Route 66 Caravan

America's Biggest Road Trip!

Route 66 Caravan Road Log:
May 15, 2003

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San Miguel Oldest Church in U.S.

Santa Fe is a fascinating town full of historical surprises around every corner. Across the street from the oldest house in the country is the San Miguel Mission which is the oldest church in the country. I was quite taken by its simple, yet intriguing lines. This was how I imagined and old Southwestern church should look. The facade that the visitor sees today was completed in 1955 after the last major restoration. This is perhaps one of the oldest sections of Santa Fe as it is built on the ruins of an old Indian Pueblo from the around 1200 A.D. If Santa Fe had RR tracks back in the 1600s, this would have been the area known as "Across the Tracks" so to say. This was the Indian section of Santa Fe. The Spanish section was the Plaza and Palace of Governors of course.
San Miguel Mission

Tlaxcalan Indians from Mexico built San Miguel Mission in the early 1600s . It was used as the gathering place for the Pueblo Indians in the Pueblo Indian Rebellion of 1680. The church bell was rung to signal the assault on the Spanish that drove them out of the area for 10 years.

The church roof was burned and destroyed during the rebellion. General Diego de Vargas resettled Santa Fe and had a new roof constructed in 1694. Repairs to the church continued until 1710. From 1610 through 1862 Franciscan padres ran the church.

Church Interior


San Miguel Altar Back
Hand carved and painted Altar Reredos.

Our Lady of Guadalupe
Beautiful Icon from 19th Century Greece was a gift from the Vatican.


Beautiful works of religious folk art from New Mexico's Spanish Colonial era can be found in San Miguel.

San Miguel Santos
The Santos of San Miguel

Crucifiction on Buffalo Hide
Buffalo Hide Painting from the 1600s

  In 1859 the Christian Brothers came into possession of the church. Under the direction of Bishop Lamy it expanded to include a school. In 1887 a school was built at San Miguel. These dormitories next to the mission date back to the 1880s.

San Miguel Dormatories


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