Old Santa Fe Today walking history guide updated and revised

Old Santa Fe. Nostalgia for Old Santa Fe continues intoxicating countless residents and visitors.

As much as the art and artists and scenery and people tickle the imagination about Old Santa Fe, it’s the buildings which are its face in many ways. Their smooth, tannish red Adobe walls obscuring time. What have they seen?

Those of us intoxicated by Santa Fe find it is the place itself which has a hold on us. Few places can do this. New Orleans. New York. Santa Fe.

History, architecture and culture come alive in an engaging updated guide to Santa Fe’s culturally significant properties. Originally published in 1966, “Old Santa Fe Today” has been an invaluable resource for decades used by writers and scholars exploring the history and architecture of Santa Fe.

This newly revised and updated fifth edition of the classic reference book features new color photography and has a complete inventory of properties—now approximately one hundred—including those recently added to the Historic Santa Fe Foundation’s “Register of Properties Worthy of Preservation” since 1961.

Spitz Gardesky House. Photo by Simone Frances.
Spitz Gardesky House. Photo by Simone Frances.

Featuring eight new maps, the book serves as a walking tour guide. Small enough to stuff in a backpack, thorough enough to satisfy even those steeped in this history, consider it a companion when walking the streets of town.

Each property entry includes revised and expanded narratives on its architecture, history, and ownership, providing social and cultural context. Among the Register are the former homes of past influential artists and writers such as Olive Rush and Witter Bynner.

The William Penhallow Henderson House, 555 Camino del Monte Sol, was the home of the famed painter and craftsperson and his poet wife Alice Corbin Henderson. Constructed over a decade from 1917 to 1928 and designed in the Spanish Pueblo Revival Style, it would serve as a model for other artist home studios in the heart of the Santa Fe art colony.

The de la Peña house located at 831 El Caminito is a nineteenth-century Spanish Pueblo adobe farmhouse owned by the de la Peña family for eighty years. Artist, writer, and historic preservationist Frank Applegate purchased the home in 1925. In the late 1930s, the National Park Service added the house to its Historic American Buildings Survey, an honor reserved for the most important historic structures in the United States.

The homes of Freemont Ellis, Randall Davey and Gustave Bauman – artists I admire – were all detailed in the book and of particular interest to me.

This book performs an unusual trick, simultaneously quenching and enhancing my craving to return.


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