Let your Mouse take you for a Visual Walk in
Santa Fe Walking Tour Background
Thanks to William Mee for making this Virtual Tour Possible
Any website about Santa Fe, or any discussion on the Santa Fe experience for that matter, must talk about the past. Santa Fe is a literal living history. The minute you drive into town you can see this place is like no other. It is like stepping into another world, another life, and back to a simpler time. As you look around you know you have encountered the romance and allure of an ancient city.
To walk in the downtown area is to take a tour of the ages. Come to our fair city to take one of our famous "walking tours." Most of these services are represented in the lobbies of the hotels. Rates range from $10.00 to $25.00 per person for a very detailed tour. We have a lot of history, so you get every penny's worth.
Against the backdrop of sensational mountain ranges, the city sits like a pearl in an oyster, glistening and beckoning the traveler to partake. On the eastern horizon are the Sangre de Cristo Mountains, which is Spanish for "blood of Christ" and most aptly describes how the sunset reflects upon the mountains on a hazy evening. There is a special reverence, when one comes to realize that this is the tail-end of the Rocky Mountain chain, one of the most spectacular and well-known geological features of North America. Caused by a series of faults, these mountains have offered us some of the oldest geological samples on the continent. Throughout the exploration of the Western United States, miners have found gold, silver and other precious minerals here.
On the Western horizon are the Jemez Mountains, the product of massive volcanic activity. Just over their ridge top is a place called Valle Grande or "big valley." This 12 by 15 mile valley is actually a collapsed caldera of a volcano which exploded over 1.2 million years ago, with something like three hundred times the force of Mount St. Helens in Washington state. The volcano in the early 1980's that cause a global warming trend for a couple of years. The Valle Grande explosion left debris as far away as Louisiana and Kansas, it left a layer of ash one thousand feet thick for four hundred square miles, and it drained an inland sea up by Alamosa, Colorado. The ash compressed to form a rock substance called "tuft" that early Indians carved caves into; you can see miles and miles of these caves on a trip to Los Alamos, New Mexico, the secret atomic city some twenty-four miles northwest. The tuft was also compressed into pumice rocks that we use for roofing, gardening, stone washing our jeans with, and believe it or not it is an additive to many tooth pastes. Earlier I said that a sea was drained, and this may be hard to understand because of our dry climate. But seas played a major part in forming our geology. New Mexico was actually underwater three different times. In the Jemez Mountains you can find the fossils of small sea snails. In Pecos, to the east of us, you can find other seashells like small clams, and to the south of us at Carlsbad Caverns, you can actually stand on top of a ancient coral reef.
The full name for Santa Fe is "La Villa Real de Santa Fe de St. Francisco de Assis" which means "the royal city of the holy faith of St. Francis of Assisi." This long name is not unusual for a Spanish city since names were a tribute to both events and leaders, and were an opportunity to permanently commemorate the explorer's religious fervor. The name of Santa Fe is not that uncommon, and it exists as Santa Fe de Granada in Spain and Santa Fe de Bogota in Columbia, Santa Fe Springs in Florida, and Santa Fe in California.
But Santa Fe is also called the "City Different" and is very unique for the United States. It is the "Oldest Capitol City" in the United States. Being founded circa 1610. With recent evidence just found, it points to a 1607-1608 date when the actual settlement may have occurred. Santa Fe is also the highest state capital at 7,000 feet in elevation, and one of a handful of cities in the United States that is over 1,000 people in population and over 6,500 feet in elevation. Which means if you have just come from sea level, you are getting about one third less of oxygen than you are normally accustom to. So if your a little out of breathe, feel tired, or have a headache, don't worry --- it just the altitude and you just need to take it a little slower.
Santa Fe is the oldest capitol city, but it is not the oldest town in New Mexico, the oldest settlement founded by the Spanish is Mesilla down near Las Cruces, New Mexico and El Paso, Texas with a reported date of 1538. But this is still not the oldest continually lived-in town, Acoma Pueblo is. This Pueblo located some fifty miles west of Albuquerque, has been inhabited since 1075 A.D. The ancestors of these Pueblo Indians have lived in the immediate vicinity of this hill-top fortress for more than 1,000 years. The word "Pueblo" is Spanish for "town" or "town dweller" and was given to the Indians to describe the sedentary live style of farming. It has also come to describe the tan masonry building style we see all over town.
