JOE’S BLOG: THE COLORS OF FALL IN NORTHERN NEW MEXICO

JOE’S BLOG: THE COLORS OF FALL IN NORTHERN NEW MEXICO

JOE’S BLOG: THE COLORS OF FALL IN NORTHERN NEW MEXICO

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Naturally, when most people think of fall colors, they think of the east coast. Coming up from the Appalachian, through the Allegheny and Blue Ridge Mountains, through New England and up to the State of Maine, everywhere fall foliage is bursting into color. Reds, yellows, and oranges are a glorious sign of the impending arrival of winter, and warmly welcome the flocks of tourists heading north and east, as numerous as birds migrating south.

Northern New Mexico is always a place to experience colors in the Fall; a burning-red chili ristra alone is worth the trip. These appear all over New Mexico about this time of year when the famous Hatch, NM green chili harvest occurs. We may not have as many pumpkins as a New England town square, but our native squashes turn just as beautiful.

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Like the chilis and pumpkins changing their summer clothes, in the case of trees and their leaves, it is the arrival of cooler days and longer nights, which slow and then cease the photosynthesis process, trapping sugars in the leaves – a timeless process, which results in the robust reds. As the green chlorophyll dies, the trees’ leaves begin to try and salvage other nutrients and the carotenoids, masked by the green chlorophyll during the summer, and create the glory of autumnal hues.

Each October and early November, there is almost always plenty of time to see these wonderful fall colors in and around Santa Fe. Valley cottonwoods turn golden and orange, aspens turn yellow, the Chinese Pistache becomes a ravaging deep red, and Gamble Oaks are cloaked in a soft blend of warm, burnt color.

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Purple Mountain Ash, ornamental crab apples and fruit trees join the chorus, while vista-wide Chamisa sprout plumes of blossoms whose bright golden yellow is unrivalled even by the mighty maples, hickories, oaks and beeches of the East Coast.

One of he most amazing of all the sights is to see the quaking aspens covering the entire Sangre de Cristo mountain range just above town, while they are turning into a rippling carpet of shimmering yellows, highlighted by green pines and firs bursting above the sea of aspen gold. Hiking or mountain biking at this time of year on the many gentle – or if you prefer arduous – trails in the glorious Sangre de Cristos is just unbelievable.

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An autumn stay at the Inn on the Alameda allows one an opportunity to revel in our artistic landscaping planned to capture the beauty of fall foliage concentrated on our beautiful two acres perfectly situated along the cottonwood lined Santa Fe River. With November just around the corner, meet at the Agoyo Lounge for dinner in front of the glowing fireplace and savor one of our specialty cocktails – maybe a hot-toddie on the patio or a warm apple cider. Whatever your taste, the Inn on the Alameda will always accommodate and satisfy your desires in an inimitable setting.

November Snow

November Snow Nearly ever year, sometime around the end of October, Santa Fe gets its first little snowfall to let us know that winter is on its way. This year the reminder came a little earlier, the week before Halloween, and the more...

read more

1069825_872202662813308_572589927499950199_n

Naturally, when most people think of fall colors, they think of the east coast. Coming up from the Appalachian, through the Allegheny and Blue Ridge Mountains, through New England and up to the State of Maine, everywhere fall foliage is bursting into color. Reds, yellows, and oranges are a glorious sign of the impending arrival of winter, and warmly welcome the flocks of tourists heading north and east, as numerous as birds migrating south.

 

awning

 

Northern New Mexico is always a place to experience colors in the Fall; a burning-red chili ristra alone is worth the trip. These appear all over New Mexico about this time of year when the famous Hatch, NM green chili harvest occurs. We may not have as many pumpkins as a New England town square, but our native squashes turn just as beautiful. Like the chilis and pumpkins changing their summer clothes, in the case of trees and their leaves, it is the arrival of cooler days and longer nights, which slow and then cease the photosynthesis process, trapping sugars in the leaves – a timeless process, which results in the robust reds. As the green chlorophyll dies, the trees’ leaves begin to try and salvage other nutrients and the carotenoids, masked by the green chlorophyll during the summer, and create the glory of autumnal hues.

