HISTORIC SITES

Far more than in most American cities, history is close to the surface in Santa Fe.  In the old part of town it is visible on every street, for Santa Fe in the 1950s passed the nation's first Historic Styles Ordinance, preserving the exterior appearance of a large part of the city. Thus no matter how modern and up-to-date the interiors of the picturesque old adobe structures may be, their look is much the same as it was in the 18th and 19th centuries. Strolling Santa Fe is like stepping into the past.

In addition to the "living museum" aspect of the city, many specific sites have been preserved and created to honor local history. As a service to SFAOL visitors, several of them are listed below.

Amelia White Park-A charming, low-key park with terrific mountain views, this spot at the intersection of Old Santa Fe Trail and Camino Corrales honors the city's veterans of the Korean War. It also has some remnants of the Old Santa Fe Trail itself. It's a pleasant place for hikers to pause or families to have a picnic. Information: 505-955-6200 or 800-777-2489.

Bataan Memorial Museum/Library-Many of the victims and survivors of the infamous Bataan Death March in World War II were members of a New Mexico military unit. To honor them this museum, which actually is housed in an old National Guard armory, presents memorabilia and research material. 505-474-1670.

Cross of the Martyrs-A monument at the top of a short trail just a few blocks from the Plaza honors 21 Franciscan friars killed in the 1680 Pueblo Revolt. The site also provides a majestic overview of downtown Santa Fe. Located in the 600 block of Paseo de Peralta.

El Rancho de las Golondrinas-A living-history museum, the lovely "Ranch of the Swallows" highlights New Mexico's Spanish Colonial period. The site is a former stop on the Camino Real highway that ran from Santa Fe to Mexico City. Features include a mill, a frontier schoolhouse, a morada modeled after the churches of the mysterious Penitente brotherhood, and many other period structures. Several times a year there are demonstrations of life as it was lived in colonial times. Guided and self-guided tours. Open April-October. 15 miles south of Santa Fe in La Cienega, I-25 Exit 276. 505-471-2261. www.golondrinas.org.

El Zaguan-A sprawling Territorial hacienda, this massive adobe structure at 545 Canyon Road houses the offices of the Historic Santa Fe Foundation. The large and beautiful flower garden is named for noted archaeologist Adolph Bandelier, who studied the ancient Pueblo Indians, and is honored by the nearby national monument that bears his name. He was one of many illustrious residents of El Zaguan. 505-983-2567.

Fort Marcy-Built in 1846 with the arrival of the Americans to claim New Mexico, this fort protected U.S. interests in the area. Now only ruins of the rampart remain, in Prince Park, south of Kearny/Prince avenues. 505-955-6200 or 800-777-2489.

Loretto Chapel-A lovely Gothic chapel just off the Plaza, this small church features the "miraculous staircase" that has no visible signs of support. The nuns who built the structure in the 1800s believed that a mysterious carpenter who arrived and installed the staircase was an incarnation of St. Joseph. 207 Old Santa Fe Trail. 505-982-0092.

Palace of the Governors-Built in the 17th century to house the Spanish Colonial government of New Mexico, the Palace dominates the Santa Fe Plaza and is the oldest public building in continuous use in the United States. It has served Spain, Mexico, the Confederacy, the U.S. and now New Mexico. It survived the 1680 Pueblo Revolt, the Mexican-American War, occupation by Confederate troops and modern times. Soon to undergo a major renovation. 505-476-5100. www.palaceofthegovernors.org.

San Miguel Mission-Historic church, believed to be the oldest in the U.S. Permanent exhibits, taped tours. 401 Old Santa Fe Trail. 505-983-3974.

Santa Fe Plaza-The authentic "End of the Santa Fe Trail," the Plaza features historical monuments, shady trees, quaint white wrought-iron benches and a gathering place for locals and visitors alike. It also has a large selection of shops and galleries, and is dominated by the ancient Palace of the Governors on its north side.

St. Francis Cathedral-This imposing edifice built of New Mexico limestone was constructed under legendary Archbishop Jean Baptiste Lamy between 1869 and 1893. 213 Cathedral Place. 505-982-5619.

Santuario de Guadalupe-An 18th-century mission museum, the Santuario is the oldest shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe in the U.S. Now a venue for performing art as well as a church, it features botanical gardens and Spanish Colonial artifacts. 100 S. Guadalupe St. 505-988-2027.


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