Elizabeth Anne VanderPutten - Santa Fe


Santa Fe is a city of extraordinary beauty, style and charm. Located on the New Mexican high desert plateau at an elevation of 7,000 feet, with the13,000 feet high Sangre de Christo Mountains as a backdrop, Santa Fe is simply stunning.

Santa Fe is among the oldest and most historic cities this country. Cradled in the culture of a 1,000-year-old Pueblo civilization and almost four centuries of Spanish and Mexican rule, Santa Fe is a city of history. The original La Fonda Hotel already existed in 1610, which was the year Santa Fe was founded -- and that was10 years before the Pilgrims arrived in the New World. Santa Fe's Palace of the Governors, the oldest public building in continuous use in the United States, was built the year the city was founded, as was San Miguel Chapel, the oldest church structure still in use in the U.S. Two centuries after the city's founding, it became the terminus and the namesake of the historic Santa Fe Trail.

Santa Fe, laid out originally according to the "Leyes de Indias," is today a city of art. It is the home of the Santa Fe Opera and of 72,056 people (est. 2006 pop.), most of whom are, claim to be, or at least want to be artists, art collectors, art students, or art dealers. It is the third largest -- and some say second most important -- art market in the country. In 2002, it rank first in the country in terms of the per capita economic contribution of the arts to its economy. It's Yellow Pages list more than 250 galleries and museums, of which the Georgia O'Keefe Museum is just one of the more prominent. Much is made of the Santa Fe Style.

Santa Fe has the longest and loveliest full name of any state capital -- La Villa Real de la Santa Fe de San Francisco de Asis, i.e., The Royal City of the Holy Faith of St. Francis of Assisi. It is a lovely city and a city that is easy to love. (See map of downtown area)

September 13, 1999

The Santa Fe Plaza is a National Historic Landmark


Palace of the Governors

The first structure built in Santa Fe after its founding was the Palace. It is the oldest public building in continuous use in the U.S., and served as the capitol until after the 1860's.

Territorial Governor Lew Wallace wrote most of Ben Hur there during his term (1878 -1881) .

In 1913, The Palace, or El Palacio as it's often called, was converted into the main building of the Museum of New Mexico. The Palace was made a National Historic Landmark in 1961.

The Porch (Portal Program)

Shown here in front of the Palace are New Mexican Indians selling their jewelry and textiles. Each morning a drawing is held using numbered poker chips to assign for that day the 71 available spaces.

There are more than 500 registered vendors who must be Indian. Hispanics, Angelos and other may sell their goods across the street and in front of Woolworth's.


September 13, 1999


September 13, 1999


Inn of the Turquois Bear
342 E. Buena Vista Street

The rambling adobe house, built in Spanish-Pueblo Revival style from a core of rooms that date to the mid-1800's, is considered one of Santa Fe's most important historical buildings.

The Inn was originally the home of Witter Bynner (1881-1968) who was a poet, translator and essayist, and for decades a prominent citizen in Santa Fe.

We stayed in the O'Henry Room, named for the famed short-story writer whose work was edited by Bynner when they lived in New York. The sale of three short stories by O. Henry paid for the construction of several rooms in the house.


The La Fonda Hotel

In 1610, the year Santa Fe was founded, there was already an inn or fonda on the plaza. Two hundred years later, La Fonda was there when the first traders arrived on the Santa Fe Trail. It became known as the Inn at the End of The Trail. The present La Fonda was built in 1923 on the site of previous inns, and until recently was the only premier hotel in Santa Fe.

Noted for its Spanish Pueblo architecture, La Fonda is the first member of the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Historic Hotels of America in New Mexico that we visited.


Courtesy of The La Fonda Hotel


September 13, 1999

Pink Adobe Restaurant
406 Old Santa Fe Trail

My first meal in Santa Fe was green chili stew at the Pink Adobe. Founded near the end of World War II by Rosalea Murphy, the Pink is located the center of the Barrio de Analco Historic District. Its fame began in the 1950s for its Dobe Burgers, French onion soup and hot apple pie.

The Pink has become a gathering place for locals, visitors, and famous personalities. It has served as host to presidents, local politicos, and intellectuals. As "the" place, the Pink and Rosalea have appeared on Great Chefs of the Southwest.


Pioneer Woman

Santa Fe is a city of random art. In this sense, Santa Fe reminds me of Bali where we found statures on hotel beaches and in shrubs by rural roadsides. Art was everywhere in Bali and it is in Santa Fe.

We found this statue in front of a private gallery across from Loretto Chapel on the Old Santa FeTrail.

This statue was simply sitting out near the curb in the parking lot next to a couple of pickup trucks, almost as though it was a piece of junk waiting to be hauled away.

Its casual placement illustrates for me the prevelence of art in Santa Fe.


September 14, 1999


September 14, 1999


Santa Fe Ski Basin and
Hyde Memorial State Park

We drove up the mountain to the Santa Fe Ski Basin, stopping at Hyde Memorial State Park along the way.

The Park is 5 or 6 miles deep in one of the loveliest forest we saw in New Mexico. It has camping and picnicking facilities, as well as hiking and cross-country ski trails into the Santa Fe National Forest.

The Santa Fe Ski Basin was another 15 miles It has 39 downhill ski trails, 7 lifts, and a summit elevation of 12,000 feet. The lifts of course were closed when we were then and I did not get to view any of the trails.


The Bishop's Lodge

It took us a half-hour to drive to The Bishop's Lodge, one of four hotels in New Mexico that are listed in the National Trust for Historic Preservation's Historic Hotels of America and the second we visited..

During an afternoon shower, we learned its history from its congenial new manager, Robert O'Hearn. Once the private retreat of Bishop Jean Baptiste Lamy -- the subject of Willa Cather's Death Comes for the Archbishop -- The Bishop's Lodge was operated as a resort by the James R. Thorpe family from 1918 until 1998. It recently changed owners and is being expanded.


Courtesy of The Bishop's Lodge


Email: Elizabeth Anne VanderPutten