558821_10151041773418020_1037188539_n

 

Each October and early November, there is almost always plenty of time to see these wonderful fall colors in and around Santa Fe. Valley cottonwoods turn golden and orange, aspens turn yellow, the Chinese Pistache becomes a ravaging deep red, and Gamble Oaks are cloaked in a soft blend of warm, burnt color. Purple Mountain Ash, ornamental crab apples and fruit trees join the chorus, while vista-wide Chamisa sprout plumes of blossoms whose bright golden yellow is unrivalled even by the mighty maples, hickories, oaks and beeches of the East Coast. One of he most amazing of all the sights is to see the quaking aspens covering the entire Sangre de Cristo mountain range just above town, while they are turning into a rippling carpet of shimmering yellows, highlighted by green pines and firs bursting above the sea of aspen gold. Hiking or mountain biking at this time of year on the many gentle – or if you prefer arduous – trails in the glorious Sangre de Cristos is just unbelievable.

 

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An autumn stay at the Inn on the Alameda allows one an opportunity to revel in our artistic landscaping planned to capture the beauty of fall foliage concentrated on our beautiful 2 acres perfectly situated along the cottonwood lined Santa Fe River. With November just around the corner, meet at the Agoyo Lounge for dinner in front of the glowing fireplace and savor one of our specialty cocktails – maybe a hot-toddie on the patio or a warm apple cider. Whatever your taste, the Inn on the Alameda will always accommodate and satisfy your desires in an inimitable setting.

The Galisteo Studio Tour

The Galisteo Studio Tour

The Galisteo Studio Tour

The spirt of Georgia O’Keeffe in Galisteo, New Mexico

One of the great joys of the autumn season in Northern New Mexico is the annual round of village studio tours.

Artists open their homes and studios to wandering aficionados of the arts in many of the picturesque small towns around Santa Fe over the weekend, beginning in late summer, with the first hint of fall in the high country, and ending in mid-November, when winter is starting to show on the peaks of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Over the years these events have become remarkably well organized, with flyers and websites, welcoming stations with friendly folks passing out maps (surrounded by the inevitable bake sale), large and colorful signs guiding you along the obscure calles, and groups selling traditional meals and snacks  somewhere in a village gathering spot.

The village of Galisteo hosts one of my favorite tours. This old town, about half an hour’s drive southeast of Santa Fe, always picks a mid-October weekend to host, basking in autumn light and the golden glow of the cottonwoods along Galisteo Creek.

Crossing little Galisteo Creek on the village bridge

As always, the local Catholic Church is a good place to stop and plot your afternoon.

The church in Galisteo

The gnarled old roots of old New Mexico poke up from the earth here, as they do in every village:

A crumbling adobe, returning to the land

If you really want to see how an artist works, and find out what inspires him or her, a visit to the studio will go far to satisfy your curiosity.

Catherine Ferguson’s sign hanging outside her house and studio

A yard full of art

Everyone seems to be happy to talk to you, and to show you the tools of their trade. You’ll probably be offered a snack from the kitchen and the privilege of wandering around the house and yard – and if you see a work you can’t live without, you’ll very likely be able to purchase it on the spot.

Well over half the fun of making a studio tour is peeking into people’s normally private homes and gardens, seeing how they arrange their creative lives, and enjoying the rich intermingling of art, landscape, and livelihood that might well cause a twinge of envy as well as admiration.

An illuminated wall

A questionable invitation

Behind adobe walls. Paintings were hung all along this box of light.

So if you’re planning a visit out our way next year around this time – and what could be more delightful than the Southern Rockies in September and October? – take a moment to look into the local studio tours and make some time for a day trip. I think you’ll discover then, for yourself, why the arts and New Mexico are so firmly joined.

