Urban to Rural Transect, Taos, Geoff Dyer. About 2005. Courtesy of Town of Taos and Placemakers.






Santa Fe (established 1610)

_Santa Fe is the oldest continuously occupied community established by Euro-Americans in the U.S. Its original Laws of the Indies plaza, with the governmental Palace of the Governors on the north side, stretched one block further east than today. The original church stood at the middle of this high end of the original rectangular plaza.

__After the Spanish fled the city in the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, Tano and Tewa Pueblo Indians remade the city according to their own practices with multistory terraced residences surrounding two plazas, each with a kiva. When the Spanish recaptured the city in 1693, they opened up the current square plaza, and relocated their church to the head of San Francisco Street.

__Following the U.S.-Mexican war of 1846, merchants around the plaza replaced existing log post Spanish portales (porches) with new ones in the Greek Revival style, known locally as the Territorial style. In 1863, the U.S. Army took the lead in establishing a plaza park surrounded by a picket fence, with a bandstand at its center, which was quickly replaced by an obelisk monument.

__After the arrival of the railroad in 1881, merchants remade three sides of the plaza with the sort of Italianate business blocks (lacking portales) common on main streets across the country. Left off the main line of the railroad, however, the city's population shrank ten percent per decade over the next thirty years.

__To stem this decline, the newly formed city planning board in 1912 proposed the development of tourism. Their first step was to restore the historic adobe appearance of the city. Next was the initiation of a community historical celebration, the Santa Fe Fiesta, in 1919. The remodeling of business facades culminated in the return of Spanish Pueblo and Territorial Revival portales in 1966.


Further Reading

(in addition to The Plazas of New Mexico)

  • Hammett, Kingsley, Santa Fe: a Walk Through Time, (Layton, Utah : Gibbs Smith, 2004).

  • Lovato, Andrew Leo., Santa Fe Hispanic Culture: Preserving Identity in a Tourist Town, (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2007).
  • Morrow, Reardon, Wilkinson, Miller, Santa Fe Plaza: Cultural Landscape Report [Prepared for City of Santa Fe], (Albuquerque: author, 2006).
  • Tobias, Henry J. and Charles E. Woodhouse, Santa Fe: a Modern History, 1880-1990, (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 2001).

  • Chris Wilson, The Myth of Santa Fe: Creating a Modern Regional Tradition, (Albuquerque: University of New Mexico Press, 1997).


External Links

  • Ch├ívez History Library, Museum of New Mexico
    http://www.palaceofthegovernors.org/ library.html

  • Historic Santa Fe Foundation http://www.historicsantafe.org/home.htm
  • New Mexico Office of State Historian
  • Photo Archives, History Museum, Museum of New Mexico
    http://www.palaceofthegovernors.org/ photoarchives.html

  • Santa Fe Public Library http://www.santafelibrary.org/localhistory.html