The "written history" of Santa Fe began on a cold winter's day in 1609 when Don Pedro Peralta, the Governor-General, stood at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains and surveyed the site for Spain's new capitol of Nuevo Mexico, La Villa Real de Santa Fe de San Francisco de Assis. Work began immediately on two landmarks that we see today, the Palace of the Governors and the Plaza. Tom Chavez, the Palace of the Governor's Historian, has also found evidence of some Spanish settlers settling the Santa Fe area in 1607 or 1608.
On our virtual reality tour we can go directly to the Old Santa Fe Plaza by visualizing this narrative. The Plaza is the oldest part of town and has always be sort of the center or focal point of town activities. After dinner walks around the plaza by families and friends have been a part of our history for over three hundred years. The Plaza is the heart of the downtown area. It originally extended some two blocks to the west and one block further east. On the southwest corner, the El Camino Real came in. This means "the royal road." It was actually a fifteen hundred mile trail that connected Santa Fe to the provincial capitol of Mexico City. It went through the most barren parts of the southwest and had huge climbs and descents. Even on a fast horse it could take a year to make a return trip. If you were trading goods, it could take up to three years to do a round trip. People here in Santa Fe, often didn't see anyone new for many months and sometimes years.
As we said before, Santa Fe was founded circa 1610 by Don Pedro de Peralta. Peralta was the first bureaucrat in our United States. He was one of the first civilians to be entrusted with the colonization of the new Spanish territories. The aim of Spain was settle many areas but to do so in harmony with the native people, so they might cooperate in agricultural and mining activities that could benefit the kingdom. Peralta was instructed specifically to "found a capitol that was centrally located to the existing pueblos, but not right next to one." Santa Fe fit this description. Although Native Americans lived here, they abandoned the Santa Fe site in the 1300's. Another pre-requisite was a year round water source, and a wood fuel source. These came from the mountains or as the Spanish called them the madres, or mothers; this was because the mountains provided all of the things they needed to survive. Don Pedro built the capitol structure just north of the plaza and named it the Place of the Governors. It is often called the oldest continually used public buildings in the United States. Some people in Puerto Rico might suggest that the fortress El Morro is the oldest government building, so we might have to clarify it as being the oldest non-military building. It is an example of the Spanish Colonial Style of architecture. Which means it is a one story, flat roofed, massive wall building with a covered porch or "portal" attached to it. When you get a chance to see the structure first hand, you can look between and above the vigas (large roof supporting timbers), and see some hollowed out logs called "canales" or roof drains. They help to drain water off of the roof. Under the portal, Pueblo Indians from around Santa Fe, sell their arts and crafts. Because of the tremendous demand to sell here and the limited supply of spaces, a lottery system was established to make it fair and rotate who sells when. The vendors are considered as part of the "living museum" of the present day Palace of the Governors Museum run by the state Office of Cultural Affairs. All of their wares are certified to be Indian-made as this is a condition of being a vendor. However, there are no guarantees as to the quality or purity of the gems or precious metals being sold like the turquoise and silver. Although prices are posted it is possible to barter some items, and to sometimes get a good deal whenever a vendor wants to leave. You can do some comparative shopping at other shops in the downtown area.
The written history of Northern New Mexico began some seventy-five years early than the founding date of Santa Fe, when in a 1529 hurricane five shipwrecked Spaniards came ashore on the Gulf of Mexico coastline of Texas. These Spaniards were led by explorer Nuñez Cabeza de Baca and his Moorish slave Estevan. In the years 1529 to 1536, they individually and collectively wandered through the entire southwest seeking a way back to Mexico City. They stumbled across this major river which is now called the Rio Grande. The Santa Fe River empties into the Rio Grande some twenty miles to the southwest of here. They followed this river to the coast and eventually reached Mexico City. When they got there the Viceroy asked them if they had seen any gold. They had seen a few trinkets, but had heard of an Indian legend of the seven cities of gold "Cíbola." Intrigued the Viceroy listened to Estevan who claimed he was told how vast the riches were, and was actually told how to get there. The Viceroy commissioned a party to investigate these stories and put a priest in charge since he felt the priest would be most honest.. This priest was Fray Marcos de Niza, who along with various Indians from Mexico, would accompany Estevan. Estevan, went in advance of the party on foot with several scouts. , and was to send information back to the slower main party. Since Estevan could not write, and the knowledge of treasure hunting had to be somewhat confidential, Fray Marcos and Estevan worked out a system whereby Estevan would send a larger cross back to the priest if he was getting closer to Cíbola. The main party reached the Rio Grande at the present day El Paso in 1537. Fray Marcos de Niza took his personal mission as being the conversion of the native peoples to Catholicism, and this occupied his time. Estevan must have began enjoying his newly found freedom that came with exploring, so he kept sending back larger and larger crosses with runners back to the main party. By the time Estevan reached Zuni Pueblo the cross was the size of a man. They never found the gold and Estevan was brutally killed by Zuni Indians. Apparently, the Zuni Indians tired of his demands for food and women. Estevan's death so shocked Fray Marcos that he and the main party fled all the way back to Mexico City. There de Niza told the Viceroy that he had indeed seen a city of gold.
