Santa Fe - The City
Greetings From Santa Fe,
Established in 1607, Santa Fe is
the second oldest city founded by European colonists in the United States. Only St. Augustine, Florida, founded in 1565, is older. Built upon
the ruins of an abandoned Tanoan
village, Santa Fe was the capital of the "Kingdom of
which was claimed for Spain by Coronado in 1540. Its first governor,
Don Pedro de Peralta, gave the city its full name, "La Villa Real de la
Santa Fe de
San Francisco de Asís,"or "The Royal City of the Holy Faith of Saint
Francis of Assisi".
Miguel Chapel in Santa Fe is the oldest church in the United States, constructed around
1610. The Palace of the Governors was built between 1610 and 1612
and is the oldest government building in the country.
During the next 70 years, the Spanish
colonists and missionaries sought to subjugate and convert the some
100,000 Pueblo Indians of the region. However, in 1680, the Pueblo
Indians revolted, killing almost 400 Spanish colonists and drove
the rest back into Mexico. The conquering
Indians then burned most of the buildings in Santa Fe
except for the Palace of the Governors and the San Miguel Chapel. The Pueblo
Indians occupied Santa Fe
until 1693, when don Diego de Vargas reestablished Spanish control.
remained Spain's provincial seat until 1821, when Mexico won its
independence from Spain and the city became the capital of the Mexican
territory of Santa Fe de Nuevo México.
Trade was no longer restricted as it was under Spanish rule and
trappers and traders moved into the region. In 1821 William Becknell
opened the 1,000 mile-long
Fe Trail bringing hundreds of new settlers to the area.
On August 18, 1846, during the early
period of the Mexican American War, an American army general, Stephen
Watts Kearny, took Santa Fe
and raised the American flag over the Plaza. Two years later in 1848,
Mexico signed the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ceding
California to the United States.
For 27 days in
March and April of 1862, the Confederate flag of Brigadier General
Henry H. Sibley flew over Santa Fe until he was defeated by Union
With the arrival of the
telegraph in 1868 and the coming of the Atchison, Topeka and the Santa
Railroad in 1880, Santa Fe
underwent an economic revolution. Corruption in government, however,
accompanied the growth, and President Rutherford B. Hayes appointed
Lew Wallace as a territorial governor to "clean up
Wallace did such a good job that Billy the Kid threatened to come up
to Santa Fe
and kill him.
gained statehood in 1912, with Santa Fe
remaining as the Capitol City.
Though not everyone knows it,
went though Santa Fe during its early years. Following the Old Pecos
Santa Rosa, the path wound through Delia, Romeroville and Pecos on
its way to Santa Fe.
Beyond the capitol, the
Mother Road continued on a particularly nasty
stretch down La Bajada Hill toward
Albuquerque. One of the most challenging sections of
Route 66, the
500 foot drop along narrow switch backs struck terror in the hearts of
many early travelers, so much so that locals were often hired to drive
vehicles down the steep slope. Although plans were that Santa Fe
would continue to stay on the route of the Mother Road, it was not to be, due to political
maneuverings of the
Governor in 1937.
Having lost his re-election, Governor Hannett blamed the
politicians for losing and vowing to get even, he rerouted the highway in
his last few months as governor. So hastily was the road built, that
it barreled through both public and private lands without benefit of
the time the new governor was in place, a new highway connected Route 66
Albuquerque, bypassing the capitol city and its many businesses.
The new route was more direct and reduced some of the more treacherous
road conditions. It was along this path that I-40 would be built
many years later.
For many years this
picturesque city has consciously attempted to preserve and display a
regional architectural style. By a law passed in 1958, new and rebuilt
buildings, especially those in designated historic districts, must
exhibit a Spanish Territorial or Pueblo style of architecture, with
flat roofs and other features suggestive of the area's traditional
In addition to serving as the state
capital, the city depends economically on art, tourism, construction,
and real estate development. Set at the base of the Sangre de Cristo
mountains, the city's climate and cultural attractions have drawn an
influx of new residents with an above average income and educational
level. Restaurants, boutiques, and galleries line the streets of the
city center and Canyon Road.
The growth boom flagged temporarily in the
mid-1990's when Debbie Jaramillo, who opposed the focus on tourism,
was elected mayor. Although she was voted out after serving one term,
the city continues to face the challenges of continuing drought
conditions and a widening divide between locals and recent arrivals.
Still, art and tourism remain Santa Fe's
Nestled at 7,000 feet in the foothills of the Rocky
Santa Fe boasts a population of almost 65,000. While in
be sure to visit the
La Fonda Hotel, which
has been providing a restful place for weary travelers since 1920.
In 1926 the Atchison, Topeka and
Railroad acquired the hotel, which they leased to Fred Harvey. From
1926 through 1969 the La Fonda was one of the famous
Houses. Reportedly the La Fonda also hosts a resident ghost.
You will also have the opportunity to see
the historic Palace of the Governors, the San Miguel Mission Church,
visit Santa Fe's many museums, and stroll through numerous galleries and
boutiques while visiting beautiful Santa Fe,
One other interesting
note is that
is reportedly extremely haunted. It is one of the few cities
that offers a full schedule of "ghost tours” and "ghost walks” year
around, with as many as five operators conducting tours from
historic plaza. These tours primarily focus on the ten block
historic area of
featuring such places as the La Posada and
La Fonda Hotels, the Grant
Corner Inn, Palace of Governors, the oldest house in the nation, and
other historic buildings. Some tours also include
area superstitions, as well
history of vigilantes, gunfights, murders and hangings.
Santa Fe, Route 66 travelers will continue southwest through several small towns. La Bajada Hill is in La Cienga, but is difficult to find, so you will
needs some good Route 66 maps and if you want to drive it, a
high-clearance 4x4 is required. Continuing, you'll soon arrive in Domingo
where one good stop is Fred Thompsons' Indian
Trading post. A side trip opportunity also presents itself here, to visit
the Santa Domingo Pueblo just a few miles west. Called home to more than
3,000, Santa Domingo Indians have lived here for centuries. Here, you will
see many roadside stands with jewelry, pottery and silverwork. The
pueblo also offers a cultural center and small museum for visitors.
Route 66, the road winds through the small towns of Algodones, Bernalillo
before rejoining with the later alignment in Albuquerque.
of America, updated December, 2015.
Route 66 Through
Trail - Highway to the Southwest
La Fonda Hotel in
is reportedly haunted. January, 2005,
Palace of Governors
This small grocery store in Algadones,
lonely along this old alignment of
This image available for
photographic prints and downloads
stop at this Route 66 Art Gallery along this old stretch might be fun,
June, 2006, Kathy Weiser-Alexander.
This image available for
photographic prints and downloads
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