Wednesday, January 6, 2010

Consider Me Enchanted

Magnet # 136:  Santa Fe, New Mexico

Material:  Wood

Purchased By:  The Schulz Family

On this day in 1912, New Mexico became the nation's 47th state. The Spanish were the first European nation to make it to the area, building missions and a settlements, like the one at Santa Fe, which they temporarily abandoned due to fighting with the Native Americans there. Eventually, most of the area came under the power of Mexico when they defeated the Spanish in the Mexican War of Independence. France controlled a small portion of the northeastern area of what became New Mexico, which they sold to the United States as part of the Louisiana Purchase. The Republic of Texas tried to claim areas east of the Rio Grande, which they eventually sold to the United States. And through Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo and the Gadsden Purchase, the nation acquired the rest of the land from Mexico. In its days as a territory, which came before the Civil War, the issue of slavery in the area was hotly debated in Congress, although there were only about a dozen there.  And when the conflict broke out, the North and South battled over the territory, even fighting the Battle of Glorieta Pass there.  It also lost about half its land when the territory of Arizona was created. The citizens of New Mexico were a bit more eager than their neighbors in Arizona about achieving statehood, and therefore beat them to it.

As I've mentioned on here before, I visited New Mexico with my folks about a decade ago, and that's the only time I've been there. We rented an adobe condo in Santa Fe that was very authentically decorated and stayed there for around a week. Sometimes, I joined my folks in traveling around the state, and I also stayed at the condo to work on art. We had a really nice time. The landscape was just so different than anything I'm used to - the colors on the rocks there really are the purples and reds that artists use to portray them. We'd sometimes spend hours driving on twisting roads though deserts and mountains. And the animals there are pretty different from what I'm used to here in the South - I remember driving though Santa Fe and being amazed to see a prairie dog community in the yard of a fenced off business complex. They probably drive the buildings' owners nuts, but they were so adorable! Santa Fe was a pretty interesting place, with its vibrant, artistic community, and its unique architecture. Nearly all of the buildings in the city are done in Spanish Territorial or Pueblo style, or at least have a stucco covering - it's required by ordinances - so it has a very distinctive feel that sets it apart from the rest of the country. We also traveled to nearby Chimayo and saw its El Santuario de Chimayo, a church where the dirt is believed to have miraculous healing powers.  As many as 30,000 people visit it every year, many of them on pilgrimages.  All in all, it was a very interesting trip, filled with new sites and experiences for me.

Unfortunately, I wasn't collecting magnets at the time of our visit, though I'd begin not soon after. But when my Dad's sister and her family later took their own trip to the Land of Enchantment, they were able to pick this one up for me. I really like it - it looks Southwestern and very appropriate to represent the artistic feel of Santa Fe. I've since found the company who produced it on the web at  It's a shame that most of their beautiful magnets are focused on the Western parts of the United States, because I'd love to get some more of them, but I just don't see them around here. Heck, none of their examples are even from the Southeast, but I guess some of their wares are appropriate for vendors to sell here. And I couldn't just buy a magnet from them - they only sell wholesale to customers with a retail business license.  Oh well, perhaps I'll manage to get out to New Mexico, and the Southwestern United States, once again, and I might find more of their magnets. I have yet to see Carlsbad Caverns National Park in the state, with its remarkable show cave that features one of the largest cave chambers in the world. And, it's funny that I didn't tour the state capitol, although it really was close by - I think we may have even driven past it. It's considered to be one of the least attractive in the nation- I even read one comment that it's more appropriate for a Taco Bell Headquarters - but I'd be curious to visit it nonetheless. Really, there are so many unique sights and locations in this state that one trip isn't enough to get the full experience. Someday, I'll take another shot at touring the Land of Enchantment.

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