Millicent Rogers, the granddaughter of Standard Oil founder, Henry Huttleston Rogers was a socialite, fashion icon and designer’s Muse, an Art collector, jewelry designer and taste-maker extraordinaire.
Born and raised on the East Coast, Millicent spent almost two decades traveling between Europe and the States, with lengthy periods abroad which informed her impeccable taste and style. Taos and the American West inspired her to take new risks and further push the boundaries of Fashion and Design, and all of this exploration in the realm of aesthetics is evident in her eclectic Taos home.
Taos also influenced her political decisions; she became an activist for Native American Rights and was a central force in Taos Pueblo becoming a World Heritage Site. A lifetime advocate for Human Rights, although it is little known, while living in Austria, she also indirectly through deeds and actions, saved the lives of many Jews fleeing Hitler’s Reich.
In 1947, Rogers had retreated to Taos, perhaps somehow knowing she had less than a decade of her life left, immersed herself in the Native Culture and slowed herself and her life down. This is where she created her last but most loved home; the incredible Hacienda she named Turtle Walk.
While living here, she purchased more than 2,000 Native artifacts, and in 1951, Rogers and several prominent friends (including Taos based writer Frank Waters), hired lawyers and visited Washington, D.C. to promote the issue of Indian Rights. She successfully lobbied for Native American Art to be classified as Historic, and therefore protected.
When Millicent died in January of 1953, the property passed onto her heirs. Her three sons (Peter Salm, Arturo and Paul Peralta – Ramos) cared for it and set up a Foundation and Museum in their mother’s name, but it was her middle child Arturo Peralta – Ramos and his wife Jackie, who occupied it during the summer months and kept the spirit of the home alive.
Both Arturo and Jackie passed away over the last year while living at Turtle Walk. They had moved to be here full time (from New York) only a couple of years prior. They loved the house and Jackie who had a strong sense of design herself, has left her imprint on it as well.
Arturo spent much of his time at home in his office/study, except for when he drove his ancient station wagon (at high-speed) to the Ranchos Trading Post at noon for his ritual luncheon. He ate more or less the same thing every day; a steak pounded to a thin sliver, accompanied by Pasta Alfredo. No vegetables ever. He hated them. A head of chopped garlic in olive oil was soaked up by good sour dough bread. Red wine always and many cigarettes.
I visited the house several times over the past few years. Usually I went with other friends just to chat with Arturo in his study, upstairs in the little addition to the side of the main house. There was a bedroom attached where he could nap, but mostly he sat at his desk with his computer and piles of mysterious paperwork. We talked about lots of stuff, history, politics, espionage and people.
The space was cluttered with books, objects and curios collected over the years. Ashtrays overflowed with half smoked cigarettes and cigars – he continued to smoke even while hooked up to highly flammable oxygen tanks at the end of his life – it was his den; a place he could remove himself to, and simply indulge himself in his books and memories when the world became too much.
Turtle Walk, is a pastoral 71-acre estate in the fertile Taos Valley. The property backs up onto Pueblo Land and offers stunning views of Taos Mountain along with the rare proximity to pristine Tiwa land. The traditional adobe main residence was built around a courtyard with deep portals and an ancient weeping willow tree. The gracious, well-proportioned rooms, evoke an elegant past; an era of genteel and sophisticated pursuits.
Striking details including the vigas, hand-painted by Dorothy Brett and a Carrara marble tub fed by a waterfall, make this home absolutely unique.
A swimming pool, guest cottage, caretaker’s house, stables and paddocks, various outbuildings similar to these cottage sheds that are dotted along the land, along with water rights for approximately 22 acres, and two wells, also make this a highly desirable and very Chic Shack indeed!
To learn more about Millicent Rogers and her life here in Taos, do click on the links I’ve added below this post. Cherie Burns, authored the very informative Searching For Beauty – The Life Of Millicent Rogers and I have included the Millicent Rogers Museum link as well.
This gorgeous property would make a perfect refuge or retreat, for someone seeking a quiet sanctuary faraway from the everyday.
For more information about Turtle Walk and many more stunning images of the property, please visit Sotheby’s International Realty’s post linked below.
All images thanks to Sotheby’s International Realty.
Photographs by Daniel Nadelbach and Marshall Elias.