Welcome to the traditional village of Agua Fria, a community rooted, by history and values, to the resource –“Cool Water”– from which it takes its name. Archaeological digs show that this land was inhabited as far back as 3,000 B.C. The village itself considers its founding date to be 1640, the date of the first recorded settlement by the grandparents of Major Roque Madrid who received a land grant in 1693 from General Don Diego de Vargas in reward for his military service.
The village sits on an alluvial plain: a flat stretch of land with rich topsoil deposited over time by the Santa Fe River. Water, fertile soil and a slightly longer growing season made the spot attractive for farming. As more land was granted and more ditches connected from the River to the villager’s plots, Agua Fria became the bread basket for nearby Santa Fe, providing food and firewood to its bustling neighbor five miles away.
The two communities were connected by El Camino Real, now called Agua Fria Street. The waters of the Acequia de la Agua Fría ran along both sides of El Camino Real. You can still see a section of the old drainage channel around the State Supreme Courthouse.
Five miles was a long trip by wagon, so the village residents petitioned to have their own place of worship. A local donated the land, and in 1835, San Isidro, the beautiful church named for the patron saint of farmers, was built.
Just two miles square, the community, bounded on the east by Siler Road (or Maez Road, according to Neighborhood Scout); by Lopez lane on the West; by Rufina on the south; and by State Road 599 on the north, has fewer than 3,000 inhabitants, according to the 2010 census. But by dint of history, character and resources, the little village has had an outsized impact on greater Santa Fe.
Writing in the Green Fire Times, local resident William Henry Mee, said, “…without this tiny community, Santa Fe may not have prospered to the extent it has. …The land for the three major electric lines and the gas line entering Santa Fe, the major roads of Rodeo, Cerrillos, Rufina, Agua Fria, West Alameda, Zafarano and SR 599, as well as the sewer lines along Cerrillos Road, Rufina Street Agua Fria Road and Santa Fe River north, were “donated” by the people of Agua Fria.”
To preserve and honor the community’s heritage and character, local residents organized and, in 1995, succeeded in getting their community designated a “Traditional Historic Community.” To this day, villagers gather every May 15th for a feast day honoring the saint. The ceremony includes a traditional Blessing of the River.
This post would not have been possible without the curiosity and photographic skills of Cliff Boltz, who agreed to visit the village with his camera and harvest its charms.
Visit the website of Agua Fria Village for historic photos, meeting minutes and community updates.
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How do you spell South Capitol? Or is it South Capital? South Cap is one of Santa Fe’s most beloved downtown neighborhoods. Look on the web and you’ll find the name spelled both ways. So which is it: capitAl or capitOl?
Although their spellings are almost the same, the two words refer to two different things: one, a city; the other, a building. A capital with an “a” is the seat of government for the state. Santa Fe is the capital of the state of New Mexico. The building where a state’s legislative body meets is known as “the capitol” with an “o.”
You know this. We learned about capitals and capitols in elementary school. So, why is everyone so confused?
Because both words refer to a location. The question is, are we describing the neighborhood for its location within the city, or relative to a specific landmark: the capitol? If we consider this neighborhood a place that falls in the southern sector of the capital city, it could be South Capital, with an “a.” But if the neighborhood is named for its location relative to the state’s capitol building, then it would be South Capitol, with an “o.”
Like many, we think the right answer is South CapitOl. Here’s why:
Although South Cap is one of Santa Fe’s older neighborhoods, and thus could have gotten its moniker back in the day when it was one of the few neighborhoods in the southern part of the capital city, it is just the first of many neighborhoods that are south of The Plaza. Lovato Grant and Sol y Lomas are two others. South Capitol is, however, the neighborhood most directly south of the capitol.
The official website for the Rail Runner, the commuter rail service that from Santa Fe to Belen, names the station between Alta Vista and Cordova “South Capitol.” That’s one official stance. On the other hand, the Santa Fe Multiple Listing Service spells the neighborhood South Capital?
How do YOU spell South Capitol?
Current Homes for Sale in South Capitol
- $879,000 : 714 Gildersleeve, Santa Fe2 beds, 3 baths
- $828,000 : 218 E Buena Vista St, Santa Fe3 beds, 3 baths
- $675,000 : 114 E Buena Vista, Santa Fe3 beds, 2 baths
- $850,000 : 114 Valencia Road, Santa Fe4 beds, 3 baths
- $995,000 : 664 Don Gaspar Ave, Santa Fe5 beds, 4 baths
See all Real estate in the South Capital tract.
(all data current as of 7/23/2017)
Listing information deemed reliable but not guaranteed. Read full disclaimer.
