There’s only one problem with the fifth edition of the Historic Santa Fe Foundation’s classic Old Santa Fe Today. Every time I dip into it, I get more story ideas. I can’t research and turn them all into fiction! Which is too bad, because there’s a lot of great material in this book.
Old Santa Fe Today was originally conceived as a list of historical properties in Santa Fe. To that end, it still includes a register of properties worthy of preservation, information about efforts to do so, and a brief history of Santa Fe’s built environment. This may sound like a specialist’s book and not something for the average reader. However, the beautifully rendered full-color photos and the details about each entry make it highly accessible.
Not only do the authors provide architectural and preservation information about the buildings in question, they also include a brief history: who built it, who lived in it, and who those people were associated with. I, of course, am especially interested in the older buildings, in particular those in use during the mid-1800s. However, the entries include structures built as late as the 1940s, including the Dodge-Bailey house designed by John Gaw Meem and adjacent to Meem’s own home on Old Santa Fe Trail.
Old Santa Fe Today also includes properties outside Santa Fe proper, including Las Acequias, a hundred-acre farm on the banks of the Rio Nambe, and non-building structures such as the Acequia Madre that has transported water into Santa Fe from the Sangre de Cristo mountains for over four hundred years.
So, whether you’d like to know more about Santa Fe’s historic structures, are interested in historic preservation, want to learn about Santa Fe area history, or just like beautiful pictures, I highly recommend Old Santa Fe Today.