Once again I have been drawn to a town by a series of books. Stuart Woods writes the Ed Eagle series and it is based in Santa Fe. Those books, along with pictures and stories from others, added a visit to this town to my bucket list. Unlike Boulder, Colorado Santa Fe was exactly what I expected, an artsy town with mainly adobe houses.
Santa Fe is the oldest and highest altitude (7,000 feet) capital city in the United States.
The main area of town branches out from the typical town square.
Back in the day town squares had very specific building guidelines. They had to be a rectangle, which was 1.5 times wider than it was deep. Over the years Santa Fe’s town square was made smaller and more resembles a square.
Our first stop was the Loretto Chapel, which we had been told was a Catholic Church that housed a staircase with an interesting history.
When we arrived we were surprised that there was an entrance fee of $3.00 each. We both felt it was inappropriate of a Catholic Church to charge an entry fee so we decided against going in. We later found out that the church was no longer a Catholic Church, it had been purchased by a hotel and made into a museum … ahh that makes sense now! Anyway we never did get the time to go in but I did find a picture of the inside on the internet. The church had a loft area with no staircase and the Sisters thought it would be a good place for the choir, but they were unable to find a carpenter who could build a staircase to the loft. Around 1880 the entire order began to pray to St. Joseph, the patron saints of carpenters, to help come up with a solution to erect stairs to the loft. On the ninth day of prayer a visitor arrived at the church with his mule and some tools. The man told the Sisters he was a carpenter by trade and he believed he could construct a staircase to the loft without it becoming an eyesore. The only condition he placed upon the Sisters was that he would only work in private.
The Sisters were only too happy to agree to his terms and the carpenter would work whenever the chapel was empty. When the spiral staircase was finished the Sisters were so delighted with how it turned out that they organized a banquet in honour of the carpenter. This was when they discovered he had left, and had never identify himself while he was working there. He also never asked for payment for his labour or the supplies he used. The Sisters believe that it must have been St. Joseph who had come to the church and built the stairs for them.
It really does look beautiful and it was made without any nails!
We decided to take an open-air tram tour of the city for $15.00 each and really enjoyed it. We started off with a tour around the town square area.
The Palace of Governors building served as the seat of government for the state of New Mexico for centuries. It is the oldest continuously occupied public building in the United States. The building is now used for artists to display their wares.
There were a lot of churches in the town square area.
We then moved outside of the town square area into the Canyon Road area, which is the art district of Santa Fe. I would have loved to come back and wander around the area but hubby wasn’t feeling it … I think he was scared I would spend money 🙂
I really wanted one of these wind sculptures … they are really pretty when the wind makes them turn!
Rock, paper, scissors!
After the art district we moved into residential neighbourhoods. These are very old homes so they are not overly large and run in price from $400,000 to $700,000.
We also toured newer areas, this house was recently purchased for $3 million.
I think I like the old house better … plus I wonder what kind of view these people have with all the trees!
The museum district is full of various museums and sculptures.
All over Santa Fe, in every neighbourhood, we noticed the fences were the same. These are coyote fences, which consist of spruce/fir posts tied to a steel welded framework. They are called coyote fence because they keep the coyotes out.
We ended back at the town square but not before we passed another old church.
Until next time …