The Loaded Trunk was founded by Jonna Robison, an interior designer with a deep curiosity and passion for traveling the world, connecting with artisans in different cultures and sourcing unique and beautiful objets d’art. Published seasonally, the magazine features a curated collection of travel, lifestyle, nature, art and design inspiration for a life well lived.
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A crossroads of history and a medley of cultures, a visit to Santa Fe is a unique experience, unlike anywhere else in the country.
Did you know Santa Fe is the oldest capital city in the United States? Sitting at 7199’ elevation, it is the highest altitude capital city. The first governor of the province, Pedro de Peralta, founded the city of Santa Fe in 1610 and named the region La Villa Real de la Santa Fe de San Francisco de Asís (The Royal Town of the Holy Faith of Saint Francis of Assisi), so Santa Fe translates to ‘holy faith.’
Pueblo Native Americans are recorded as inhabiting the area in the 11th century. The Spanish arrived in the 1500’s, marking Santa Fe as the oldest European settlement west of the Mississippi and the capital of the Spanish “Kingdom of New Mexico.” The Spanish planned the city in the pueblo style adobe architecture. Unfortunately, there were years of turbulence between the native Pueblo people, outside Native American tribes (such as the Apache), and the Spanish. The historic Pueblo Revolt took place in 1680.
The Mexican American War was fought from 1846-1848, during which the city of Santa Fe was captured by the US (on August 15, 1846) and the region was officially acquired by the US at the end of the war. New Mexico formally became the 47th US state in 1912.
Today, 23 Native American tribes, Nations & Pueblos reside in New Mexico. 8 of New Mexico’s 19 Native American Pueblos are north of Santa Fe, and many of them are open to visitors (at least, when there is not a pandemic). They are particularly interesting to visit during their celebration and Feast Days when you literally step inside these native cultures and experience a fascinating fusion of indigenous, Spanish and Catholic influences.
Some of the surviving buildings from the early Spanish days include the Palace of the Governors, the oldest government seat in the entire country, built in 1610 by Pedro de Peralta. It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1960 and now serves as a museum. A daily Native American market takes place here, where jewelry and other artisan goods are sold.
San Miguel Chapel is the oldest church in the continental United States, built as a Spanish mission in the adobe style in the early 1600’s. Prior to Covid 19, two services were held in the chapel each day, including one in Latin. On our first visit to Santa Fe many years ago, my youngest daughter became enthralled with the candles and other visitors were afraid she might burn this landmark down. Fortunately, it still stands. The chapel is charming with its simple wood beams and revered retablo.
Artists began coming to Santa Fe in the late 1800’s, inspired by the stark beauty of the New Mexican landscape, blend of cultures and the unique adobe architecture. Georgia O’Keeffe is arguably the most famous of these artists, first visiting this city in 1917 and drawn to New Mexico for many years, until moving permanently in 1949 and living out the remainder of her life in the state.
In 2005 Santa Fe was designated a UNESCO Creative City. In fact, one in ten jobs in the city is in the arts! Many writers and authors reside in Santa Fe, making up the highest percentage in the labor force of writers in the country. A mecca for art collectors, there are more than 250 galleries in this town, making it the largest art market in the US behind New York and Los Angeles.
December 27, 2021
The Loaded Trunk is a travel and lifestyle magazine founded by Jonna Robison, an interior designer with a deep curiosity and passion for traveling the world, connecting with artisans in different cultures and sourcing unique and beautiful objets d’art. Published seasonally, the magazine features a curated collection of travel, lifestyle, nature, art and design inspiration for a life well lived.