Investigative Research
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historic research

Santa Fe, NM

Santa Fe, New Mexico, established in 1607, is the second oldest city founded by European colonists in the United States. Only St. Augustine, Florida is older. It's long history of Indians, Spanish, Mexicans, and pioneers have led the city to be one of the most haunted in America. Furthermore, the city was built over an abandoned Tanoan Indian village where no doubt, Indian burial grounds might be found beneath the city's depths.

Santa Fe is one of the few cities that offers a full schedule of “ghost tours” and “ghost walks” year around, with as many as five operators conducting tours from Santa Fe's historic plaza. Unfortunately, the only one that was operating the Tuesday night we were there was completely booked.

Haunted La Fonda Hotel has been providing a pillow for weary travelers since 1922, but the location itself has been called home to some kind of inn or “fonda” since Santa Fe’s earliest days. When Santa Fe was founded in 1607, records show that an inn on this location was one of the first business established in the new settlement. According to local lore, court was held in the original adobe hotel, as well as executions, when guilty offenders were hanged in the lobby.

Street Cart where we had lunch on the southeast corner of the Plaza.

I just had to take a picture of this "tour bus."

The Loretto Chapel, constructed in the 1870s, is believed to be the first Gothic structure built west of the Mississippi. It served as the Loretto Academy, operated by the Sisters of Loretto. A design flaw existed in the chapel, as there was no way to get to the choir loft from the main floor. Many carpenters were consulted for a solution, but all of them felt that a traditional stairway would take up too much room. Most suggested that a ladder be used or the balcony be reconstructed.

The Sisters sought divine guidance, and on the ninth and final day of their Novena, a mysterious carpenter appeared who designed and constructed a circular stairway to the loft. His “miraculous stairway” contains 33 steps in two full 360-degree turns, with no center support, nor is it held from the sides. Upon completing the stairway, the carpenter disappeared without receiving payment for his work. Some years later another carpenter (a true craftsman in his own right!) added the handrail.