Looking toward Galisteo from the house of the chocolate artist

November Snow

November Snow Nearly ever year, sometime around the end of October, Santa Fe gets its first little snowfall to let us know that winter is on its way. This year the reminder came a little earlier, the week before Halloween, and the more...

read more

The spirt of Georgia O’Keeffe in Galisteo, New Mexico

One of the great joys of the autumn season in Northern New Mexico is the annual round of village studio tours. Artists open their homes and studios to wandering aficionados of the arts in many of the picturesque small towns around Santa Fe over the weekend, beginning in late summer, with the first hint of fall in the high country, and ending in mid-November, when winter is starting to show on the peaks of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Over the years these events have become remarkably well organized, with flyers and websites, welcoming stations with friendly folks passing out maps (surrounded by the inevitable bake sale), large and colorful signs guiding you along the obscure calles, and groups selling traditional meals and snacks  somewhere in a village gathering spot.

The village of Galisteo hosts one of my favorite tours. This old town, about half an hour’s drive southeast of Santa Fe, always picks a mid-October weekend to host, basking in autumn light and the golden glow of the cottonwoods along Galisteo Creek.

Crossing little Galisteo Creek on the village bridge

As always, the local Catholic Church is a good place to stop and plot your afternoon.

The church in Galisteo

The gnarled old roots of old New Mexico poke up from the earth here, as they do in every village:

A crumbling adobe, returning to the land

If you really want to see how an artist works, and find out what inspires him or her, a visit to the studio will go far to satisfy your curiosity.

Catherine Ferguson’s sign hanging outside her house and studio

Everyone seems to be happy to talk to you, and to show you the tools of their trade. You’ll probably be offered a snack from the kitchen and the privilege of wandering around the house and yard – and if you see a work you can’t live without, you’ll very likely be able to purchase it on the spot.

A yard full of art

Well over half the fun of making a studio tour is peeking into people’s normally private homes and gardens, seeing how they arrange their creative lives, and enjoying the rich intermingling of art, landscape, and livelihood that might well cause a twinge of envy as well as admiration.

An illuminated wall

Behind adobe walls. Paintings were hung all along this box of light.

A questionable invitation

So if you’re planning a visit out our way next year around this time – and what could be more delightful than the Southern Rockies in September and October? – take a moment to look into the local studio tours and make some time for a day trip. I think you’ll discover then, for yourself, why the arts and New Mexico are so firmly joined.

Looking toward Galisteo from the house of the chocolate artist

Joe’s Blog: The History of the Santa Fe Railroad

Joe’s Blog: The History of the Santa Fe Railroad

Joe’s Blog: The History of the Santa Fe Railroad

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Santa Fe remains synonymous with railroads, thanks to the continued existence of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, even though a merger in 1994 with Burlington Northern all but obliterated Santa Fe’s name from the new company. Now known as BNSF, future generations will certainly not recall the colorful history of the AT&SF Railroad, nor the origins of the name of the BNSF.

Long before this merger, in the beginnings of the western expansion of the railroads, the AT&SF was formed in 1859 to connect Kansas with Santa Fe, the legendary capital of the newly formed New Mexico territory. However, unknown to most, there was another railroad that served Santa Fe. Ironically, the AT&SF never even reached the capital, as the elevation grade made routing through Santa Fe impractical. But the grades were nothing for the tough narrow gauge (3 feet wide) railroad known as the Denver and Rio Grande (D&RG), incorporated in 1870 to build tracks from Denver to Santa Fe. Its company emblem was scribed with the words: “Through the Rockies, not around them.”

Bat Masterson & Doc Holliday – Characters of the Old American West – images from wikipedia.org

The history of the conflicts between the AT&SF and D&RG railroads is legendary. Competition for the lucrative routes that would link the silver and gold riches of Utah and Colorado with the rest of the country eventually led to a conflict between the AT&SF and the upstart Denver D&R). The dream of the upstart D&RG owners was to eventually connect Denver with El Paso Texas, an arduous task to say the least. The fierce competition between the two railroads intensified until literally a war broke out over the lucrative Southern Colorado Arkansas River basin, where a narrow gateway named the Royal Gorge gave access to the many mines of western Colorado.