Well, the six or seven pueblos of Zuni were all made of adobe or mud. How could mud look like gold ? People have theorized that the setting sun may have hit the walls of the pueblo and made them look golden. Similarly, to how we have described the naming of the Sangre de Cristos. And given the panic, the party was in. Perhaps they didn't venture any closer to see the glistening walls. But others feel the priest had a hidden motive for making up this story. Maybe he wanted to have a place in history, or a edict from the Viceroy to convert the new population. Perhaps he knew that greed would lock in the kingdom's desire for continued exploration, and a large commitment to expanding the Christian faith amongst the native population. He did however return with Coronado the following year.
The next explorer was Francisco Vasquez de Coronado in 1539-41. His journals are a fascinating look into the new land. For instance, he describes the Rio Grande as being 200 feet wide and four feet deep in the middle. It took him two whole days to secure ropes across the river and march all his men, livestock, and wagons across. After marching up the river, they turned east before Albuquerque and confronted the Pueblos of Zuni subduing the local people rather handily with their guns, armor and horses. Coronado asked the Zuni people where their gold was and they said it was farther away in a northeast direction.
At each pueblo he came to, they all told him that they golden cities could be found a little farther northeast. Eventually, in Kansas, Coronado realized he had been deceived. He turned back and was forced to winter at a Indian settlement near Bernalillo on the Rio Grande which is where the present day Coronado State Monument is.
Some 10 to 20,000 years ago the first peoples entered the southwest. These were prehistoric Indians that were attracted to the rich land of the Rio Grande valley and its smaller streams called tributaries. Although hunter-gatherers they adopted the idea of agriculture at a permanent site from their neighbors in Mexico at around 3,000 B.C. These people settled along the tributaries since they were a good source of water and were less likely to flood like the main river did each spring as the mountain snows melted.
The oldest names, those of the Pueblo Indians and their ancestors, usually mean the same as the present Spanish name "Big River." Some Indians call it "The River" and the Navajos call it "Female River" but all names seem to give it a reverence for its life-giving waters in the arid southwest. What we know today as Pueblo Indians started to physically divert the water from the Rio Grande by small rock and log obstructions which allowed their trenches to fill up and water fields.
The Rio Grande valley has been the heartland of New Mexico for the last four hundred years (New Mexico's Cuarto Centennial was celebrated in 1998). All major Spanish settlements in the new territory were founded along the river or its tributaries. Present day examples of these settlements are visible in Northern New Mexico. The "living museum" at El Rancho de Golodrinas (the ranch of the swans) is a southwestern Colonial Williamsburg, just southwest of Santa Fe at Cienega, a place named for its marshes which also flow into the Rio Grand. The first Spanish Explorer to see the river was Alfonso Àlvarez de Piñeda in 1519 when he was sailing in the Gulf of Mexico. He named it El Río de las Palmas, "the river of the palms" because of the many palm trees it had on its banks at the gulf. Further mention of the river wasn't until the shipwrecked Moorish slave Estevan and explorer Nuñez Cabeza de Baca in the years 1529-36 wandered through the southwest and stumbled across this major river.
Scattered along the Rio Grande and its tributaries are nineteen Indian "Pueblos" which are small towns of independent tribes (sovereign nations) related by common linguistic roots. Each Pueblo has a beautiful detailed history that predates all European influences. Each pueblo specializes in unique arts and crafts that are famous worldwide. Travelers need to visit a Pueblo during its feast day to see local dances and experience the hospitality and warmth of the native peoples.
Through the decades and centuries, the water in the Rio Grande has been the key to life in our arid southwest. Ranching and farming, grist mills and manufacturing have all been dependent on its waters. Today recreational opportunities like fishing and hunting, boating, camping, water skiing, and sailing occur along the river and its flood control dams.
