Friday, 10 June 2016 01:15

Charles D. Miller, Territorial Engineer

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Thursday, 09 June 2016 15:49

A Near 100-Year, Coast-to-Coast Journey Now Complete

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Wednesday, 11 May 2016 01:34

Lovato Golf Links - Santa Fe

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Lovato Golf Links  -  Santa Fe

Years ago I was doing some work on Seville Rd off E. San Mateo Rd. near the intersection of Old Pecos Trail.  Next to the house on which I was working, was an unusual-looking building at least by Santa Fe standards.  It sort of looked like a rustic clubhouse.  I asked my client if he knew anything about it.  He said it was once a golf course clubhouse and that this neighborhood was once a golf course.

On investigation I found that the area south of E. Cordova Rd, west of Old Pecos Trail to Don Gaspar was once a golf course called "Lovato Golf Links". The Chamber of Commerce  maps of the City of Santa Fe from 1920-1930 show an unnamed road in this location with the following:  "to Lovato Golf Links".  At this time this was beyond the City's southern boundary.

The Palace of the Governors, Photo Archives had this interesting photo. 


Courtesy of the Palace of the Governors Photo Archives (NMHM/DCA)

Negative Number 149933

Photographer:  William H. Roberts

Title: Mr. Simms of Albuquerque at the golf links, Santa Fe, New Mexico

Date: circa 1925        


In the distance, to the NW of the tee, can be seen the old State Penitentiary near the current intersection of Cerrillos Rd. and St. Francis Dr.  Notice in the photo a complete absence of piñon-juniper; this view today is totally obscured by trees.  The tee was of compacted soil, the fairway of native vegetation.  Another of Roberts' photos shows a "green" of compacted, raked sand:  a real environmentally conscious course.  It was probably by default, as they didn't have elaborate sprinkler systems then, nor water availability.

For some reason this course isn't mentioned in the city Directories of the period.  It appears to have been short-lived as "to Lovato Links" disappears from the C of C maps in the early 1930's.

New Mexico historian,Ralph E. Twitchell, (1859–1925) authored a book/pamphlet in 1925 entitled the "City Different".  In it is a list of things to do in Santa Fe, one of which was:


               Country Club & Lobato (sic) Golf Links " of the most complete in NM."


The late Pancho Espstein, a Santa Fe New Mexican columnist and avid golfer, wrote a column on golf, and one was a brief history of Santa Fe golf courses.  In it he mentions the Mesa Golf Course located in what is now the Sol y Lomas neighborhood off Old Pecos Trail, north of Rodeo Rd.  The Mesa Club was founded in 1900.

I believe his location is incorrect because a New Mexican article dated Aug. 18, 1900 reports the burning down of the Ramona School at "the head of Don Gaspar", the same location as the Lovato Links. The article goes on to say that the large structure was the home of a local merchant by the name of Goebbel and that the rest of the building was occupied by the Mesa Golf Club. I believe the Mesa Club morphed into the Lovato Links.

And to clinch my research as to location, I remembered that Charles Lindbergh and his wife Anne in 1929 did an aerial photo survey of New Mexico and Arizona archaeological sites.  Not all of the photos were archaeological, and there are peripheral photos of non-archaeological locations:  three of Santa Fe.

One of them is a panorama of Santa Fe taken from the south looking north (Palace of the Governors, Photo Archives, Lindbergh 1929, neg.#130333).  On this photo is shown the Lovato Links, all nine holes, at the location I described with a clubhouse in the center of the course.

Happy Golfing!


Monday, 09 May 2016 21:13

Planting With The Moon

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Tuesday, 26 April 2016 17:33

Santa Fe Plaza Tunnels Myth

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Santa Fe Plaza Tunnels Myth

In the early1980's, I worked at Los Llanos Bookstore in the Spitz Building (72 E. San Francisco St.) on the south side of the Plaza.

It is a late 19th century building with a full basement of stone walls. In the wall abutting the Plaza was a bricked up doorway.  The story was that this opening led to a series of tunnels that connected the Spitz Building and others on the Plaza to the First National Bank and the Palace of the Governors, La Fonda Hotel, Catron Building, etc.

Why?  No one really knew but many had their theories, all supposition.  To this day you still hear people ("tour guides") repeating this yarn. 

So as usual I headed off to the Chaves Library to see if I could find any documentation.  After an hour of looking through files (archaeological, historical & architectural), I found not one mention.

One of the ever helpful staff suggested I call Cordelia Snow, an archaeologist with the Dept. of Cultural Affairs.  I phoned her, introduced myself, and told her what I was up to.  Her initial response was a laugh.  She too had heard these stories and told me that she and her husband, David, had done numerous excavations on the Plaza over the years and never once found evidence of tunnels.

The Palace of the Governors doesn't even have a basement and so a tunnel to it would be superfluous.  I doubt the bank would have wanted a tunnel into its basement for security reasons.

Snow said that she too was familiar with these sealed doorways and went on to explain what they were for.  These basement doors led to chambers under the sidewalks in front of many commercial businesses on the Plaza and were used to access freight elevators to bring goods down to the basement level instead of through the front doors.  Anyone who has been to NY, Chicago or any other big city has seen this type of freight elevator still in use today.

End of story.  End of myth.

* * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * * *

p.s. When I originally posted this article I immediately deleted it.  Within an hour an alert reader notified me to the following:  a website called Legends of America has an article, "NM Legends: Haunted La Fonda Hotel of Santa Fe".  I had seen this article when surfing the Internet but ignored it as just another ubiquitous tale of Santa Fe ghosts.  But buried in this article is the following line in reference to the Exchange Hotel, the former name of the La Fonda in the late 19th, early 20th centuries before it became a Harvey House in the early 1920's.

"Sometime during this period several tunnels were constructed underneath the hotel that lead to the courthouse."  Vague, but interesting.  I emailed the author as to her source but never heard back.

I again called Cordelia Snow and asked her for her opinion.  Her response, and I quote with permission, was "Hogwash".

I went down to the La Fonda and talked to John Nuanez, the head maintenance man of 37 years for his knowledge of said tunnels.  He, most obligingly, took the time to show me the basements of the hotel as they now exist.  He in all of his years of crawling about every nook and cranny of the hotel had never seen any sign of tunnels, or doorways leading to them. 

Would anyone with any hard documentation of these tunnels please post them in response.  Otherwise I am assuming that Plaza tunnels are just another Santa Fe myth.


Monday, 25 April 2016 22:42


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