Thursday, April 30, 2015

Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, Santa Fe, New Mexico

This is the Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi in Santa Fe, New Mexico. This Catholic Cathedral was built from 1869 through 1886  in the Romanesque style, although the style is not completely obvious as the spires planned for the church, a prominent feature of that style, were never installed.

The cathedral was built on the location of an earlier church, La Parroquia, which had been built in 1714 through 1717, and which itself stood on the location of a church built in 1626 that had been destroyed in the Pueblo Revolt.  A small portion of the earlier church was incorporated in the construction of the cathedral.

An interesting feature of this church is that it is located only two blocks away from San Miguel church.  This tends to show the Catholic concentration of the community at the time these various churches were built, as they were being built in close proximity to each other.  Santa Fe retains at least one more downtown Catholic church today.

Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Our Lady of Light (Loretto) Chapel, Santa Fe, New Mexico

These photographs depict the Our Lady of Light (Loretto) Chapel in Santa Fe, New Mexico.

Built from 1873 to 1878 for the Sisters of Loretto, who ran a school nearby, the chapel is famous for its spiral staircase, which has perplexed observers for decades. The staircase lacks a visible means of support, was built with only hammer and saw, and features only wooden nails.  The builder of the staircase is unknown, and left before being able to be paid.  Some claim the staircase as miraculous.  

The chapel was deconsecrated in 1971, following the closure of the school in 1968.  Today it is privately owned and features a museum and is used for a wedding chapel.

This chapel was built basically next door to the  Cathedral Basilica of St. Francis of Assisi, and was built while the cathedral was under construction.

Tuesday, April 28, 2015

San Miguel Church, Santa Fe, New Mexico

This church is the oldest church in the United States.  Built between 1610 and 1626, the church is still an active Catholic church offering two Masses on Sundays.

This church serves as a reminder that our concepts of North American settlement are often somewhat in error.  This church in is the American Southwest and has been in active use for over 400 years, a figure longer than any church in the American East, and a demonstration that much of what we associate with European civilization in North America was already further West at an early stage than we sometimes credit, and that what became the North American civilization was already less European, in significant ways. This church, for example was constructed by regional natives.