Last week I went with my husband to a meeting in Santa Fe, New Mexico. I have driven through the state on the way to the West coast many times but I have never been able to go to Santa Fe and never been able to spend the night. I found it to be so very historic and beautiful so I hope that you will want to learn a little about Santa Fe, New Mexico. It is currently celebrating its 400th anniversary as a capital city. At the end of my “travelogue” I will show you some beautiful Southwest rooms.
First, here is some history from Wikipedia:
“The city of Santa Fe was originally occupied by a number of Pueblo Indian villages with founding dates between 1050 to 1150. One of the earliest known settlements in what today is downtown Santa Fe came sometime after 900. A Native American group built a cluster of homes that centered around the site of today’s Plaza and spread for half a mile to the south and west; the village was called Ogapoge. The Santa Fe River provided water to people living there. The Santa Fe River is a seasonal waterway which was a year round stream until the 1700s. As of 2007, the river was recognized as the most endangered river in the United States, according to the conservation group American Rivers.
Don Juan de Oñate led the first effort to colonize the region in 1598, establishing Santa Fé de Nuevo México as a province of New Spain. Under Juan de Oñate and his son, the capital of the province was the settlement of San Juan de los Caballeros north of Santa Fe near modern Ohkay Owingeh Pueblo. New Mexico’s second Spanish governor, Don Pedro de Peralta, however, founded a new city at the foot of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains in 1610, which he called La Villa Real de la Santa Fé de San Francisco de Asís, the Royal Town of the Holy Faith of Saint Francis of Assisi. In 1610, he made it the capital of the province, which it has almost constantly remained, making it the oldest state capital in what is the modern United States. (Jamestown, Virginia, is of similar vintage (1607) but is no longer a capital, while San Juan, Puerto Rico is older (1521) but is a territorial, rather than a state, capital). Santa Fe is at least the third oldest surviving U.S. city in the 50 states that was founded by European colonists, behind the oldest St. Augustine, Florida (1565).”
We were quite surprised to learn that Santa Fe is 7,199 feet above sea level, making it the highest capital city in the United States.
On our first full day in town, we went on a walking tour and I took photos for you. Sit back and relax! You don’t even have to wear comfortable walking shoes. I will put these pictures in the same chronological order that we were able to enjoy on our tour.
Our first stop was across the street from this beautiful theater with tera cotta carvings on the façade of the building.
Of course, this is the wild west! To prove that point is a plaque on the wall of a building just up the street.
I think that you can read it above, but in case you have trouble it tells us that Billy the Kid was captured and imprisoned in the building and that he was later moved to stand trial, found guilty, sent to another jail from which he escaped and he was shot and killed by Sheriff Pat Garrett.
Further up the street I found this pretty building with stucco walls and pretty blue paint. Looks like we are in France and not Santa Fe!
Of course it is arid and high dessert, but we found this lovely bush outside of the art museum.
The art museum is built in the adobe style.
Ever wonder where the end of the Santa Fe trail is?
Our tour guide took us to a courtyard where there were lots of pottery and souvenirs. As you can see, it was very colorful. But, a surprise waited in the form of a plaque in the back of the courtyard.
It seems that scientist Robert Oppenheimer had his office in the back of the courtyard. In the front, his assistant ran a grocery store. When scientists who were to work on the project came to Santa Fe from other parts of the U.S. they would first check in with the lady who ran the grocery. Then, she would show them to the office of Mr. Oppenheimer in the back. From there they would go to a local hotel and the next morning to the laboratories in Los Alamos. Once they had checked into the facility there, they could not leave until the end of the war. Sometimes, they brought their family with them.
Pottery made by the local people is very beautiful. The finest of the potters is said to have been Maria Martinez. Our tour guide said that she is the “Picasso,” of the Indian potters. Next is a photo of work done by her. The guide told us that her black on black pottery is the most famous.
In Santa Fe is the very beautiful Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi.
Outside is a lovely statue of St. Francis.
A short walk from the Basilica is the Loretto Chapel. Bishop Jean Baptisite Lamy was sent to Santa Fe in 1850 to raise funds for the cathedral and for the Loretto Chapel. A boys’ school had been added and it was decided that a girls’ school should be started. Eight nuns rode across the dessert in covered wagon from St. Louis and when they arrived they saw that the only way up to the choir loft in the chapel was via a ladder. It certainly would not do to have young ladies climb a ladder in their long skirts to go to the choir loft to sing for services twice a day. The nuns approached Bishop Lamy and he said that he did not have funds to build a staircase. The nuns started praying to St. Joseph for stairs. Nine days later, a stranger appeared with tools and some wood and said they he would do the building. He asked that he be left alone in the chapel. He worked for six months and no one every saw wood being carried into the chapel….at the end of the time the stranger disappeared. No one knew his name, anything about him, or what kind of wood he had used. Some say that St. Joseph the carpenter came to build the staircase.
Here are some photos of Southwest rooms for you to enjoy.
via Arturo Design
If you are interested in the technical names for construction, here is a diagram.
I hope that you have enjoyed your arm chair trip to Santa Fe. Create and be happy!