The Royal Gorge War was intense, violent and even involved hired gunslingers such as Doc Holliday and Bat Masterson. It looked like the AT&SF would secure the lucrative routes through force of arms until a circuit court ruling in the D&RG’s favor proved decisive. Armed now with the force of the law, the D&RG was free to pursue a direct line connecting Colorado with Santa Fe. Believing a narrow gauge design to be superior in the mountainous terrain between Antonito and Santa Fe, the company began laying a narrow gauge track south from southern Colorado to Santa Fe. The narrow track was layed within the portion of the D&RG from Antonito, Colorado, on through the small New Mexico towns of Tres Piedras, Taos Junction, Embudo, Espanola and eventually on to Santa Fe. This section was nicknamed the “Chili Line” in honor of New Mexico’s premier and distinctive crop, but its official name was the Santa Fe Branch. Though the majority of western commercial traffic would continue to go to the AT&SF, the Chili Line leg of the D&RG began construction in 1880, eventually, providing a valuable link between the small and isolated northern New Mexican and southern Colorado farmers and ranchers and the country’s larger markets.

Due to its remote nature from Antonito, Colorado, down through desolate Northern New Mexico to Santa Fe, the Chili Line would be an informal one. The engineers and fireman “often stopped to shoot jackrabbits and coyotes. Sometimes passengers joined in the sport… In the little town of Tres Piedras, the train would meet ‘a yellow mongrel dog…’ The engineer tossed off a newspaper daily which the dog picked up and carried to the home of its owner.” (The Evening Independent -St. Petersburg, Florida: Associated Press- September 2, 1941).

The Rio Grande Zephyr in 1983 – image from wikipedia.org

Ironically, the court decision to bring peace between the AT&SF and the D&RG prevented D&RG to go further south than Espanola, so another train company was formed, named the Texas, Santa Fe and Northern Rail Road Company, and in 1886, the Chili Line arrived in the Santa Fe Railyards. The Chili Line continued its operations until 1941 when transportation by truck began the erosion of the small narrow gauge “feeder lines” throughout the country. But it didn’t end there, the final successor inter-city train, known as the Zephyr, continued service until the mid 1980s.

So, at least 3 Railroads have used the Santa Fe Railyards for depots, not just the more famous one, the AT&SF, whom as I said in the beginning, has itself fallen to the fate of time and is now only represented by 2 letters behind the BR of Burlington Northern Santa Fe, whose harsh orange engines laboriously pull double decked railcars from China across the country-side.

A visit to Santa Fe should always include a tour of the Santa Fe Railyards where the original depots of these railroads can be seen. And where else to stay but the Inn on the Alameda, conveniently located near the Plaza and Canyon Road as well. If you don’t feel like walking, our free courtesy car will gladly drop you off and pick you up at your convenience.

November Snow

November Snow Nearly ever year, sometime around the end of October, Santa Fe gets its first little snowfall to let us know that winter is on its way. This year the reminder came a little earlier, the week before Halloween, and the more...

read more

Santa Fe remains synonymous with railroads, thanks to the continued existence of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway, even though a merger in 1994 with Burlington Northern all but obliterated Santa Fe’s name from the new company. Now known as BNSF, future generations will certainly not recall the colorful history of the AT&SF Railroad, nor the origins of the name of the BNSF.

The D&RG on the Narrow Gauge. Image from ngdiscussion.net

The D&RG on the Narrow Gauge. Image from ngdiscussion.net

 

Long before this merger, in the beginnings of the western expansion of the railroads, the AT&SF was formed in 1859 to connect Kansas with Santa Fe, the legendary capital of the newly formed New Mexico territory. However, unknown to most, there was another railroad that served Santa Fe. Ironically, the AT&SF never even reached the capital, as the elevation grade made routing through Santa Fe impractical. But the grades were nothing for the tough narrow gauge (3 feet wide) railroad known as the Denver and Rio Grande (D&RG), incorporated in 1870 to build tracks from Denver to Santa Fe. Its company emblem was scribed with the words: “Through the Rockies, not around them.”

