Holiday Amaryllis, San Felipe De Neri, by Douglas Johnson (HOLIDAY GREETING INSIDE)

Holiday Amaryllis, San Felipe De Neri, by Douglas Johnson (HOLIDAY GREETING INSIDE)

Regular price $21

9 cards, 10 envelopes

When the Coronado expedition arrived in the vicinity of modern Albuquerque, in 1540, that part of the Rio Grande valley was occupied by the Tiquex nation of the Pueblo Indians. They resisted conquest but were no match for the Spanish military then equipped with horses, cannons and armor.  Many of the villages were quickly subdued while those that resisted were destroyed, the surviving inhabitants fleeing to the mountains.

Santa Fe and Bernalillo became large settlements while ranches extended into the Albuquerque area.  By 1706 a chapel dedicated to San Felipe de Neri and a plaza were built on the site of today's Old Town.  By 1793 the chapel had fallen into disrepair and Pueblo Indians from Valencia and Tome were ordered to construct a new and larger church adjacent to the older chapel.  Due to constant attacks by nomadic Navajos and Apaches, the town failed to grow.  After the American conquest in 1846, the nomadic Indians were forced into captivity and trade goods flowed into Albuquerque with the opening of the Santa Fe Trail.

When Archbishop Lamy arrived from France, he reformed the Spanish church, introduced French priests and invited the Jesuits to establish themselves in Albuquerque.  Many architectural revisions were made to San Felipe de Neri at this time.  The ornate gothic towers made of wood replaced the fragile adobe bell towers.  They echoed the European styles of the American East Coast tastefully imposed upon the older structure.

The the Santa Fe Railroad arrived in 1880, Albuquerque expanded eastward to embrace the railroad.  The newcomers brought American settlers and culture while Old Town remained Spanish-speaking and unchanged.  San Felipe de Neri church remains today as the centerpiece of Old Town Plaza among galleries, shops and museums.