If you read my last blog titled Culture and the Arts you will know that my travels in New Mexico were filled with some great riding, along with some interesting Spanish architecture and an array of beautiful art.
My visit to Santa Fe was equally as charming. While there I had the opportunity to stroll through the historical district. There I met Donna, a former motorcyclist who was helping out a friend at one of the local art galleries. The gallery had a wonderful collection of Edward Curtis original photographs of North American Indians from the late 1800’s. Donna also shared an interesting piece of history about the building where the art was being shown.
The room where we were standing was joined to a small office that had been the working space of J. Robert Oppenheimer, (April 22, 1904 – February 18, 1967) often called the “father of the atomic bomb” for his role in overseeing the Manhattan Project, the World War II project that developed the first nuclear weapons. It seems my travels have been filled with some very interesting history!
My visit also included the famous Loretta Chapel which was constructed in the 1870’s. The chapel resembles the Sainte-Chapelle in Paris but it is on a smaller scale. Before the chapel was completed, the architect died suddenly leaving the builders to realize it lacked a stairway to the choir loft. Due to the chapel’s small size, a standard staircase would have been too large. The story is that a shabby looking carpenter appeared at the chapel and offered to build a staircase. He used a small number of primitive tools including a square, a saw and some warm water and constructed a spiral staircase. The identity of the carpenter is not known. When the staircase was finished three months later the carpenter was gone. The spiral staircase is twenty feet high and has two complete revolutions up to the choir loft. There are no nails or apparent center support. It is an incredible piece of mastery!
Another historical landmark in the Santa Fe historical district of interest was the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi, commonly known as Saint Francis Cathedral which was built during the three year period 1714 to 1717. Here are a few photos, including one of Saint Kateri Tekakwitha (1656-1680) the first North American Indian to be promoted to Saint. In her final years, she lived in a Jesuit mission south of Montreal in what was then known as New France.
Here are a few additional photos that you may find interesting. Enjoy!
Stay tuned and find out where I’m off to next!! 🙂