Beginning with the El Camino Real ("The Royal Road"), the Rio Grande corridor has been a key to commerce and a link to the outside world. The major events of New Mexico's history happened along its banks. The Chihuahua Trail (along virtually the same alignment of the El Camino Real) was opened in 1824 to increase trading between the new nation of Mexico and the United States. The Texas-Santa Fe Expedition in 1841 saw a Texas Army invade Santa Fe from the area of Amarillo and be defeated at a battle near Anton Chico, New Mexico. Subsequently the prisoners were marched down the Rio Grande to El Paso. The "Army of the West" under U.S. General Stephen Watts Kearny crossed over from California and marched up the Rio Grande starting at Socorro until they captured Santa Fe unopposed in 1846. In 1861-62, a large Confederate Army force from Texas of over 3,000 men, under General Sibley, marched up the Rio Grande from El Paso winning battle after battle until they captured Santa Fe. On the outskirts of Santa Fe near Glorieta their supply train was attacked. Finding that a majority of their ammunition was decimated, they retreated back to El Paso. In the 1870's cattle drives occurred near the river to the railheads in Kansas. By the 1880's, railroad tracks where laid along the river. In the 1920's State Highway One had been completed along the whole length of the Rio Grande. When the Interstate Program was launched by President Eisenhower in 1954, a four lane highway was planned on the opposite of the river. It wasn't completed until 1988. Since 1970, a high speed "bullet train" has been proposed along the river corridor, but feasibility studies have found it to be too cost prohibitive.
There is much to New Mexico history, so we will concentrate on the history of Santa Fe as adapted from the official training text of the New Mexico Historical society as developed by the Museum of New Mexico Director and the State Historian for Santa Fe tour guides:
THE SANTA FE PLAZA (called the Plaza de Armas in the 17th century) has been focal point of commerce and social life in Santa Fe since the 1700's. It has also had its share of rebellions, attempted lynchings, deaths and shootings. El Camino Real (the Royal Road), is the oldest road of commerce on North American continent (from central Mexico). It entered the Plaza via San Francisco Street and continued southwest past the Guadalupe Church onto present-day Agua Fria Street. At the plaza the other famous road converges with the Camino Real. This is the Santa Fe Trail which was opened by the newly established nation of Mexico as a commercial route to replace its commerce with Spain. The trail ran from Missouri and was in existence from 1821-1880. Few setters came all the way into New Mexico and used the cutoffs to California and Colorado instead.
No pueblo exists under the Plaza as local legends have it. The Plaza was once much larger than its present size in the 17th and early 18th century, and extended east to present St. Francis Cathedral. In the 18th century, there were four entrances into Santa Fe; one on either side of Palace, another near the church and the fourth, to the west. Through modern soil tests we know the "cienega" or marsh was once one of most prominent features in the downtown area. Extending from the City's northeast quadrant as far west as Lincoln Avenue and on the north side by the Fort Marcy, east approximately to the Paseo de Peralta, and south to the Santa Fe River. The cienega was fed by series of springs which were said to have "gushed forth." Almost all of these drainage areas have been filled in over the years.
The "End of the Santa Fe Trail" Marker, was placed by Daughters of American Revolution on the southeast corner in 1911. It has an incorrect date of 1879 (1880 was the year of the arrival of railroad at Lamy) and the wrong rail line for Kansas; the monument was designed by Charles S. Rawles.