Bat Masterson & Doc Holliday - Characters of the Old American West - images from wikipedia.org

Bat Masterson & Doc Holliday – Characters of the Old American West – images from wikipedia.org

 

The history of the conflicts between the AT&SF and D&RG railroads is legendary. Competition for the lucrative routes that would link the silver and gold riches of Utah and Colorado with the rest of the country eventually led to a conflict between the AT&SF and the upstart Denver D&R). The dream of the upstart D&RG owners was to eventually connect Denver with El Paso Texas, an arduous task to say the least. The fierce competition between the two railroads intensified until literally a war broke out over the lucrative Southern Colorado Arkansas River basin, where a narrow gateway named the Royal Gorge gave access to the many mines of western Colorado. The Royal Gorge War was intense, violent and even involved hired gunslingers such as Doc Holliday and Bat Masterson. It looked like the AT&SF would secure the lucrative routes through force of arms until a circuit court ruling in the D&RG’s favor proved decisive.   Armed now with the force of the law, the D&RG was free to pursue a direct line connecting Colorado with Santa Fe. Believing a narrow gauge design to be superior in the mountainous terrain between Antonito and Santa Fe, the company began laying a narrow gauge track south from southern Colorado to Santa Fe. The narrow track was layed within the portion of the D&RG from Antonito, Colorado, on through the small New Mexico towns of Tres Piedras, Taos Junction, Embudo, Espanola and eventually on to Santa Fe. This section was nicknamed the “Chili Line” in honor of New Mexico’s premier and distinctive crop, but its official name was the Santa Fe Branch. Though the majority of western commercial traffic would continue to go to the AT&SF, the Chili Line leg of the D&RG began construction in 1880, eventually, providing a valuable link between the small and isolated northern New Mexican and southern Colorado farmers and ranchers and the country’s larger markets.

The Rio Grande Zephyr in 1983 - image from wikipedia.org

The Rio Grande Zephyr in 1983 – image from wikipedia.org

 

Due to its remote nature from Antonito, Colorado, down through desolate Northern New Mexico to Santa Fe, the Chili Line would be an informal one. The engineers and fireman “often stopped to shoot jackrabbits and coyotes. Sometimes passengers joined in the sport… In the little town of Tres Piedras, the train would meet ‘a yellow mongrel dog…’ The engineer tossed off a newspaper daily which the dog picked up and carried to the home of its owner.” (The Evening Independent -St. Petersburg, Florida: Associated Press- September 2, 1941). Ironically, the court decision to bring peace between the AT&SF and the D&RG prevented D&RG to go further south than Espanola, so another train company was formed, named the Texas, Santa Fe and Northern Rail Road Company, and in 1886, the Chili Line arrived in the Santa Fe Railyards. The Chili Line continued its operations until 1941 when transportation by truck began the erosion of the small narrow gauge “feeder lines” throughout the country. But it didn’t end there, the final successor inter-city train, known as the Zephyr, continued service until the mid 1980s.

So, at least 3 Railroads have used the Santa Fe Railyards for depots, not just the more famous one, the AT&SF, whom as I said in the beginning, has itself fallen to the fate of time and is now only represented by 2 letters behind the BR of Burlington Northern Santa Fe, whose harsh orange engines laboriously pull double decked railcars from China across the country-side.

A visit to Santa Fe should always include a tour of the Santa Fe Railyards where the original depots of these railroads can be seen. And where else to stay but the Inn on the Alameda, conveniently located near the Plaza and Canyon Road as well. If you don’t feel like walking, our free courtesy car will gladly drop you off and pick you up at your convenience. Oh, yes…remember to order a :”Sidecar” when you are dining or cocktailing in the Agoyo Lounge.

The Summer Monsoon

The Summer Monsoon

The Summer Monsoon

Many people are surprised to find out that Santa Fe’s rainy season corresponds almost exactly to the height of the tourist season – July and August. They become even more alarmed when the locals refer to this as the “monsoon”. Monsoon?! Visions of Delhi submerged under six feet of muddy water fill their heads. Images of Myrna Loy drenched in the streets of Ranchipur haunt them. It’s not quite like that here in August, however – although a few opera lovers might disagree.

A late afternoon sky in Santa Fe, in July

Monsoon has its roots in the Arabic language and it refers to a seasonal shift in the wind. In the American Southwest, toward the end of June or early in July, the prevailing westerly winds shift to southerly ones, bringing tropical moisture up from Mexico. Dew points climb. Mornings dawn with unusual mildness and the sun rises through screens of vapor over the mountains:

Morning sky over the Sangre de Cristo

Even on mornings that start off in golden clarity, it won’t be long before the powerful sun begins to boil the atmosphere:

Late morning sky over the Santa Fe Farmer’s Market

Before you know it, an unexpected rumble of thunder fills the air and the breath of rain-cooled air sweeps over the city.

