Church of San Felipe de Neri Discover the Allure of Old Town The San Felipe de Neri Church, erected in 1793 on the north side of the square, is the city's oldest structure. It was built as a chapel for the soldiers of the Spanish army garrison that was then located in New Mexico. Today, it functions as an Episcopal church.
San Felipe de Neri was one of five churches that made up the parish of Santuario de Guadalupe. In 1854, after the Mexican-American War, Santa Fe was declared the capital of New Mexico and the military presence moved to that town. As part of its reformation program, the Catholic Church in New Mexico was divided into dioceses, with the first being that of Santa Fe. The mission church at San Felipe de Neri became a cathedral and bishop's residence; today, it is known as the Cathedral of St. Francis Xavier.
The church was designed by Spanish architect Don Francisco Fernandez Rodriguez and built by local volunteers under the supervision of Spanish engineers. Its simple design reflects the colonial architecture found throughout New Mexico at the time. A single nave with a flat roof is enclosed on three sides by a low adobe wall with an entrance flanked by two round towers. The interior of the church has been preserved much as it was when the building was new.
When the original adobe church fell following the long, wet summer of 1792, the villagers rebuilt, and the San Felipe de Neri Church was finished in 1793. This adobe chapel, with five-foot-thick walls, is now the oldest in Albuquerque, and its white towers can be seen from afar. It has been called America's most important Catholic shrine.
The original church was a simple structure with no interior decorations. The nuns who ran the mission were responsible for any artwork they had as supplies came with the Spanish army shipments. They made do with whatever they could get their hands on: wood, nails, paint. As time went by, other items were added to the structure by the parishioners themselves. A wooden crucifix was donated in 1832, and in 1866 a new altar was built. In 1881 an organ was installed, but it wasn't until many years later that it was able to be used regularly because of lack of funds. In 1960 a new church was built about a mile away from the old one; this is now the home of Santa Fe Trail Days, which takes place each year in September.
After the Mexican War, when New Mexico became part of the United States, the population of the country grew rapidly and there was a demand for religious services. At that time, most churches were made of wood, so the people turned to building more churches instead of improving the existing ones.
Buildings The majority of the historic structures in Old Town were constructed between 1870 and 1900, however some are earlier. Only one structure, the San Felipe de Neri Church, has been verified to be from the Spanish colonial period. The city's oldest building is the La Casa Grande, which was built in 1849 by Juan Lopez.
Old Town is a living museum where many of the buildings have been restored or preserved as part of the National Historic Landmark District. Most of the houses were built by merchants who came to New Mexico after the Santa Fe Trail was established by the United States government in 1821. They needed stores for trade with the Indians and settlers moving into the area. These businessmen also served as local officials because there was no other form of government at that time. There are three main styles of architecture: Mexican, American Indian, and Victorian.
There are over 1,000 trees in Old Town with several streets named after different types of trees such as Elm Street, Sycamore Street, and Beech Street. The town's open spaces include two public parks, Los Poblanos Historical Park and San Felipe de Neri Catholic Church Cemetery. Both were originally established by the Spanish government and remain today in their original states despite changes to the landscape through development and urbanization.
Several commercial stations were founded immediately north of the present-day city before the end of the 17th century. The San Felipe de Neri Church in Albuquerque's Old Town Plaza was completed in 1793. It is one of the city's oldest remaining structures and the only one in Old Town verified to date back to the Spanish colonial period.
Albuquerque, New Mexico's History Albuquerque, New Mexico has a history dating back up to 12,000 years, beginning with the existence of Paleo-Indian hunter-gatherers in the region. By 750 CE, these nomadic people had gradually embraced a more settled, agricultural lifestyle and had begun to build multi-story stone or adobe houses known as pueblos.
List of the oldest church constructions in Mexico
The adobe chapel of the Mission San Juan Capistrano, known as Father Serra's Chapel in Father Serra's Church, is today one of California's oldest structures. It was built between 1787 and 1791 by Spanish missionary Father Junípero Serra.
The mission was established by the Spanish crown in 1771 to convert the indigenous people of Southern California to Christianity. The site chosen for the mission was given by the Tongva Indians to Governor Felipe de Portolá of Spain. When the mission was established, it was the only one in California.
The first chapel built here was made of wood and burned down a year after it was completed. The present stone chapel was built between 1787 and 1791 by Spanish missionary Father Junípero Serra. It was modeled after a church in northern Spain where Serra had served as a priest before being sent to California. The interior walls are covered with ornate stuccowork that illustrates the importance of evangelization in California. There are also paintings by Mexican artists working in Los Angeles during the period when the mission was active.
After the founding of Los Angeles in 1819, the mission fell into disuse and was abandoned by the Spanish government. In 1838, the last of the original settlers at the mission died.