Things To Do In Santa Fe, NM: Experience Santa Fe History

San Miguel Mission - Oldest Church

San Miguel Mission – Oldest Church

Santa Fe, New Mexico is a top Historical Travel Destination within the US. Voted by The Adventure List as a top Travel Place in 2016;  The Most Beautiful Historic Neighborhoods In The Country; One of the Most Architecturally Impressive Small Towns in America; #2 Top 15 Cities in the U.S.; #11 World’s Top 15 Cities.  Santa Fe, the capitol of New Mexico since 1912, was once inhabited by Pueblo Indians dating back between 1050 and 1150. An early settlement, consider today as downtown Santa Fe, was a cluster of dwellings centered around the area we call “the plaza”. Originally named Ogapoge, this Native American village spread for half a mile to the south and west.  The Santa Fe river which is now a seasonal water way – was once a year round stream until the 1700’s. Santa Fe  river in 2007 was considered the most endangered river in the US (conservation group American Rivers).

The name “Santa Fe” literally translates as “holy faith” from Spanish while it’s full name when founded “La Villa Real de la Santa Fe de San Francisco de Asis” translates to “The Royal Town of the Holy Faith of St. Francis of Assisi”.

1851 brought Jean Baptiste Lamy to Santa Fe to begin construction of Saint Francis Cathedral – a well known, centrally located church is still today home to a vibrant ministry of the catholic community in Santa Fe. The church should be added to your “things to do in Santa Fe” list. In March of 1862, the Confederate flag of General Henry Sibley took flight over Santa Fe until defeated by Union troops a few days afterward. In 1859 St Michaels College, a men’s college, was founded by the Franciscan brothers of St Louis . “El Colegio de San Miguel” was it’s founding name as it was an adobe hut next to the San Miguel Mission on Old Santa Fe Trail. (see Adobe blog)  Jean-Baptiste Lamy was the first bishop and archbishop of Santa Fe, New Mexico. He recruited Christian Brothers from his native France to establish the school who arrived October 27, 1859 and after 70 days of ship, train and covered wagon travel. In 1874, the school was granted charter as the College of the Christian Brothers of New Mexico and St. Michael’s conferred diplomas on its first graduates in 1876. Billy the kid was a student at St Michaels college!

St Francis Basillica Church

St Francis Basillica Church

In 1968 the school moved to its current location at 100 Siringo Road in Santa Fe and became co-educational upon the closing of the Loretto Academy for Girls. Prior to the construction of the current school the high school took on boarders from New Mexico and other states. It is now known as St. Michaels High School which celebrates the tradition of providing many a young person with a quality Catholic education. Billy the kid was a student at St Michaels college. (Historic Site Blog)

1872 Bishop Lamy commissioned the building of the famous Loretto Chapel or originally known as Our Lady of Light Chapel, which would be in the care of the Sisters of Loretto. The chapel was designed by French architect Antoine Mouly in the Gothic Revival style.

The Loretto Chapel - Santa Fe, NM.

The Loretto Chapel – Santa Fe, NM.

Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railway originally envisioned Santa Fe as an important stop, however as tracks were laid into New Mexico, civil engineers concluded it to be more practical to go through Lamy (a small village south of the city of Santa Fe) and a branch line was completed into Santa Fe from Lamy in 1880.   Three original red brick conductors homes -built for Railway personnel – still stand on Galisteo Street just across from Pueblo Bonito bed & breakfast inn. Denver and Rio Grande Western Railroads extended a narrow gauge, called the “Chili Line” from the nearby city of Espanola to Santa Fe in 1886. The result however of bypassing Santa Fe created a gradual economic decline. This was reversed in part through the creation of a number of resources for the arts and archaeology. In 1907 the School of American Research was created under the leadership of Edgar Lee Hewitt- a prominent archeologist. The first airplane to fly over Santa Fe was piloted by Rose Dugan, which carried Vera von Blumenthal as passenger. Together, Vera and Edgar started the development of the Pueblo Indian pottery industry, which was a major contributor to the founding of the annual Santa Fe Indian Market, founded in 1921.