The Place of the Governors, the first capitol, was constructed in 1610, and is the oldest, continuously occupied public building in the United States. It has been the seat of six governments: the Spanish, Pueblo Indian, Mexican, American, Confederate, and Union. The full expanse of the 17th century Palace (Casa Real) is unknown. The Royal buildings (Casas Reales) included: the Casas de Cabildo, a military chapel, gun power magazine, armory, forge, granary, store, storerooms, warehouses, carriage houses, sheds and corrales, and at least four defensive towers (torreones) in addition to the Palace. When General Don Diego de Vargas reclaimed New Mexico for Spain in 1693 after the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, he found that Tano Indians had built a Pueblo over the Casas Reales. In 1694, the storeroom of De Vargas was robbed of eight coconut cups covered with silver, chile, soap, sweetmeats and "botas de ule" (rubber boots). Early documents tell of another robbery via a second story balcony window of Palace in 1720 (the first two story job in our historical records). The exact burial site of De Vargas is unknown (some say under the stop sign at Washington Street and Palace Avenue). In 1807, Zebulon Pike, the American explorer (Colorado's Pike's Peak), was imprisoned in jail at the west end of town for violating trade agreements. By 1810, the Palace was in a ruinous state--with no key for the front door; donkeys, pigs and other animals were running about unchecked. One of the first American Territorial Governors, William A. Pile found the Spanish documents in the Place to be dusty and with some mildew, so he authorized their disposal in 1869 as scrap paper for making fires. One wood vendor who determined that these documents were the official archives hauled them all off and preserved them until the next Governor. His grandson Eleuterio Barela (Luke) became the head of the records warehouse at the State Records Center and Archives where the documents were eventually housed. Territorial Governor Lew Wallace (1878-81) wrote part of his novel, Ben Hur, in the Place of the Governors. He said: "every calculation based on experience elsewhere, fails in New Mexico" in his reports to Washington, D.C. to explain his dismal performance. In 1910-13, Jesse Nussbaum, the first Museum of New Mexico director, created the "original" appearance of the Palace in the "Santa Fe style" we see today. He had to remove two to three feet of fill dirt from both interior and patio.
The obelisk (a monument characteristic of ancient Egypt with pyramidal apex) in the middle of the Plaza, is dedicated to soldiers who died in the battles of Glorieta and Valverde in the 1860's between Union and Confederate soldiers (Civil War). On the south side of the monument February is misspelled "February." In 1880, the city's newspaper, The New Mexican wrote that it was the only monument in U.S. upon which is chiseled the word "Rebel" to describe the Confederate soldiers. It is a controversial monument with the wordings of the times (it was made National Historic Landmark in 1961); which Santa Fe has argued over 124 years. The word "savage" was chiseled off on August 7, 1973, by young man with blonde hair tied in a ponytail and wearing a hard hat. To which Governor Tafoya of Santa Clara Pueblo said, "History should not be changed to fit the times" (in other words, both Indians and whites committed savage acts in frontier times). A story about it in Time Magazine, suggested that an iron fig leaf be installed over the offending word. All Santa Fe property surveys in the original land grant are tied to this monument as their ground zero point.
The Plaza buildings are remarkable. First there is La Castrene (Cah-strehn-say) meaning a military chapel, named Our Lady of Light. It is one of the finest 18th century examples of a New Mexico church. It once stood where a plaque on the wall between the Simply Santa Fe Store and mall to west today are. It was built by Governor Francisco Marin del Valle in 1760 (as indicated by the Urrutia map). The Castrense was sold by Bishop Jean Baptiste Lamy and torn down in 1858. Its magnificent stone reredos (rae-dahs; Oxford Dict. for altar screen) of la Castrene, carved from white stone from Jacona area north of Santa Fe, are now in the Cristo Rey Church on upper Canyon Road.
The Spiegelberg I building (Simply Santa Fe Store) was built in 1881 as a store. The Spiegelbergs were early merchants of the Santa Fe Trail. The Spiegelberg II store was built in 1882 (Ray Dewey store and Salamander store), at a cost of $75,000.00 which was a lot of money for the times. The house built by Willi Spiegelberg stands today (and is on the National Register) at the southwest corner of Palace Avenue and Paseo de Peralta. The Catron Building was built in 1890. The portals existed in the early 19th century but were removed and were later added in a 20th century restoration.
The house at 109 East Palace, Trujillo Plaza, was the first office of the top secret "Manhattan Project" in the 1940's. People were told to report to this mysterious address and were later whisked away to the secret atomic city of Los Alamos some thirty miles north of here. Across the street was supposedly a jail that Billy the Kid was once held in before his final shooting rampage in Lincoln County. But it is more likely the site was closer to the present day El Dorado Hotel. The Prince Plaza was purchased in 1879 from Carmen Benevides de Roubidoux, widow of Antonio Roubidoux, trader and interpreter for Gen. Stephen Watts Kearny (Carnee) in 1846.
The present site of the Sena Plaza was once the property granted in 1693 to Spanish Army Captain Arias de Quioros by General Don Diego de Vargas as reward for his service in the reconquest of 1692. Quiros was one of the most "sued" men in early 18th century Santa Fe. In 1864, under Don Jose Sena's inherited ownership, placita to west and small adobe house which increased with Don Jose's family to a hacienda of thirty-three rooms. This gives it its characteristically long portal that the family added onto each year as the family grew. Their is even a ballroom on the second floor to the west, that was reached by an outside stairway (as seen today). After the Territorial Capital building burned in 1892, it was a meeting place for legislative assembly for a time.
