Nason House

1070 University Ave., Las Cruces, NM  88003  (just east of the NMSU Center for the Arts). 

The Nason House is the home of NMSU’s Center for Latin American and Border Studies (CLABS).  The mission of the Center is to promote teaching, research and community outreach on issues concerning Latin America and the border region.


In 1918, Nason House was built for the President of the New Mexico College of Agriculture and Mechanic Arts. During its 61 years (1919-1980) as a residence, it housed nine families. In 1980, a new residence for the University’s presidents was completed east of the main campus near the University Golf Course.

Between 1981 and 1983, the former residence was renovated to accommodate the Center for Latin American and Border Studies.

The House is set on a concrete foundation and has a single story on the south side and double story on the north. The red brick ground floor supports a framed upper story, covered by a low, hipped asphalt roof with broad, overhanging eaves. The band of three windows on the ground floor at the front of the house has horseshoe arches, probably not part of the original design. An extension of the front of the house toward the west has resulted in a fourth front window, flush with the original three, but not embellished with an arch.

Prairie School Architectural features are seen in the horizontal emphasis of the design – created by the variation in building materials (lower floor brick relating to the earth, and upper floor a lighter frame construction), the shape and overhang of the roof, and the banded windows – the series of windows (on both lower and upper floors) only slightly separated by narrow vertical spaces.

During the tenure of its next to last occupant, Dr. Roger Corbett, the “bombing” by resident grackles (large, black, longtailed birds) in the numerous old shade trees surrounding the house, promoted the University President to obtain a permit to shoot the “pesky birds.”

During the tenure of its last occupant, Dr. Gerald Thomas, a disgruntled student threw a “Molotov cocktail” on the roof of the sunroom on the south side of the building. No one was hurt and no serious damage was done, but the student was suspended.

In 1987, the building was dedicated to Willoughby Nason, an NMSU graduate student who died in 1979, prior to completion of a master’s degree thesis on Mexican Revolutionary History. Inside the house is a reading room containing a vast collection of books and artifacts concerning Latin America, collected by Willoughby Nason’s father, Charles.