Santa Fe Historic Traditions for New Mexico Vacationers
First in Series: New Mexico True Historic USA travel experiences
Provided by: Pueblo Bonito Bed and Breakfast Inn
Adobe bricks (mud bricks) are a long time New Mexico architectural building staple. Modern historic preservation efforts within Santa Fe’s historic district are to be commended for their preservation. New Mexico visitors travel with high expectations to see and experience ancient traditions of culture which adobe bricks encase and accurately preserve. Made of earth, traditional adobe bricks have a high clay content and straw mixture. If produced manually the earth mix is cast in open moulds onto the ground and left to be sun-dried, not kiln-fired. When used for construction they are laid up into a wall using an earth mortar. Before drying out, the finished walls are smoothed down and often a clay render applied as a surface coating.
Adobe brick building is an ancient technique common in the Americas and the Middle East. The oldest structural ruins made of earth date back to 8300 BC with some adobe buildings aged 800+ years still in use today! “Adobe” is a signature of Santa Fe New Mexico’s architecture and is beautifully preserved in many a historic building such as the De Vargas Street House (aka Oldest House in the USA). Built in 1200 CE, the original adobe home sits on the partial foundation of an ancient Indian Pueblo. Modern day use as a museum provides New Mexico visitors a viewing of this ancient art of adobe building. The De Vargas Street House has quiet a history and is a short stroll from Pueblo Bonito Inn- Santa Fe.
The Palace of the Governors (1610) is an adobe structure located on the north side of Santa Fe’s Plaza. The Palace of the Governors served as the seat of government for the state of New Mexico for centuries and is the oldest continuously occupied public building in the United States. The Palace originally served the Spanish colony of Nuevo Mexico, which at one time comprised present-day states of Texas, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Nevada,California, and New Mexico. After the Mexican War of Independence, the Mexican province of Santa Fe de Nuevo Mexico was administered from the Palace of the Governors. When New Mexico was annexed as a U.S. territory the Palace became New Mexico’s first territorial capitol.*
“Adobe” is the Spanish name derived from the older Arabic “al-tob”, dating from the Moorish occupation of Spain. Adobe walls have a number of advantages and relatively few disadvantages. Adobe bricks are fireproof, durable and biodegradable! Adobe is a non-toxic building material and can provide sufficient thermal mass to ensure excellent thermal efficiency and low sound transmission levels through walls to create a general feeling of solidity and security. Due to the nature of clay and the drying process, adobe bricks exhibits good water resistance. It is important to provide weather protection to extend life to the adobe brick especially in exposed situations. Adobe can be cut relatively easily to provide for fittings or services like vigas, corbels, pass through, etc. Many people today find the pattern and texture of adobe walls very attractive as is the case at Pueblo Bonito bed and breakfast inn.
Accurately highlighting traditional historic Santa Fe culture and adobe living, Pueblo Bonito was originally built in 1860. Once a private residence, now a popular downtown bed and breakfast. Its painstaking preservation efforts over the past 30 years has transformed this massive 2 foot thick adobe walled structure into a one of a kind Santa Fe travel experience! Adobe walls surround 18 guest rooms each with a traditional kiva fireplace and adorable mosaic tiled private bathroom-essential modern conveniences! Traditional room features include: colorful nichos vanities, natural wood floors and vigas, hand plastered nichos and bancos, hand carved corbels and much more. Santa Fe, New Mexico is a top historic treasure for US travel buffs wanting to experience a true slice of historic dating back over 400 years.