ST. FRANCIS CATHEDRAL and Conquistadora Chapel (the north exterior was built in 1870-1886 by Bishop Jean Baptiste Lamy (or L'aimes), lst Bishop (1850) and Archbishop of New Mexico (and Arizona in1875), the Lamy statue was completed in 1915. First church on this site was in 1610-28; 2nd (1628-1680); 3rd (1694); 4th (1717-1806); 5th (1808-1884); the 6th church is the present church. The massive stone walls encapsulated the old mud Parroquia (parish) church (built 1714-1717) while services were still performed there. The new stone walls were built out twenty feet from the old Parroquia walls. Construction was halted between 1873-79 when Lamy ran out of money, so the same workmen built Loretto Chapel during this time to be a temporary church while the La Parroquia was demolished and its dirt used to resurface the Alameda Street by the Santa Fe River after a flood in 1884.
The large tower clock of arroquia in the center was designed and built in 1869 in 1869 by Paul Garnier (Garn-yea) of Paris, France, watch and clock maker for French navy and railway. There are fifty-six pieces by him in the Louvers (Loove, Paris) where a gallery is named for him. The original plans called for a "good church clock" (donated by Reverend Peter Equillon, Vicar General and costing $750.00 plus $50 installation; 62 inches high) was to be installed on the front of the stone church but never was accomplished. The original bronze clock face is now in the Palace of the Governors collection.
The first cornerstone of the present Cathedral was laid in 1869; ultimately three cornerstones had to be laid because two were stolen (strangely enough, this also happened with the stone federal penitentiary which had to be guarded by the U.S. Army until it could be completed). Construction continued into early 20th century, with the apse (altar area) not completed until 1876. It was built by imported and local stonemasons, descendants of whom still live in Santa Fe today (Italian - Simoni's and French - Rougemont's). The granite stone was brought from Waldo and Lamy. The pink stone over front entrance comes from north of Santa Fe at Arroyo Piedra. The architecture is a Romanesque tetra-grammation within a triangle, Hebrew characters within the Christian symbol (Triangle) denoting the Holy Trinity (Characters denote Yahweh, Hebrew for God) over front doors tetra-grammation found in northern European Romanesque architecture, not placed over front entrance in honor of Jewish merchants of SF, though they contributed money to bldg. and were friends of Lamy. Note the differing flat towers (without the 85 foot tall spires Lamy had envisioned but died before he could complete them). A tennis ball was stuck in between the stones by Jerry Gallegos as a youth in 1958 and was removed in 1998 but left a discoloration.
The architects were all Frenchmen: begun by Antonine & Projectus (Latin for his French given name Prest) Houly (Moo-lee): facade redesigned by Francois (Franswah) Mallet (Maa-yea), later murdered in La Fonda by the nephew of Bishop Lamy. The main doors were designed and built in 1986 by Donna Quasdorff of Santa Fe; they depict various epochs in New Mexico Church history (including the building of the stone church around an adobe or mud church). The interior contains a burial crypt under the floor (to the south of center) near altar area, where Archbishop Lamy is buried.
The chapel names were: 1806 - St. Joseph; 1907 - St. Anthony; 1976 Good Shepherd. Major reconstruction was completed in 1967 under Archbishop James Peter Davis, additional reconstruction occurred in 1976 and 1986 (the Centennial of Cathedral, when the New Mexican reredos were built).
The original organ is a Hasting Company tracker with an non-electronic touch. It was purchased for $2,000 in 1894. The organ was rebuilt and electrified sometime before 1976 by Robert Fortune Sanchez, Archbishop (the first native born Archbishop elected in 1974). The present Archbishop is Michael Sheehan. Author Medina credits the building of a high altar and sacristy to other Archbishops. The capilla (Chapel) is described by Dominquez in 1776 when choir loft over doorway noted, as well as two windows on the Epistle (east) side of chapel also noted no reredos (altar screen), instead large niche with small niches on either side--all painted red with yellow moldings. In 1805, the altar and sanctuary were renovated by Antonio Jose Ortiz. The altar screen was imported from Mexico between 1776 (Dominquez) and 1797 when described inventory is a standard late 18th century small-scale altar screen of real gold leaf but were over painted with white enamel in 19th century. The current pink, green and gold were painted in the 20th century. They are visible today, but only the northern half of the capilla, with the southern portion being removed by Archbishop Lamy when Parroquyia demolished (1884). The statue of our Lady of the Rosary, Nuestra Senora de La Conquistadora, was first identified from an inventory dated Oct 18, 1686. It was returned to Santa Fe by De Vargas in 1693 during the "reconquest," hence the name. La Conquistadora is probably the image of the Virgin described in inventory of 1625 mission supply train that arrived with Alonso de Benavides. It was stolen for a time in the 1970's.
