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.

More Santa Fe photos at my main website.

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K. Martinez said...

When I read the word "chapel" I thought "huh?" It definitely looks cathedral in style. The spiral staircase is gorgeous. When reading your description and the legend behind it I kept thinking of Julie Harris climbing the spiral staircase to the top in the 1963 Robert Wise film "The Haunting". Nice post! Thanks, Dave.

Anonymous said...

Dave, I'm glad you had a good trip to Santa Fe. We visited a couple of years back when I had business in Albuquerque, we tacked on 4-5 days to the end of that trip to see the old city and some of the smaller towns on the back roads.

Santa Fe is a great place to visit, so much history, scenery and art interspersed with great food and beer. I was surprised to hear how old the city was, founded by the Spanish before Plymouth Rock.

The only complaint I can offer is that Santa Fe feels "static" and petrified, especially in comparison to New Orleans, almost as old, but much more "alive". Just my impression.

Thanks for sharing the great photos.