Walking Tour of Downtown Santa Fe New Mexico
This tour includes numerous historical landmarks and museums in the heart of Santa Fe within less than a mile.
The San Miguel MIssion, also known as the San Miguel Church, is the oldest church in the United States. Constructed between 1610 and 1626, the church served both the Catholic Church and the Spanish empire as it colonized what is today the southwestern United States. The Chapel was damaged during the 1680 Pueblo Indian revolt and repaired in 1710 when Spanish forces regain control over the area. With last known repairs by Spain in 1798, most of the structure that stands today is the original, such as the adobe walls. Masses are still served on Sundays.
Also known as the De Vargas Street House, this structure is believed to be both the oldest house in New Mexico and in the whole United States. This title remains although the history of its "birth" has been lost to history. The house was used temporarily from 1709-1710 as the home of the Spanish Territorial Governor while the San Miguel Mission was being repaired. From there to the 1800s, the house was used as a residence for people from all different cultures that were represented in Santa Fe. The house is now home to a museum about the historic section of Santa Fe called the Barrio de Analco Historic District.
Now called the Lamy Building, this 1878 structure was St. Michael's Dormitory, located south of the St. Miguel Mission. The Dormitory was run by the Brothers of Christian Schools, being part of Santa Fe's St. Michael's College (now the College of Santa Fe). This dorm was for the boys of the college, as well as being the main building of the college. Three-stories tall and donned with a bell tower, a fire in 1926 destroyed the third floor and the tower; the third floor was not rebuilt. In 1947, it became a dorm for St. Michael's High School after the St. Michael's College was moved elsewhere in Santa Fe and renamed College of Santa Fe. Sold to the state of New Mexico by the Brothers, it now houses state offices.
Constructed in 1878, The Loretto Chapel is a Gothic style structure that represents the enriching religious history of Santa Fe, New Mexico. The church was founded by Santa Fe's first archbishop, Jean-Baptiste Lamy and the Sisters of Loretto, whom wanted to spread the Catholic faith and educate the youth within the Territory of New Mexico. The most notable feature of the chapel is the "Miraculous Staircase." The 22 ft. wooden spiral staircase leads to the choir's loft and does not have a central column, giving it the appearance of standing on its own without support. The staircase makes two 360 turns, and there are helix-shaped stringers placed into the staircase's foundation. Now, the Loretto Chapel is both a museum and a wedding chapel. In addition, the Loretto Chapel features beautiful stained glass windows, artwork, and a gift shop. Both the Loretto Chapel and the "Miraculous Chapel" have served as inspirations for television movies and novels.
This monument commemorates Don Diego de Vargas who served the crown as Governor of New Mexico after the Pueblo Revolt of 168. In 1680, many tribes of the Pueblo Indians revolted against the Spanish empire within their holdings of Santa Fe de Nuevo Mexico (containing parts of modern-day New Mexico, Texas, Oklahoma, Colorado and Kansas). Also know as Pope's Rebellion (not to be confused with the head of the Catholic Church), the revolt was lead by one Pope (Po'Pay) to free the Pueblo from the inhumane treatments laid on them by Spanish political and military leaders, and some religious leaders. The Revolt killed over 400 Spanish settlers and officials and drove Spain out. What would become the modern city of Santa Fe, was one of many Spanish towns captiured by the Pueblos. It would take 13 years for Spain to regain control of Santa Fe de Nuevo Mexico. The reconquest was violent, but did lead to some changes to the empire's Indian policy. Violence and revolt be attempted again after the reconquest, but never at the 1680 scale. Changes to policies included allowing property rights to some Indians, ability to argue cases before local Spanish Courts, end to wholly dismantle indigenous faith by Franciscan priests, and many members of the Pueblo tribes leaving their homes for the Great Plains. A statue of Pope is found in New Mexico's Capitol Building. The town, now city, of Santa Fe would be recaptured by Spain during the end of 1693.
Located within historic Santa Fe, the Sena Plaza has a history that stretches back to when Santa Fe was part of the Spanish Empire. Originally granted to Captain Arias de Quiros by General Diego de Vargas, with whom he campaigned during the reconquest of New Mexico in 1693, the land was later divided by a few families. The land that houses the plaza was claimed by Don Juan Sena in 1796, would stay in Sena hands until the 1860s. Other parts were owned by throughout time Juan Nepomuceno Alaríd, who willed it a Sena relative in 1844. What would become the plaza was owned by José D. Sena, who was a major in the United States army during the Civil War, and married Doña Isabel Cabeza de Baca, daughter of an equally prominent Santa Fe family, in 1864. He wanted to build a home and garden for his bride. Overtime the building has been expanded lengthwise and height-wise, and the courtyard, later plaza, expanded and repaired. Now the Sena Plaza holds a park and businesses.
