On Location in Santa Fe: Palace of the Governors

Palace of the Governors Built Like Fortress

by G G Collins  (Copyright 2014)

In Lemurian Medium, reporter Rachel Blackstone visits the museum to meet former priest, Father O’Brien, who will help her learn astral travel. She must journey to Lemuria to rescue a friend.
The Palace of the Governors has witnessed four centuries of Santa Fe history.

The Palace of the Governors has witnessed four centuries of Santa Fe history. Copyright G G Collins

When you first see the Palace of the Governors in Santa Fe, it likely won’t resemble any palace you’ve seen. It is nothing like the Palace at Versailles or Buckingham in London. Think more Wild West, less European. Built in 1610, the building blocks were made of mud and straw, dried to adobe bricks in the abundant sunshine. Like its European equivalents, it has seen war, revolt, prosperity, want and peace—sometimes a bitter peace.

The long portal is much nicer than the first efforts with its vigas protruding through the brown adobe finish. The structure is used daily by artisans selling their works, each a member of the state’s Native tribes.

Gaining entry through the doors at the Palace is awkward at best.

Gaining entry through the doors at the Palace is awkward at best. Copyright G G Collins

The building encompasses the entire north side of the plaza. It is the oldest public building in continuous use. It was built as a seat of government in what was considered to be an untamed isolated frontier. For this reason, the walls were made four feet thick. The entry to the courtyard on the west side is a small door. It was purposely made too small for the average person so it is awkward to enter. That gave soldiers protecting the palace the upper hand as invaders had to step over and duck at the same time to get through the entrance.

Lew Wallace, author of Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ, was also the territorial governor during the turbulent late 1870s. After a day of edgy negotiation with Billy the Kid in the spring of 1879, he wrote the last scenes from his study in the palace during a fierce storm. Wallace huddled near a shrouded lamp; windows heavily shuttered fearing imminent attack during the Lincoln County War. The conflict was an Old West range war over a dry goods trade which accelerated into massacres and revenge killings.

The holes in floor fascinated. No one seems to know why they are there. They’re not long enough for an escape tunnel, but perhaps they had been used to hide valuables or even a person. Because the original floors were packed earth, it was easy to see why digging holes might be a natural for hiding nearly anything

Native American artisans at the Palace of the Governors

Native American artisans at the Palace of the Governors. Copyright G G Collins

The artists and jewelry makers sit on the porch—rain, shine or snow—selling their beautiful work to visitors hoping to take home a little piece of New Mexico. There is a seemingly endless supply of pottery, jewelry and sand paintings.

During the Christmas season, city crews wrap garland all around the Palace portal (porch) making it festive for the season.

Be sure to visit the New Mexico History Museum while at the Palace of the Governors. The beautiful new museum is just across the Palace courtyard. The museum also offers historical tours of Santa Fe. 

Call 505-476-5200 or check out: www.NMHistoryMuseum.org for more information.

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About G G Collins

Writer of Paranormal Mystery Series, Cozy Mystery Series, Teen & Young Adult Fiction. Reporter. Blogger.

Posted on January 5, 2014, in About, Lemurian Medium, On Location in Santa Fe, Uncategorized and tagged , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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