Thursday, September 22, 2016

2016 Western Trip – Days 61-62 – Loretto Chapel

We didn’t do much on Sunday making the decision to wait until Monday for a trolley tour around town rather than fight the weekend crowd.  So we headed down to the Loretto Chapel area only to find that apparently everyone else had done the same thing and the noon and 12:30 tours were sold out but we could buy tickets for the 2pm tour.

Since the Chapel was on my list, we went in for a visit – the engineer in me wanted to see the famous staircase.  As the story goes: when  the chapel was completed in 1878 there was no access to the choir loft 22 feet above the rear of the building and carpenters called to look at the problem concluded that a ladder would be the best solution.

Legend says that the Sisters of the chapel made a novena to St. Joseph and on the ninth and final day a man showed up with his toolbox and a donkey looking for work.  Months later the staircase was completed and the man disappeared without thanks or pay and some concluded that it was St. Joseph himself who had come to answer the Sisters prayers.

I can’t speak to the implications of the story but it certainly was fascinating to me and I was totally impressed with the design of the staircase as they usually have a pole on the inside or supports on the outside but this has neither.  It makes two complete 360 degree revolutions from top to bottom.

The rest of the small chapel was equally impressive beginning with the chancel area and including the sculptures around the wall depicting the story of the crucifixion of Christ.

Loretto Chapel is now a private museum operated to preserve the chapel and the staircase and it is used for special events such as weddings.

Since I was only lukewarm on the trolley tour, I wasn’t willing to wait an additional two hours for it, so I headed back to Sweetie and the girls did some things they were already planning to do downtown while awaiting the tour.

I did a few things in preparation for the next day’s departure and got ready for my delayed BD supper of grilled steak.  Bev had bought filets for Pat and her and a nice looking porterhouse for me.

Photos can be enlarged by clicking on them.

Have a great day and thanks for stopping by Almost Heaven South.


9/18 – 9/19/16 event dates


  1. That Chapel was the highlight of our visit to Santa Fe. Absolutely gorgeous.

  2. What an amazing staircase engineered over 200 years ago, some of the sights to see are wonderful.

  3. LOVE your photos Larry. What a gorgeous chapel. I adore visiting history buildings like this. Beautiful. Have a great weekend!

  4. I've heard the story about the staircase and the mystery builder before - it's so fascinating! What a beautiful chapel and the staircase is truly stunning.

  5. Larry, That's a beautiful chapel and the staircase is both stunning and a terrific piece of engineering design, especially for the time when it was built. Take Care, Big Daddy Dave

  6. That staircase is stunning. And you got great photos.

  7. That is a free floating spiral staircase, and it takes a very talented carpenter to build one; they're probably significantly rarer than hens' teeth these days. What a beautiful chapel! The legend is lovely.


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