Tour historic properties on Mother’s Day

By Paul Weideman
The New Mexican

Cordelia Snow and Elaine Bergman have been wondering about the old stone walls on the south bank of the Santa Fe River in the Barrio de Analco. “There were some major flood events over the years that caused a lot of damage in town, but there are those cool stone walls,” said Bergman, director of the Historic Santa Fe Foundation.

She produced a photograph that had been taken from the roof of St. Michael’s College (probably today’s Lamy Building) in 1880 and pointed out tall stone walls on the river. Bergman and Snow, who serves on the HSFF board of directors, think they may have acted as flood walls for the homes on East De Vargas Street. One of those is the “Tudesqui” house, a Foundation-owned home that is on this year’s Mother’s Day tour of historic properties.

People who do the self-guided tour may wonder the same thing as they walk to and from the “Tudesqui” house, a territorial-style abode that was owned by merchant Pablo Delgado during the 1850s. (It’s nickname comes from another merchant, Roque Tudesqui, who owned the adjoining house on the west.)

Delgado’s brother, Felipe B. Delgado, was the owner of another of this year’s tour homes. Located at 124 W. Palace Avenue, it dates to 1891. The Delgado family owned the house — known for its small, ornate, second-story porch and the beautiful interior — for more than 75 years. It was purchased and renovated by Santa Fe’s most famous architect, John Gaw Meem, who donated it to the Historic Santa Fe Foundation in 1980.
The Mother’s Day tour this year is centered on the Santa Fe Plaza, over 400 years old and still the heart of the city. Each of the four properties on the tour is within a 5-minute walk of the Plaza. At another stop, people will see a space that is usually not open to the public: the foyer of the old Women’s Board of Trade Library at 120 Washington Avenue. On the walls are fresco paintings done in 1936 by the renowned Quaker artist Olive Rush. The muralist and illustrator’s first exhibition was at the Palace of the Governors just four years after the 1610 founding of Santa Fe and she moved here 10 years later.

The building was remodeled by Meem in 1932. Today it houses the Museum of New Mexico’s History Library and Photo Archives.
On hand to answer questions will be Kathy Flynn, author of Public Art and Architecture in New Mexico, 1933-1943: A guide to the New Deal Legacy, and Bettina Raphael, a Quaker and owner of Southwest Conservation Laboratory, who has devoted significant time to the study and preservation of Olive Rush materials.

The fourth tour stop for Mother’s Day walkers is the Oliver P. Hovey House at 136 East Grant Avenue. Like the “Tudesqui” and Delgado homes, this is owned by the Foundation. Have you ever looked closely at the outside walls? The “bricks” are painted on. “When the Foundation purchased the property in 1976, the false brick was covered with stucco and long forgotten,” according to an article in the most recent issue of the HSFF newsletter. “An early photograph revealed walls painted in false brick. When existing stucco was removed, fragments of the painted brick were uncovered and it was decided that the brick finish would be restored.”

The tour on Mother’s Day, Sunday, May 12, takes place from 1 p.m. to 4 p.m. A $5 ticket gives you access to all four properties. Tickets and tour maps are available at each tour stop.

For more information, including advice about parking, call 983-2567.

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