Vacation Santa Fe, New Mexico ~ Photographs of Oldest Church and Oldest House in USA

Adobe construction in Santa Fe, NM

Lots of adobe construction in Santa Fe, New Mexico
Lots of adobe construction in Santa Fe, New Mexico | Source

Santa Fe, New Mexico Vacation


While those of you who live in Europe and elsewhere who are used to buildings that are used through the centuries over and over again for various purposes might not be greatly impressed with the age of the reputed oldest church and the oldest house in the U.S.A., pictures will be shared of a vacation to Santa Fe that my mother and I took some years ago and where we found these structures. By United States standards, they are truly old!

My husband and I actually honeymooned in Santa Fe, New Mexico many decades ago, and we also visited these historic sites.

Santa Fe is a charming place! It is also distinguished as being the oldest and highest Capital city in the United States.

Santa Fe - Art & History

Santa Fe, New Mexico


Santa Fe was originally inhabited by native Indians. Through the years Indians such as the Anasazi, Pueblo and Apache among others have left their marks.

In the early part of the 1600's Spanish settlement was established and the first name of this colonial capital was La Villa Real de la Santa Fe de San Francisco.

During westward expansion of the United States in 1846, the Spanish rule was ousted. But the flavor of this largest city in New Mexico has retained influences from the settlements of all of those who have preceded the present day residents.

Building codes are strict and limitations are set as to the appearance of any new construction so as to keep the charm and preserve the historic nature of this old city.

Situated at an elevation of around 7,000 feet surrounded by the foothills of the Sangre de Cristo Mountains (Sangre de Christo means "Blood of Christ" in Spanish) the unique and charming Santa Fe, New Mexico presents an ambiance like no other American city.

It is no wonder that Santa Fe attracts not only tourists, but has become a mecca for artists who capture a sense of this "Land of Enchantment" via their selected mediums, whether it be in sculptural form, paintings, tapestry, jewelry or other expressions.

Other forms of art such as music, dance and opera are also well represented. Numerous art galleries flourish in this setting!

Built around a central plaza with streets radiating out from there, much of Santa Fe can be explored on foot. Dazzling treasures await discovery for tourists and residents alike.

Location of Santa Fe, New Mexico

A markerSanta Fe, New Mexico -
Santa Fe, NM, USA
[get directions]

San Miguel Chapel in Santa Fe

Sign outside of the oldest church.
Sign outside of the oldest church. | Source

San Miguel Chapel


Cited as the oldest church in the United States of America and in continual use since the 17th century, this is definitely a site to visit for those who appreciate history.

The original 5 foot thick adobe walls withstood the Pueblo uprising of 1680 when the native Indians revolted against the mistreatment and religious domination of their Spanish rulers at that time.

The Christian Brothers operate the church.

St. Michael's High School is adjacent to the church.

Oldest Church in the USA in Santa Fe, NM

My mother standing outside of the oldest church in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
My mother standing outside of the oldest church in Santa Fe, New Mexico. | Source

San Jose Bell


The old San Jose Bell which was hung in the tower of the oldest church in America and which was rung through the years countless times now is displayed in the souvenir room since 1951.


The bell bears the Spanish inscription which means "Saint Joseph pray for us, August 9 of 1356."


Just think of the generations of people who have heard the ringing of that old and historic bell!

San Miguel Chapel in Santa Fe

Look at the date on that beam inside of San Miguel Chapel!
Look at the date on that beam inside of San Miguel Chapel! | Source

San Miguel Chapel altar

Looking toward the altar inside San Miguel Chapel.
Looking toward the altar inside San Miguel Chapel. | Source

Interior of San Miguel Chapel


The old rustic hand-carved beams supporting the timbers near the ceiling are certainly dramatic. The natural wood tones against the white-washed adobe walls are counter-balanced by the wooden pews on the floor.

The altar-piece at the front of the chapel is certainly the focal point.

It consists of oil paintings and wood carvings and was constructed at the request of Don Jose Antonio Ortiz in 1798.

This definitely reflects Old Spanish and Spanish Colonial style.

Near the bottom center of the altar-piece is a wooden statue of Santo San Miguel (Saint Michel) that was brought to Santa Fe in the mid 1600's.

San Miguel Chapel Stations of the Cross

One of the Stations of the Cross inside San Miguel Chapel.
One of the Stations of the Cross inside San Miguel Chapel. | Source

Stations of the Cross


As in most Catholic churches, San Miguel Chapel has the Stations of the Cross attached to the interior walls where parishioners and/or visitors can see the story of the life of Christ unfold before their eyes in a representational way.


The picture that I took of this eleventh Station of the Cross portrays Jesus being nailed to the cross.


While not a large space, this San Miguel Chapel has serviced the needs of congregants for centuries and may still do so for centuries to come.

San Miguel Mission Church in Santa Fe, New Mexico

A markerSan Miguel Chapel -
401 Old Santa Fe Trail, Santa Fe, NM 87501, USA
[get directions]

Oldest Church in the U.S.A.

Oldest House in America


The picture below shows my mother standing outside of the oldest house in the U.S.A.

It is in reality a remnant of a pre-Spanish adobe Indian pueblo first seen by white men in the time of Coronado dating back to 1541.

The oldest house is located right across the street from the oldest church.

The video below does a great job of showing much of the interior as well as that of the oldest church and other structures of note in Santa Fe.

Oldest house in the USA, Santa Fe, NM

My mother standing outside of the oldest house in the U.S.A.
My mother standing outside of the oldest house in the U.S.A. | Source

Hopefully you enjoyed this vacation Santa Fe hub and now know a bit more about the oldest church and the oldest house in the USA.

Obviously there is much more for tourists as well as residents of Santa Fe, New Mexico to see and enjoy. Historic Santa Fe awaits your visit!

This terrific video shows Santa Fe's oldest house, oldest church and other notable sites.

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© 2011 Peggy Woods

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Comments are welcomed. 55 comments

Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 7 weeks ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Susie,

It is fun being able to view sites like this in person. Glad you enjoyed the view via this hub.


colorfulone profile image

colorfulone 8 weeks ago from Minnesota

I would love seeing those very old buildings. Its amazing that people can go inside to see the structures. I love visiting old churches with unique interiors. Thanks for the history and the guided tour, Peggy.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 6 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Robert,

Nice that those buildings in Brooklyn, NY are being re-purposed.


Robert Sacchi profile image

Robert Sacchi 7 months ago

Where I grew up in Brooklyn, NY the grammer school I went to and the youth center on the same block are being used for other purposes from what I'm told.


Peggy W profile image

Peggy W 7 months ago from Houston, Texas Author

Hi Robert,

That is interesting that you are seeing some reuse of buildings in a different manner in your area.


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