Most of these summer thundershowers are brief and only last 20 minutes or so. That’s just enough time to dodge under a welcoming portal and enjoy a respite from the sun. They are notorious for erupting right as the Santa Fe Opera lights its spacious stage for an opening. Many a production has been enhanced by the sturm und drang of a flaring late evening storm over the western mountains. Everyone comes to love them because of the way they cool down the evening to perfect sleeping weather. The afternoon sky is full of drama:

Ominous Afternoon

 

Vistas Enhanced By The Wonderful Atmospherics

And we admit it: sometimes you just get a traditional old rainy day, right in the middle of your summer vacation. You swear you’ll throttle the next local who says, “well, we need the moisture”. Even on these days the rain is bound to pause once in a while, to reveal heights wreathed in cloud and mist:

Bali Hai in Santa Fe

Of course, too much of a good thing is not always wonderful. You could be walking your dog in the arroyo one moment:

Walking the dog in the Santa Fe River

And the next running for the hills:

A Sudden Surge of Water

This is a legitimate natural hazard, and one which you must be aware of in the summer when you are visiting our part of the country. Lightning is another danger, as is hypothermia, for those hikers that are enjoying a walk high in the mountains. Someone is struck and killed by lightning up in the highlands nearly every year.

Golden Asters in Bloom

So don’t forget to tuck in a travel umbrella when you come to visit us this summer. Bring a sweater if you’re planning to attend the Opera: that rain-chilled air is cooler than you probably expected. And keep you eyes open for rainbows – our summer sky is festooned with them:

Walking into the rainbow

Sometimes Even Two!

November Snow

November Snow Nearly ever year, sometime around the end of October, Santa Fe gets its first little snowfall to let us know that winter is on its way. This year the reminder came a little earlier, the week before Halloween, and the more...

read more
Mike’s Blog: The Heart of Santa Fe, The Plaza

Mike’s Blog: The Heart of Santa Fe, The Plaza

Mike’s Blog: The Heart of Santa Fe, The Plaza

The_Governor’s_Palace,_in_which_Lew_Wallace_wrote_Ben-Hur

Few cities are more inextricably tied to a central physical space than Santa Fe is to the Plaza. The Santa Fe Plaza provided a definition and boundary between the state of ‘civilization’ for the Spanish and the ‘frontier’ without.

In creating the Plaza and binding it with the central institutions of Spanish culture (the Church, the Palace of the Governors and the court), the colonists defined the space as the re-creation of their central identity. The Plaza symbolized the colony and in return, the colony became defined by the Plaza.

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The settlement of the Plaza was among the earliest acts of Don Pedro de Peralta’s establishment of Santa Fe in 1610. This consisted of a presidio (Fort) with a large surrounding wall.

All the elements of Spanish civilization were present within the square, including: the prison, barracks, a chapel, the Palace of the Governors, and private residences. In a very real sense ‘civilization,’ as defined by the Spanish, thrived within a clearly delineated boundary.

The Plaza served as the grand end-point of the Camino Real during the peak of New Mexico’s colonization, which is significant because Camino Real marked the great North/South trade route that connected Mexico with the New Mexican colonies. Linking the interior of North America with the markets of New Spain and Spain proper ensured Santa Fe’s importance in continental trade. From its establishment in the 17th century until the development of the Santa Fe Trail, the Camino Real was the primary artery of trade.

San_Francisco_Street
Jake_Gold’s_Old_Curiosity_Shop_(aka_Gold’s_Free_Museum)_2

As New Mexico was settled and Santa Fe prospered, the Plaza became the terminus of the famed Santa Fe Trail. Blazed in 1821, the trail was a difficult journey through unforgiving landscapes and hostile native tribes, and stretched all the way from St. Louis to Santa Fe.

