The house is named for Michel Desmarais, a French-Canadian trapper for the Hudson Bay Company who arrived in Las Vegas from Quebec in 1837 and purchased the existing structure in 1849. The one-story adobe building follows the Spanish Colonial planning model of houses grouped together around an enclosed central plaza. Originally, a wooden portico (portal) fronted the building, mediating between exterior public and interior private spaces. Altered in the 1930s by the addition of a curvilinear parapet, corner pylons with spiral caps, and a cement stucco finish, the house retains the characteristic pedimented window frames of the Territorial Style, while its long, low facade still conveys a sense of the plaza’s original form.

Requests to visit the Desmarais House should be directed to Our Lady of Sorrows Parish Hall, the building’s current occupant.


McCulloch, Frank Eliot. “Family Portrait: Deluvina Vigil y Montes de Santa Ana DesMarais (1830-1894).” July 1950. 

Threinen, Ellen. Architecture and Preservation in Las Vegas: A Study of Six Districts. Las Vegas: Design Review Board, City of Las Vegas, New Mexico, 1977.

Wilson, Chris. The Plazas of New Mexico. San Antonio, TX: Trinity University Press, 2011.

Writing Credits

Regina N. Emmer
Christopher C. Mead
Regina N. Emmer



  • 1836

  • 1930

    Curving parapet added.
  • 1974

    Listed on the National Register of Historic Places as a contributing building in the Las Vegas Plaza Historic District

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Regina N. Emmer, "Our Lady of Sorrows Parish Hall", [Las Vegas, New Mexico], SAH Archipedia, eds. Gabrielle Esperdy and Karen Kingsley, Charlottesville: UVaP, 2012—,

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