Summer 2021 Tour Santa Fe, New Mexico Episode 4: Santa Fe Railyard Arts District and Guadalupe Historic Area

Santa Fe Railyard Arts District and Guadalupe Historic Area

We set out to replenish our fresh fruits and vegetables on Saturday, June 26, 2021, and found a thriving Farmer’s Market in the Santa Fe Railyard Arts District. Still feeling jittery around crowds without masks, we grabbed what we needed and left. The market runs year round on Saturdays and on Tuesdays from May through November.

Farmer’s Market Rush

The main objective for our visit to the Railyard the following Wednesday was to see the Santuario de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe. On our walk toward the sanctuary, we strolled along the nearby streets, admiring the adobe houses and other buildings unencumbered by herds of people.

Mind the Tracks
John Pugh’s 3-D Mural
Even close up, the lady looks real

The Guadalupe District is listed as one of the oldest neighborhoods in Santa Fe. It became a farming market place in 1880 when trains arrived. The prevalence of the automobile and decline in rail travel led to the community’s decline.

Historic adobe home

In the 1960s, vitality emerged, and the district continued to thrive. In response to the return of train service when the Railrunner Express came to town in 2008, the city kicked off the transportation district revitalization project. Preservation of a public space, local history, and culture were among the project’s priorities.

Renovated historic business building
1941 Dodge 1/2-ton Pickup Truck similar to those used to deliver materials from the train to Los Alamos during WWII

I recently read John Grisham’s Camino Island and Camino Winds that featured a book seller who traded in collectible books as the protagonist. So when I saw the Beastly Books sign advertising collectibles and autographed books, I had to duck in and take a look.

Robots and books

Fans of A Game of Thrones and George R.R. Martin’s other titles would love this bookstore. Martin’s books and books by other authors who write in science fiction, fantasy and horror genres fill the shelves in Beastly Books.

Flying saucers and masks

From the coffee bar in the corner came the aroma of fresh brewed coffee that followed us throughout the store as we admired the collection of memorabilia.

Coffee bar to the left, costume to the right
Reclining Lady

Santuario de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe

Our Lady of Guadalupe is the oldest church dedicated to the Virgin Mary that is still standing. The shrine commemorates Mary’s four apparitions in 1531 to Juan Diego, an Aztec Indian from Tepeyac, Mexico. The twelve foot statue, Dona Georgina Farias’s Nuestra Señora (Our Lady) de Guadalupe, was installed in 2008.

Our Lady of Guadalupe statue and sanctuary

The sanctuary, originally built by Franciscan missionaries between 1776-95, was constructed on a Latin cross floor plan like other churches and cathedrals. The adobe building had a flat roof, walls three feet thick, and a dirt floor. At some point, a pitched roof covered the flat one, and a spire replaced the original adobe bell tower.

Santuario de Nuestra Señora de Guadalupe

A fire in June 1922 destroyed the church’s roof, collapsed the spire, and damaged painted frescoes inside. The walls and altar survived. Saved from the fire is one of the most valuable treasures in the church, the altar screen. The painting, signed by Jose de Alzibar, a renowned painter from Mexico, depicts Our Lady of Guadalupe in the center. The images in the four corners represent the 1531 encounters with Juan Diego.

Painting behind the altar survived a fire in 1922

The church was rebuilt and used continually until 1961, when the new church opened next door. A restoration project in 1976-78 added a bell tower and a new wooden floor.

Thick adobe walls and paintings

The chapel is now used as an art history museum that contains Archdiocese of Santa Fe’s collection of New Mexican Santos (carved images of the saints) Italian Renaissance paintings, and Mexican baroque paintings. The chapel celebrates mass daily and is a place of prayer.

Visitors not allowed up the stairs

On our way back to the truck, we stopped in at Iconick Coffee Roasters to see if they had decaf coffee beans. Music played in the background, and most of the headphone-wearing patrons sat in front of laptops. When a few of the coffee drinkers looked up, their faces seemed to say, “What are you doing in here?” which gave me an eerie feeling.

Iconick Coffee Roasters

A similar vibe came from the three baristas who stood behind the counter. None of the young men looked busy, nor did they smile or acknowledge our presence until Jon asked if they sold decaf beans. We made our purchase and left out the back door as soon as we could.

Iconik back entrance/exit

We used the beans a few days later and were sorry we hadn’t sampled the coffee before buying. It was a light roast, and we prefer darker varieties. A lesson learned.

A few blocks down the street from Iconik we found Boxcar Bar and Grill where we ate lunch. This was a great people-watching place with soccer fans cheering and groaning as the action played out on the big screens and busy servers dodging patrons who got in their way as they ran from table to table taking orders, delivering drinks and food, and checking to see if all was well. I suspect they kicked off their shoes and passed out on the couch when they got home after their shift.

Boxcar Bar and Grill

What we didn’t have time to explore at the Railyard were the seven contemporary art galleries, nor did we join the historic walk which is offered during the summer months on Tuesdays. These are activities we have added to our list if we ever make it back to Santa Fe.

Need outdoor gear?

Next up: We take a few day trips to see more historical sites.

Safe Travels

2 thoughts on “Summer 2021 Tour Santa Fe, New Mexico Episode 4: Santa Fe Railyard Arts District and Guadalupe Historic Area

    1. So sad about the DEA agent in Arizona. The Rail Runner is only a 100-mile commuter service within New Mexico that runs from Santa Fe to Albuquerque and south to Belen, so it was not involved in the shooting.


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