The Shiprock Gallery is dedicated to showcasing Native American art. The gallery and its collections were established and have been maintained by art dealer Jed Foutz for over 30 years. Coming from a historic family of Native American art traders and being raised on the Navajo Nation, Foutz was captivated and took interest in collecting Native American art and textiles.The gallery takes its name from the legend of Shiprock, a volcanic rock formation that was believed to have once been a great-winged bird that carried the Navajo people to northwestern New Mexico. The gallery's collections include artists from both the past and present, such as Margaret Tafoya, Larry Golsh, Victoria Adams, Leo Poblano, Cippy Crazy Horse, Helen Cordero, and many more. One of the most notable artists featured at galley is photographer Laura Gilpin (1891-1979). Gilpin was a famous commercial photographer who documented the Navajo people's lives and their culture. In addition to the gallery, there is the Shiprock Trading Co. where visitors can purchase Native American jewelry, artwork, rugs, blankets, pottery, furniture, and sculptures.
In 1610, Don Pedro de Peralta established Santa Fe as the capital of Spanish New Mexico. One of the earliest buildings constructed by de Peralta was the Palace of the Governors. The building survived many wars and conflicts, including the Pueblo Revolt in 1680, the Chimayó Rebellion in 1837, the U.S. conquest in 1846, brief control by the Confederate States of America in March of 1863 and the reestablishment of U.S. control a few days later. For approximately three hundred years it served as a seat of government. Built as the capital for the Spanish colony of New Mexico, then used as the capital for Mexican province of New Mexico, and finally as the U.S. Territory and State of New Mexico. The building is now home to displays from the New Mexico Museum of History.
Also known as the Chimayo Rebellion, the revolt was done by dissatisfied New Mexicans over the affairs and laws of the local Mexican Government and those in the nation's capital of Mexico City. Following Texas's victory over Mexican forces commanded by Mexico's dictator Santa Anna, the Mexican government issued more restrictive measures on political participation, taxes, and customs. Added to Santa Anna reinstating the corrupt former governor of New Mexico, Albino Perez, back into the governorship (despite votes on the contrary) sparked rebellion within Mexico's northern lands. The revolt began after Mayor Juan José Esquibel of Santa Cruz de la Cañada (in New Mexico) was arrested under Perez's orders. Freed by sympathizers, Esquibel led the rebellion against Perez. When this popular revolt began to be more violent and just as corrupt as the government it oust, loyalists of Santa Anna and Perez and Mexican Federal forces gathers to shut down the revolt after battles and skirmishes throughout the then New Mexico territory of New Mexico. A monument to Perez and to the Revolt of 1837 is found in the Palace of the Governors.
This 1917 building is home to one of New Mexico's oldest museums. The New Mexico Museum of Art is one of four state-run museums found in Santa Fe, which are part of the Museum of New Mexico system operated by the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs. The museum is known for its St. Francis Auditorium and over 20,000 pieces of art which include works by Ansel Adams, Gustave Baumann, Georgia O'Keeffe, Fritz Scholder, T. C. Cannon, Bruce Nauman, Luis Jimenez, Maria Martinez, members of the Ashcan School, Los Cinco Pintores, Transcendental Painting Group, and the Taos Society of Artists. The museum also features an art library.
In 1909, Santa Fe’s Palace of the Governors ceased being the seat of government and became the home of the New Mexico History Museum. New Mexico’s rich history includes Native, Spanish, Mexican, and U.S. influences. While the Palace of the Governors is itself a piece of history, it proved insufficient to the task of housing and displaying New Mexico’s historic artifacts. A new museum campus, including a 96,000 square foot main building, was completed in 2009. Permanent and temporary exhibits relate the stories of New Mexico’s history and diverse cultural influences. Highlights include the Palace of the Governors and the Segesser Hide paintings. Other campus buildings include the Palace Press, a Photo Archive, and the Fray Angelico Chavez History Library.
The Santa Fe Public Library offers free materials and programs that promote education in the Santa Fe area. In addition to the services and resources provided in the center itself, the library also offers a number of online resources, including online language courses for children, an Encyclopaedia Britannica online research facility, inter-library loan capabilities, and archived New Mexico newspapers.