The LA FONDA (Literally "The Inn" at the end of the Santa Fe Trail-its slogan) is a famous Santa Fe landmark. It has existed on the southeast corner of the Plaza since early 19th century (fonda is a Spanish word meaning inn). It is probably the 1822 property formerly owned by Pino & Ortiz families (ricos-rich people). It was the rendezvous of trappers, traders, pioneers, merchants, solders and politicians; all of whom loved gambling (24x50 hall facing patio). It was a symbol of the end of the Santa Fe Trail from Independence, Missouri, during 1822-80 (see bronze plaque on building across the west side of the street).
The La Fonda was known as the United States Hotel at time of American occupation (1846-48); and was later known as the Exchange Hotel until 1919. The La Fonda was the scene of several murders: in 1867 Capt. W. L. Rynerson, territorial representative from Dona Ana county shot Chief Justice John P. Slough (his family were military confidants of Abraham Lincoln, and he served as a pall bearer at Lincoln's funeral); Rynerson was acquitted on a plea of self-defense. The nephew of Bishop Lamy murdered the Cathedral architect Francois Mallet in 1879.
By 1880, the hotel was run down. Until then, it was in its prime (the building of the Palace Hotel in Cerrillos, New Mexico probably contributed to its demise; U.S. Grant and Thomas Edison were on its guest register till it mysteriously burned in 1977). Local newspapers stated: "The Exchange corner has always been a popular spot for people to gather, but now that locality is infested with an order that smells-oh, how it does smell, and the Exchange isn't responsible for it either." Apparently, raw sewage ran down Rio Chiquilto (Water St.) behind hotel until 1920's.
Burning of "long abandoned hotel on southeast corner of Plaza in 1913" reported in the New Mexican newspaper. "Such things as the old Fonda belong to the people. Irrespective of who may own the site and built." In 1919, the original building was demolished by a World War I tank (Mud Puppy) for a bond rally (at $100.00 a bash). The building has been a meat market, rooming house (Shelby Street side and sign in one photo at the N.M. State Records Center reads Santa Fe Garage. In 1926, it was purchased by the Santa Fe Railroad and operated by Fred Harvey chain until 1960's when purchased by Sam Ballen Corporation. The hotel was originally one story, then two stories. By 1927 it was two stories in front and three in the back. This was increased to five stories in 1929 by Meem and McCormick. The interior was done by Mary Elizabeth Jane Colter of the Fred Harvey Hotel system. The parking lot renovation was a design winning historical style. In the 1990's archaeologists sifted through the site and found numerous artifacts.
FAMOUS PEOPLE FROM GUEST REGISTER: Pick-faced Ned of Bitter Roots (Montana) Buffalo Bill of South Pass City Wyo. Old Bill (Hickox) of Nevada, guest of Guy Faux, Col John C. Fremont Pathfinder, Gen. & Mrs. Ulysses S. Grant & President and Mrs. Rutherford B. Hayes entertained there Billy the Kid is said to have washed dishes in kitchen and played piano in bar. In 1883 J. Alexander Tyler (Federal Inspector of Surveys son of former US. President John Tyler died in Exchange Hotel. Marriages, funerals and suicides occurred. Salvador Dali, Irvin S. Cobb, Vincent Astor, Elliott Roosevelt Lord and Lady Halifax, Prince Peter of Greece and Lily Pons have been guests; Zsa Zsa Gabor and Conrad Hilton spent their honeymoon here.
OUR LADY OF LIGHT (LORETTO) CHAPEL - EXTERIOR - was founded for the Sisters of Loretto (the first American order of nuns dedicated to teaching). They were brought to Santa Fe from Nerinx (Nay-rinks), Kentucky in 1852 by Bishop Jean Baptiste Lamy to open a school for girls. The sisters remained until 1968.