Santa Fe Bed and Breakfast - Pueblo Bonito Inn

Adobe pueblo style architecture featured at Pueblo Bonito b&b- Santa Fe, NM

In 1912 New Mexico became the 47th state of the United State of America with Santa Fe as its capitol city. In 1950, Los Alamos (40 minutes north of Santa Fe) was base to the Manhattan Project. Santa Fe assumed a vital role in providing support to non-essential military personnel with services, housing, provisions and entertainment. Manhattan Avenue (named after the project) is approximately three blocks south of Santa Fe’s plaza and connects to the rail yard. This provided many families secure and convenient downtown Santa Fe housing while taking up residence in the city and commuting to Los Alamos. Pueblo Bonito bed & breakfast located at 138 W Manhattan Ave was once a viable apartment community which housed George Sanders (Robert Oppenheimers personal body guard), his wife and infant daughter (see photos).

It Is Not Hard To Find Things To Do In Santa Fe

Today Santa Fe, NM is well known as a center for arts that reflect the multicultural character of its inhabitants and the city. Santa Fe is generally considered to be the second largest art center in the United States after New York City. The Governors Gallery located in the New Mexico state capitol building on Old Santa Fe Trail is home to thousands of well known artist’s work ranging from Spanish Colonial era to modern day, this is one of the premier galleries in the US. Just a convenient 3 minute walk from Pueblo Bonito bed and breakfast, guests can easily view this gallery from 7:30 am to 6:30 pm weekdays and limited times on Saturdays.

Santa Fe: 2nd largest grossing art sales in the world!

The city and surrounding areas are prone to high concentrations of resident artists who have come over the decades inspired by the natural beauty and historic cultures of the native peoples. One of which was well known New Mexico based painter Georgia O’Keeffe. She lived in Santa Fe for a time, but primarily in the village of Abiquiu (50 miles north of Santa Fe). The Georgia O’Keeffe Museum is located in downtown Santa Fe and exhibits of her work, associated artists work, and related themes. Opened in 2006, the Georgia O’Keeffe museum holds thousands of her works in all media and is funded by a private foundation.  O’Keeffe’s friend, well known western nature photographer Eliot Porter, died in Santa Fe. Pueblo Bonito bed and breakfast was once home to Hillil Heller- a semi-well known New York transplant painter that found inspiration from the religious beliefs of the southwestern Native Americans who moved and lived in Santa Fe for a short time. Area Artist Studio tours prominently available in September and October within Santa Fe and nearby villages reflect the deep creativity of residence and inspiration of the area (Studio Tour Blog)

Canyon Road, located to the east of Pueblo Bonito bed and breakfast inn off of Paseo de Peralta (a 5 minute stroll) is known for its large number of art

Acoma Pueblo artist Marilyn Ray- featured in Pueblo Bonito gift gallery.

galleries. Described by Santa Fe visitors as “an art lovers Disney land” this delightful, walkable strip is a major destination for international collectors, tourists and locals. Canyon Road galleries showcase a wide variety of contemporary, Southwestern, indigenous American, and experimental art, in addition to Russian, Taos, Masters, and Native American pieces. Outdoor sculptures line the street and include statues of Francis of Assisi as well as several other holy and non holy figures. Styles run a wide scale from Baroque to Post-modern, bronze to textiles and beyond. Notable sculptors connected with Santa Fe include John Connell, Luis Jimenez, Rebecca Tobey, Doug Hyde and Allen Houser. So definitely add Canyon Road to your list of things to do in Santa Fe!

Adobe orno (bread oven) aka 1860 on Pueblo Bonito b&b grounds

Over the most recent 30 years, Santa Fe has become an Historical Southwest Travel destination and Art lovers mecca! Consistently receiving annual accolades, Santa Fe, NM has been voted #2 Destination by Conde Nast reader’s choice award; #5 Most Popular North American Travel Cities by Travel+Leisure Magazine (10 consecutive years) and more. Santa Fe is undoubtable one of the most unique US travel destinations offering its visitors high quality and variety of culture, art, cuisine, natural beauty, spas, museums, world history, US history and New Mexico history, to mention just a few. Nick named “the city different” for a reason, it is a place every American should visit at least once in their lifetime. Pueblo Bonito bed & breakfast inn built in 1860 and located in downtown Santa Fe reflects the authentic native culture, historic influences and architecture this historic and sacred area is known for. Pueblo Bonito bed and breakfast offers enchanting historic Santa Fe lodging in a private adobe pueblo-style compound quietly nestled in downtown Santa Fe. For an authentic Historic Santa Fe experience, call today 1-800-461-4599.