Tuesday, May 03, 2016
Trip to Santa Fe, Pt. 2
Next door to my hotel was the Loretto Chapel; day and nighttime views for you.
When I hear the word chapel, I think of something small and quaint; this 1878 structure seemed more like a mini-cathedral.
The showstopper here is the wooden spiral staircase.
From the Chapel's website:
Unable to find a decent way to get to the choir loft above without compromising seating capacity, legend says that the Sisters of the Chapel made a novena to St. Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters. On the ninth and final day of prayer, a man appeared at the Chapel with a donkey and a toolbox looking for work. Months later, the elegant circular staircase was completed and the carpenter disappeared without pay or thanks.
After searching for the man (an ad even ran in the local newspaper) and finding no trace of him, some concluded that he was St. Joseph himself, having come in answer to the sisters' prayers. The staircase has two 360 degree turns and no visible means of support. Also, it is said that the staircase was built without nails—only wooden pegs. Questions also surround the number of stair risers relative to the height of the choir loft and about the types of wood and other materials used in the stairway's construction.
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