The Guadalupe Loop
SFAOL contributor Elaine Pinkerton
From her book "Santa
Fe On Foot"
Time: 45 minutes
features: A historic but semi-abandoned railyard, examples of
Spanish Mission architecture, the oldest still-standing church
dedicated to La Virgen de Guadalupe, a striking multicultural
mural, the city's oldest Catholic cemetery, several buildings
with Historic Society of Santa Fe plaques, and a good workout.
GUADALUPE STREET DISTRICT, a remarkable pocket of Santa Fe,
grew up in conjunction with the railroad activity of the late
1800s and early 1900s. For a while it sank into decay and deterioration,
but over the past couple of decades it has enjoyed a commercial
renaissance, with former residences, warehouses and flophouses
being turned into boutiques, galleries, crafts shops, a theater,
restaurants, a gourmet shop, and so on.
it is a most appealing district. In addition to all the new enterprises,
it contains the Santuario de Guadalupe church, some buildings
plaqued by the Historic Santa Fe Foundation, echoes of the old
"Chile Line" railway, and the sprawling rail-yard property
itself-the last major open space in central Santa Fe, set for
a large-scale renovation.
walk is a gentle, flat, two-mile loop. Begin at the intersection
of Guadalupe and Garfield streets, about half a mile southwest
of the Plaza. The old-style Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe
Railway depot, now used for local train rides and freight,
is set back from Guadalupe Street; and the brick-faced former
Denver & Rio Grande Western Railway station, now a popular
restaurant, is right on the street.
leaving the rail-yard area, take special note of the architecture,
not only of the AT&SF depot but of several nearby homes and
buildings on several side streets as well. This distinctive California
Mission Style was used by the railway company throughout the
Southwest, and is a unifying aspect of the Guadalupe Street area.
across from the depots is another historic landmark. Now called
University Plaza and housing stores and offices, the tall
(by Santa Fe standards) three-story tan stucco building with a
tin roof was an early "University of New Mexico." Like
many ventures in the West after the Civil War, it grew out of
vigorous church-related activity.
a Rev. Horatio Ladd of the Congregationalist Church was sent to
be head a certain Santa Fe Academy. He brought his family with
him, but found Santa Fe to be grubby and unpleasant-"a rough
Western mining region." A year after arriving he founded
his own school, the so-called "University of New Mexico."
Its declared purpose was to provide a Protestant Christian education
to this benighted area and aid the Territory's moral development.
The first classes, for 67 students, were in Ladd's home.
grew, and in 1882 Ladd began constructing an impressive structure
to house his university. It was a three-story red-brick building
named Whitin Hall, after a wealthy donor. It contained classrooms
and a 25-bed dormitory; but by the time it was completed in 1887,
Ladd turned over the enterprise to another minister. The university
struggled financially, and by 1893 it had become Santa Fe High
1920s the building was the Franciscan Hotel. Later it served as
St. Mary's Convent and eventually the Garfield Apartments, a notorious
flophouse through the 1960s. The renovation and conversion to
University Plaza took place in 1978.
north on Guadalupe Street. Just beyond the railroad area you pass
the former State Records Center for Archives. Though the
archives themselves now are housed elsewhere, the old structure
still is enhanced by a vividly painted multi-cultural mural,
which is stunning to look at, both from across Guadalupe Street
and then up-close after crossing the road to study the details.
The topics in the almost-block-long mural represent the Native
American, Hispanic and Anglo cultures, and much of New Mexico
that this is a short walk, so you can feel free to linger. In
the mural are medicine men, a bull, and a depiction of the coming
of the railroad, as well as New Mexico's first European settlers,
the corn goddess holding a test tube and a microscope, and a mysterious
face looking in both directions. There is a fiesta scene, a deep
gorge cut through the countryside, dramatizing the conflict between
science and ecology. Whatever you think of the quality of this
work, it is uniquely New Mexican.
north on either side of Guadalupe. An impressive example of Spanish
Mission architecture on the east side, until a few years ago a
car-body shop and now a collection of shops. Within the same block
on the west side is an old stone warehouse that now is a cooking-equipment
store. Built in the 1880s, this is the oldest stone structure
used for business purposes in the city.
in mind that you're retracing the route of the Denver &
Rio Grande Western Railway, nicknamed the "Chile
Line" because it served New Mexico's agricultural heartland.
Old photographs show the tracks going directly down the street.
