Like many of the neighboring towns scattered throughout the San Luis Valley, the history of Manassa holds the legacy of a truly American spirit.
Before its official founding and incorporation in the late 1800s, Manassa was home to a slew of Spanish migrants who, following the colonization of northern New Mexico, traveled further north into the San Luis Valley. With the headwaters of the Rio Grande draining through the high-mountain desert, the landscape proved welcoming to crops like potatoes and barley, trained to thrive in harsh high-altitude conditions
The mastery of the land by the Spanish settlers proved beneficial to Mormon pioneers who, gathering and expanding West on religious grounds, first sought refuge in the San Luis Valley in the late 1800s. Finding themselves in the difficult territory, the Mormon pioneers relied heavily on the agricultural knowledge of the Spaniards in order to survive the extreme temperatures that could range from the negatives in winter to the high nineties in summer.
That early survival instinct of Manassa’s first families paved the way for a thriving community upon its founding in 1851. Even the name Manassa—an ancient tribe from Biblical Israel—conjures up feelings of collaboration and harmonizing with the elements.
Today, Manassa has spread its disciplined past to influence its current generations which have produced world movers-and-shakers from senators to sportsman. Manassa still enchants visitors today with its arid beauty and captivating sense of the past.