“Well-curated; a breath of fresh air; a unique shop with a marvelous aesthetic.” Head to La Bohème’s Facebook Wall and you’ll see love notes from past shoppers whose words suggest they are both clothes-savvy and worldly. Indeed, La Bohème is a women’s clothing store for those in-the-know: about fabrics, history, cultures and style. More than just a women’s clothing store, this boutique also carries antique silver jewelry; Nigerian indigo-dyed bags; delicate cottons; handmade paper and hats by Albertus Swanepoel –the diverse mix is satisfying for the senses and the sensibilities.
Owner Margaret Beattie takes pride in stocking items that are ethically and sustainably sourced and made by artisans impassioned about their work. Her commitment to excellence and fair-dealing dovetails powerfully with that of her suppliers. Their shared perspective creates mutually supportive bonds and unique opportunities. The tiny shop has hosted trunk shows with the likes of Christina Kim of Dosa and Gasali Onireke Adeyemo, who teaches traditional Yoruba batik and Adire (tie dye) around the country.
Margaret also has an outstanding collection of antique and contemporary Navajo and Pueblo jewelry. Many of the pieces were purchased Margaret’s mother-in-law, the artist Teal McKibben. McKibben originally sold art and jewelry in the same locale, then named La Bodega.
Margaret’s product knowledge is deep and her vision is strong. Perhaps because of this, scouts from other women’s clothing stores have slipped into the store, casually querying about her sources and connections. But true individuality is self-renewing. You might find some of these items elsewhere about town, but you won’t find them all, nor will you have Margaret, guiding you with back stories and a collector’s eye for the exquisite.
Running the show alone means that Margaret is occasionally pulled in two directions. While regular hours are 11:00 -5:30, it’s best to call ahead to ensure the shop is open during scheduled hours.
At this writing, there are six restaurants on Canyon Road. Beginning at the base of Canyon are Café des Artistes and Caffe Greco –both offering patio and indoor seating. Each has its fans with Café des Artistes lauded for its savory sandwiches and owner hospitality and Caffe Greco attracting raves for its Salsa and Green Chile Cheeseburger.
Just before the junction of Gormley Lane, in what was once the main house of the McComb Compound, is The Compound Restaurant, a classic destination for fine dining since the sixties.
The Compound offers a seasonally varied menu. Don’t miss the polenta with wild mushrooms. The back courtyard is charming summer venue with its flowers and fountain. The lively yet intimate bar inspires pop up parties between visitors. Reservations are recommended, even off-season.
Geronimo, located at 724 Canyon Road in the Rafael Borrego House, built in 1756, is acclaimed for its consistent quality. Elegant dining rooms, beautifully balanced flavors and smooth service make for an exceptional experience. The intimate bar is a pleasant refuge for quiet conversation.
In the 800 block, are two distinct, popular options: The Teahouse offers a small, but delightful menu for breakfast and lunch. Their “oatmeal” –a combination of black sticky rice, steel cut oats, and coconut milk– is heavenly even without the added fruit. I love the fresh, bright flavor of the Confetti Eggs. There are plenty of top notch salads, panini, quality coffee and, of course, a range of delicious teas worth exploring.
Just across the street is El Farol restaurant, cantina, music venue and dance stage. In the eighties, the old cantina, with its rough wood floor and wrapping of murals, was one of the few places you could count on to hear live music. The walls of this fun and funky cultural womb would have much to tell. Today the cantina still hops with music, and in summers, there’s flamenco in the courtyard. Or you can just enjoy the savory small plates or entrees in the restaurant, housed in a rambling old home, or on the portal which offers streetside seating for the action on Canyon Road.
Take this as a rough sketch of the options. If you like, what you hear, dig deeper. All of these dining spots merit further exploration.
Awesome sunsets, giant cultural heritage, 300+ days of sunshine and miles of art makes Santa Fe a perennial favorite on lists of Best Places to Live and Retire. The most recent accolades come from CBS MoneyWatch. The Ten Best Places to Retire talks up our abundant and accessible outdoor recreation, the iconic Opera house and the wide-range of outlets to exercise the mind and feed the spirit. No mention of our fabulous food or the myriad of locally grown or flavored creative wonders (Caldera Gallery, Wise Fool, Meow Wolf, Axle Contemporary. Or the tireless, Behind-the-Scenes activists for artistic expansion (The After Hours Alliance, Red Cell, Joseph SantaFe Pulse. But that’s just more for newcomers to discover.
“All those amenities will cost you: $380,000 is the median home price,” concludes