As New Mexico became part of the United States, the trail was crucial in the opening of The West and the settlement of the territory. The terminus is still found today in the Plaza, and a prominent stone marks the official end of what was once a vital mercantile artery. Elements of this mercantile still exist today. One of which is the historic ‘Burro Alley,’ and another, the former horse corrals on Camino Corrales. These streets were areas of unloading and stabling of livestock – important elements of overland trade.

The_Burro_book_(Page_17)_(6025805236)

Over time, the Plaza became a place of pulsing activity, further reinforcing its significance to the place and time. Historical elements, like the original Palacio (Palace of the Governors), remain and testify to the boundaries of the space. New structures, representing emerging architectural schools, sprung up around the space. Among the landmarks in the Plaza were the Civil War monuments erected following the war.

The_plaza,_Santa_Fe,_New_Mexico,_by_Continent_Stereoscopic_Company
Historic_plaza_and_’Rebel’_monument,_Santa_Fe,_New_Mexico

One of the most notable was a controversial obelisk dedicated “To the heroes who have fallen in the various battles with Savage Indians in the Territory of New Mexico.” Controversy over the wording erupted in 1973 when the Santa Fe city council, responding to requests from the Governor and activists in the American Indian Movement, voted to have the monument removed. Resistance to the removal came from numerous sources, but it was the Federal Government’s threats to remove funding for the space (coinciding with the upcoming bicentennial) that settled the issue once and for all. The monument, with its inflammatory language, remained.

The monument to Kearny (the ‘conqueror’ of the New Mexico territory) and the Indian Wars represents the ways in which the Plaza continues to define the identity of the New Mexican and the ‘dialogue’ between place and people. The word ‘Savage’ on the monument was scratched out following the resolution of its non-removal, and the unofficial vandalism exists as an informal compromise between the voices of the past and the needs and rights of the modern community.

The Plaza continues to be a vital part of Santa Fe today. Native artisans display their wares along the old Palace of the Governors, an unbroken continuum of commerce and artistry stretching back five centuries. Young children run and play while older teens begin their courtship rituals or practice skateboarding or hacky sack.

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World-class galleries compete for space with the Five and Dime and the Tamale cart alike. Visiting the Plaza today emphasizes the continuance of Santa Fe, including the contradictions inherent in this dynamic city identity, and provides an opportunity to ‘live as a local’. Annual events like the Fiestas de Santa Fe, the Indian market, and the Santa Fe Bandstand continue to draw locals and tourists alike – and no visit to Santa Fe is complete without a trip to the Plaza.

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Structures like the New Mexico History Museum, the New Mexico Museum of Fine Arts, and the Georgia O’Keefe Museum emphasize the arts and history that have always been a crucial part of Santa Fe’s identity. These artistic institutions form a link with the galleries of Canyon Road and Museum Hill, a pulsing vein of artistry that runs through this high desert land.

The Palace of the Governors remains in situ, and has been called the longest continuously used seat of government in the United States. Over its long history, multiple flags have flown over, those of New Spain, Mexico, the Confederacy and the United States, but the one thing that has remained the same in both symbolism and historical significance, is the Plaza.

We at the Inn on the Alameda look forward to seeing you in Santa Fe soon, and please remember that when you stay at the Inn, that Enchanting Small Hotel in Old Santa Fe, you are only a five minute stroll away from the Plaza!

–Joe and Michael Schepps

November Snow

November Snow Nearly ever year, sometime around the end of October, Santa Fe gets its first little snowfall to let us know that winter is on its way. This year the reminder came a little earlier, the week before Halloween, and the more...

read more

Palace of the Governors oldFew cities are more inextricably tied to a central physical space than Santa Fe is to the Plaza. Santa Fe Plaza provided a definition and boundary between the state of ‘civilization’ for the Spanish and the ‘frontier’ without. In creating the Plaza and binding it with the central institutions of Spanish culture (the Church, the Palace of the Governors and the court), the colonists defined the space as the re-creation of their central identity. The Plaza symbolized the colony and in return, the colony became defined by the Plaza.