The narrow-gauge line was abandoned and the rails torn up shortly
before World War II.
north up Guadalupe and soon you reach the Santuario de Guadalupe
on the left. At this spot on the south bank of the Santa Fe River
are two churches nestled together. In the foreground is the ancient,
restored adobe shrine to Our Lady of Guadalupe; behind it is the
modern Guadalupe Church, built in 1961.
older church, which dates from about 1777, is regarded as the
oldest extant building that honors the patroness saint of Mexico
and much of Latin America. The church has been altered many times,
and the present form resulted from a major mid-1970s restoration,
when the church was in danger of decay and collapse. But efforts
of the Guadalupe Historic Foundation, the shrine was returned
to an 18th-century form.
the Santuario is used for dramatic, musical and artistic presentations
as well as for religious services. Take time to go inside, look
at the exhibits, and absorb the tranquil effects of the soft lighting
and thick adobe walls. Dwell a bit upon the Santuario's past,
its importance as a parish church, and its place near the end
of the Camino Real, which connected Santa Fe with Chihuahua, Mexico.
Admission is free; donations are accepted.
visiting the Santuario cross the bridge over the Santa Fe River.
To the right, across the street from the church, is DeVargas
Park. It is the site of many community events, and not long
ago added a skateboard area. With trees and tables, it's a good
picnic spot. Then cross Alameda Street and continue north on Guadalupe.
Though there is often heavy traffic along this stretch, good sidewalks
make walking easy and convenient.
by the back of the Territorial-style Hilton Hotel and an interesting
mix of local businesses. Soon you will reach Paseo de Peralta,
a broad intersection with traffic lights. To the north across
the four-lane Paseo you'll see the DeVargas Shopping Center and
the fascinating Rosario Chapel and cemetery. Wandering
through this sprawling Catholic cemetery gives fascinating insight
into the life and times of old (and modern) Santa Fe. This is
well worth a meandering detour from the main walk. But now let's
return to it.
right and walk east (toward the Sangre de Cristo Mountains) along
the Paseo. When you reach the juncture with Griffin Street, which
has a traffic light to help you cross, turn right and head south.
You'll pass the Santa Fe Judicial Complex, one of many
examples of downtown urban renewal. Formerly a junior high school,
it was renovated into a collection of courtrooms in the 1970s.
Other nearby examples include the Sweeney Convention Center, a
former gymnasium, and City Hall, formerly Santa Fe High School.
just a couple of blocks, you reach the Y intersection or Griffin
and Grant streets. In the fork of it is the large, attractive,
pueblo-style First Presbyterian Church. This is the oldest
Protestant church in New Mexico.
right, as Griffin melds into Grant, is the Pinckney R. Tully
House, built in 1851 and restored in 1974 by the Historic
Santa Fe Foundation. Its bright red faux-brick façade represents
a style that enjoyed great popularity in the 1890s and was an
attempt to make Santa Fe adobes look more "American."
low former home contains 10 rooms. It was built by Pinckney Tully,
the son of a French-Canadian trader. It has served as home for
several prominent Santa Feans, and has also been used for apartments.
In recent years it has housed a law firm and now a boutique-reflecting
the gentrification of Santa Fe in recent years.
Grant Avenue to the A. M. Bergere House, also plaqued by
the Historic Santa Fe Foundation, the former home of Alfred Maurice
Bergere, for whom it is named. It is a stately, two-story, balconied
edifice set back amid large trees and a lush lawn. Built in the
1870s for officers' quarters, the Bergere House was part of the
Fort Marcy military reservation. Of six houses built in this neighborhood
for such purposes, it is one of two still extant. (The other is
the Hewitt House, behind the Museum of Fine Arts.)
an Englishman of Italian ancestry, occupied the house after the
U.S. Army abandoned Fort Marcy. After many renovations, the house
is now an office building.
walking south on Grant Avenue, and note the striking building
at the corner of Johnson Street. Now a bed-and-breakfast inn,
this stately brick home was built by a ranching family, the Windsors,
around 1903. Later it was lived in by a Judge Robinson.
block along Grant is filled by the pueblo-style Santa Fe County
Courthouse. Grant ends at a main thoroughfare, where Palace
Avenue becomes Sandoval Street. Turn right here. An ample sidewalk
around the heavily trafficked left-hand curve will take you back
to another crossing of the Santa Fe River.
before the river, at the southwest corner of Sandoval and West
San Francisco, you pass a Territorial-style commercial building,
dating from the 1700s, which used to be part of the Ortiz family
estate. It's now part of the Hilton Hotel complex.
south, you pass once more through DeVargas Park. Continue on Sandoval
to Montezuma Avenue. Turn right on Montezuma and take it one block
back to Guadalupe, cross the street, and you will once more be
back at the railroad yards-and, presumably, your car or the person
who was assigned to pick you up after this stimulating walk.
order "Santa Fe On Foot" or other books by Elaine Pinkerton, visit