The chapel was built between 1873 and 1878 by the same laborers as the St. Francis Cathedral. During a time construction was halted for the lack of money. Said to have been designed after Santinte (San) Capelle (Shapell) in Paris, France first Gothic Revival Building west of the Mississippi River (the cost was $30,000.00). Our Lady of Lourdes, the statue on top, measures 9.84 feet tall and was place there in 1887. The granite stone was hauled on wagons from a quarry in Lamy (Cerro Colorado) to Santa Fe , some 14 miles north. The stained glass windows are from Clermont-Ferrant, France.
Interior - Famous for spiral staircase which makes two 360 degree turns with no center support. The builder of the staircase is unknown (the first account was in 1881). It is called the "miraculous staircase" and is said to have been built by a carpenter like Jesus was.
The baluster (hand railing) was built by August Hesch in the early 1880's in trade for a tuition of five dollars for the girls Academy. The original harmonium (reed organ) made in 1867 in Paris, France, by Francois (Franswah) Debain (Debanh) was brought to Santa Fe (unknown date). The restored instrument is played today for weddings, religious and other services (on loan courtesy of Archbishop Robert F. Sanchez). The Chapel was de-consecrated in 1968. It is today owned and operated by Inn at Loretto.
CHAPEL OF SAN MIGUEL - BARRIO DE ANALCO-EXTERIOR - Constructed 1626-28 by Fray Alonso de Benavides (no portion of this building is visible today). In 1628-30, the office of Parroquia was transferred to San Miguel. San Miguel was razed and sacraments moved into a room in Casas Reales. De Vargas camped in fields of San Miguel, facing the single, fortified entrance of the Pueblo constructed by Indians during the Revolt. Because pueblo was shaded morning and afternoon, and because of the mists produced by the cienega, Vargas suggested moving the villa to the south side of the river. The Church was rebuilt in 1710 by order of Gov. Marques de la Penuela. Although considerably remodeled, it is the Oldest Church in Santa Fe. The bell that once hung in the tower was NOT fabricated in 1356 but casting is 1856 by Francisco Lujan (itinerant bell-caster). The defects in sand casting made the date appear to be 1356 which has led to confusion. Eyewitnesses still alive in 1914 left exact accounts of installation. In 1859, Bishop Lamy brought Christian Brothers to Santa Fe to open boy's school and college. Adjacent building and property bought by State of New Mexico for capitol expansion. INTERIOR - The altar screen of San Miguel dated 1798 attributed to Laguna santero who also did altar screens at Laguna and Acoma Pueblos incorporates an oil painting attributed to Bernardo Miera y Pacheco of St Michaels's College. Small sculpture of St. Michael in central niche brought to New Mexico from Mexico in 1709. It was carried around New Mexico to raise money for the rebuilding of San Miguel church.
BARRIO DE ANALCO: "Barrio" meaning district (we now say neighborhood); "de" means of; and "analco" a Nahuatl Indian word meaning "the other side of the water." This is the oldest settlement of European origin in Santa Fe except for the Plaza, therefore, the oldest in the United States. Originally settled in 1600's by Tlaxcalan Indian servants from Mexico who came with Franciscan missionaries and Spanish officers. The oldest house is on the P.E.R.A. Building side (identified by the sign: "La Casa Vieja"). Many of the houses along East De Vargas Street are plaqued by the N.M. Historical Society. The Gregorio Crespin house at 132 East De Vargas Street, was owned by Crespin in 1747, who sold it to Bartolome Marques for fifty pesos (tree-ring dates beams in the house to 1720-50). The land was originally part of tract granted by General De Vargas to Juan de Leon Brito, Tlaxcalan Indian who took part in reconquest of 1693. The Roque Tudesqui house (Tudesqui- an Italian name) at 129-135 East De Vargas Street. The building date is unknown; it was however in existence in 1841. It's adobe walls are three feet thick, a purple wisteria blooms in spring, with a four inch vine at least 85 yrs old (the vine froze back in 1996 and did not flower in 1999).
CAPITOL COMPLEX BUILDINGS: Capitol built in 1966 at a cost of five million dollars (Territorial style). The present "Roundhouse" is the fifth Building to house the capitol. 1). Palace of Governors 2). Double dome (1886-92) which mysteriously burned in 1891 3). Single dome (1892-1953) 4). Sloped towers (completed 1953). The N.M. Supreme Court building was built in 1938 as a territorial style. Building; Public Employees Retirement Association (PERA)Building; built in 1967 (territorial style) and funded by state and local government employee pension funds.
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