Santa Fe Plaza OldThe settlement of the Plaza was among the earliest acts of Don Pedro de Peralta’s establishment of Santa Fe in 1610. This consisted of a presidio (Fort) with a large surrounding wall. All the elements of Spanish civilization were present within the square, including: the prison, barracks, a chapel, the Palace of the Governors, and private residences. In a very real sense ‘civilization,’ as defined by the Spanish, thrived within a clearly delineated boundary.

The Plaza served as the grand end-point of the Camino Real during the peak of New Mexico’s colonization, which is significant because Camino Real marked the great North/South trade route that connected Mexico with the New Mexican colonies. Linking the interior of North America with the markets of New Spain and Spain proper ensured Santa Fe’s importance in continental trade. From its establishment in the 17th century until the development of the Santa Fe Trail, the Camino Real was the primary artery of trade.

Burro AlleyAs New Mexico was settled and Santa Fe prospered, the Plaza became the terminus of the famed Santa Fe Trail. Blazed in 1821, the trail was a difficult journey through unforgiving landscapes and hostile native tribes, and stretched all the way from St. Louis to Santa Fe. As New Mexico became part of the United States, the trail was crucial in the opening of The West and the settlement of the territory. The terminus is still found today in the Plaza, and a prominent stone marks the official end of what was once a vital mercantile artery. Elements of this mercantile still exist today. One of which is the historic ‘Burro Alley,’ and another, the former horse corrals on Camino Corrales. These streets were areas of unloading and stabling of livestock – important elements of overland trade.

Over time, the Plaza became a place of pulsing activity, further reinforcing its significance to the place and time. Historical elements, like the original Palacio (Palace of the Governors), remain and testify to the boundaries of the space. New structures, representing emerging architectural schools, sprung up around the space. Among the landmarks in the Plaza were the Civil War monuments erected following the war. One of the most notable was a controversial obelisk dedicated “To the heroes who have fallen in the various battles with Savage Indians in the Territory of New Mexico.” Controversy over the wording erupted in 1973 when the Santa Fe city council, responding to requests from the Governor and activists in the American Indian Movement, voted to have the monument removed. Resistance to the removal came from numerous sources, but it was the Federal Government’s threats to remove funding for the space (coinciding with the upcoming bicentennial) that settled the issue once and for all. The monument, with its inflammatory language, remained. The monument to Kearny (the ‘conqueror’ of the New Mexico territory) and the Indian Wars represents the ways in which the Plaza continues to define the identity of the New Mexican and the ‘dialogue’ between place and people. The word ‘Savage’ on the monument was scratched out following the resolution of its non-removal, and the unofficial vandalism exists as an informal compromise between the voices of the past and the needs and rights of the modern community.

Santa Fe BandstandThe Plaza continues to be a vital part of Santa Fe today. Native artisans display their wares along the old Palace of the Governors, an unbroken continuum of commerce and artistry stretching back five centuries. Young children run and play while older teens begin their courtship rituals or practice skateboarding or hacky sack. World-class galleries compete for space with the Five and Dime and the Tamale cart alike. Visiting the Plaza today emphasizes the continuance of Santa Fe, including the contradictions inherent in this dynamic city identity, and provides an opportunity to ‘live as a local’. Annual events like the Fiestas de Santa Fe, the Indian market, and the Santa Fe Bandstand continue to draw locals and tourists alike – and no visit to Santa Fe is complete without a trip to the Plaza.

Structures like the New Mexico History Museum, the New Mexico Museum of Fine Arts, and the Georgia O’Keefe Museum emphasize the arts and history that have always been a crucial part of Santa Fe’s identity. These artistic institutions form a link with the galleries of Canyon Road and Museum Hill, a pulsing vein of artistry that runs through this high desert land. The Palace of the Governors remains in situ, and has been called the longest continuously used seat of government in the United States. Over its long history, multiple flags have flown over, those of New Spain, Mexico, the Confederacy and the United States, but the one thing that has remained the same in both symbolism and historical significance, is the Plaza.

We at the Inn on the Alameda look forward to seeing you in Santa Fe soon, and please remember that when you stay at the Inn, that Enchanting Small Hotel in Old Santa Fe, you are only a five minute stroll away from the Plaza!

Joe and Michael Schepps

Mike and Joe

 

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