Santa Fe

Santa Fe is home to many historic religious
buildings. Dating from the 1870s, the Loretto
Chapel is site of the spiral "miraculous staircase."
In 1610, twelve years after beginning attempts to colonize the lands inhabited by the Puebloan Indians north of the Rio Grand River, the Spanish founded the city of Santa Fe. Having already establish a sizable presence in Central and South America, the Spanish designated Santa Fe as the capitol of their province called New Mexico and it served as such until the their rule was expelled in 1820 after the Mexican Revolution. With its name meaning "holy faith," the new city was the stronghold of the Spanish efforts to colonize the region, a base for trade and exploration, and a center from which to spread Catholicism to the native populations.
The city also served as the endpoint of the Santa Fe Trail, a lucrative trade route that went through the region connecting Missouri to New Mexico and proved access to the resources of the Southwest. Prior to the Mexican Revolution, the Spanish government kept their provinces off limits to outsiders, including Americans. In 1822, after Mexico had succeeded in expelling Spanish control from New Mexico, an American named William Becknell blazed the trail itself, establishing a defined route for easy access to the region and thus opening American trade presence in the region. The trail's terminus in Santa Fe is located in its historic Plaza which we visited.

The Plaza's centerpiece:
an 1868 Civil War Marker

Santa Fe was HOM: V's first stop after Texas. During our three day exploration of the city we spent much time in and around the historic Santa Fe Plaza. There we were able to do many things including peruse many souvenir stores, view a Reconstruction-era obelisk commemorating the American Civil War, shop the authentic Native American crafts, and even watch the filming of an upcoming movie being shot along one of the plaza's four streets.
Me outside the Palace wearing a Zia Sun Symbol shirt.
The symbol is a emblem of the southwestern Zia Indians
and featured on the state flag of New Mexico. Note my
surprise- there were snow flakes falling in Santa Fe.

On our final day in the city we visited the New Mexico History Museum located adjacent to the Plaza. One wing of its exhibits is located within the Palace of the Governors, the four hundred year old adobe capitol building. Having served as an administrative center since it was built at the founding of the city, it is considered to be the oldest continually occupied building in the United States. Many of us were particularly interested to explore the archaeological exhibits within its centuries-old walls, seeing artifacts excavated from under the very building were so much history has occurred.

 -Mike Uhl

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