Santa Fe's M.O. - Miracles and Oddities

Today we're going to take a little tour of Santa Fe. First stop - the darker side - or "odder" side, not-well-known-side, of Santa Fe.

You've all heard of Stonehenge, located in the UK.

Well, let me introduce you to Stonefridge. Ta DA!

Yes, folks, only in America, can you find art in a closed city dump. If you look closely, you can see the refrigerators held together by metal brackets. These photos were taken back in 2006 on another one of our trips through Santa Fe. You are looking at a legend, because, sadly, the sculpture was taken down.

June 9, 2007 SANTA FE, N.M. (AP) - Goodbye, Stonefridge. Or, if you prefer, Fridgehenge.

Officials in Santa Fe, New Mexico, say a sculpture of more than 100 old refrigerators, stacked and arranged in a ring like England's Stonehenge, was removed by the city last week. Strong wind had toppled much of the 24-metre-high, graffiti-covered structure.

City and state officials say it was a health and safety hazard.

The sculpture was created by artist Adam Horowitz nearly a decade ago.

This next photo is of a mailbox that I spotted while we were driving from the airport about 8 years ago on our first trip to Santa Fe. It caught my eye and I remembered somewhat of it's location. So the other day, Jim, ever the trooper, and I, jumped in the truck and went on a scavenger hunt to search for the mailbox. It wasn't hard to find. It stands out like a, well, like a sore thumb! The height from the top of the finger to the ground is around 5 feet.

Right next to the mail box is an open field, with these odd rock sculptures. This one is called Rock Lizard by Paul Carroll, 1990. Height approximately 8 ft.

This one is called Small Rock Lizard by Paul Carroll, 1990. Height approximately 6 1/2 ft.

I didn't see the name of these two, but I can assume it has "Abacus" in it, can't I? Length approximately 15 feet by 4 feet high.

Believe me, I trampled through the weeds and gathered a bunch of burrs on my legs, socks and shoes, all for the sake of Art! I felt pricks all night, and not in the good sense! LOL!

Now to Santa Fe's lighter side, or miracle side. Wait, I should make the sign of the cross, or pour some holy water on me to cleanse me after my impure thoughts above.

This is Loretto Chapel right near the town square of Santa Fe.

This beautiful chapel was completed in 1878. Here is a photo of the altar.

The gorgeous stained glass window at the back of the church.

But what the people really come to see is the Miracle Staircase.

After the church was completed, it was realized that there was no way to access the choir loft accept by a ladder, which would take up too much space in the small church. The Sisters of the Chapel made a novena to St. Joseph, the Patron Saint of Carpenters. On the ninth and last day of prayer, a man showed up with a donkey and a toolbox looking for work. Months later, the circular staircase was completed, and the man disappeared, without the Nuns being able to pay or thank him. He was gone without a trace. The staircase has no visible means of support, two 360 degree turns, and uses no nails - only wooden pegs. Also there are 33 steps - the age of Jesus when he died. The railings were added later for safety reasons.

The second miracle actually takes place outside of Santa Fe, north about 30 miles, in the tiny town of Chimayó. At the El Santuario (The Shrine) de Chimayó to be exact.

Legend has it, back in 1810, on Good Friday, Don Bernardo Abeyta was performing penances around the hills of El Potrero. He suddenly saw a light shining from one of the slopes of the hills near the Santa Cruz River. As he neared the spot, he saw the light shining from the ground and began to dig with his bare hands. To his amazement, he found a Crucifix. He left his wonderful findings there, and went off to get some neighbors to come see the cross, and to get the priest, Fr. Alvarez. With much fanfare, Fr. Alvarez and a crowd of people arrived from Santa Cruz and carried the Crucifix in joyful procession back to the church. It was placed in the niche of the main altar.

The next day, the Crucifix was missing! Only to be found in its original spot in the dirt up in the hills. Again a procession gathered and the cross was returned to Santa Cruz. Again it was placed on the altar. And...again it disappeared. This happened three times. By then everyone understood that the Crucifix wanted to remain in Chimayó, so a small chapel was built. Quite soon afterward, miraculous healings began to happen. By 1816 the original chapel had been replaced by the current one.

There are three rooms to the church. The first one is the main room where mass is held.

photo courtesy of Elizabeth Anne VanderPutten

A smaller room runs alongside the main room. This room is filled with crutches and canes hanging from the walls, holy pictures, and rosaries. There are letters of testimonials from people describing how they have been cured by coming to El Santuario de Chimayó,

The smallest room, the Posito, or well, is reached only through the second room. The doorway is so low that you have to duck your head to enter the room. The Posito consists of just a hole in the ground, filled with the holy dirt. You can scoop up dirt to take home with you; just be sure to bring your own container. I first heard that the hole "miraculously" fills itself up, but then later read that the priest fills dirt in there every day from the hills behind the church.

Photo courtesy of

Each year almost 300,000 people make a pilgrimage to this tiny little Santurio; 30,000 people alone during Holy Week. El Santuario de Chimayó has been called the, "Lourdes of America".

The grounds of El Santuario de Chimayó.

And that, my friend, is my off-the-beaten-track tour of Santa Fe.
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