Neighborhood Market Watch: Casa Solana

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Comparatively affordable, blessed with broad streets, mature trees and an old-fashioned neighborly feel, Casa Solana is one of our top picks for a first home, downsize, or investment property in the downtown area. Its location, about a mile west of the Plaza, puts it within walking distance of the center of Historic Santa Fe.

Casa Solana is defined to the South by West Alameda. On the North, the border is a bit raggedy and serpentine starting to the West of St. Francis with Alamo. After Alamo’s intersection with Camino de las Crucitas, the border snakes to includes five streets (North Luna; South Luna; N. Placita Circle; C. Placita Circle and Placita Loma.) Then it follows Solana Drive, including its spur street, Caminito Alegre, over to Oak Avenue. From there, it runs down to Alder and Aliso before it hits Temblon: Casa Solana’s western edge.

Many of the streets in Casa Solana are named after trees. Most of the names are in English, but a few, such as Sicomoro and Temblon are in Spanish. Temblon, which means “shaky or trembling” in Spanish, is the Spanish word for the Aspen tree whose leaves tremble and shake in response to a breeze.

Where to play

Just above Casa Solana is the  Frank S. Ortiz Dog Park, a popular, off-leash play place for pooches. Alto Park sits on Casa Solana’s southern border, by the Santa Fe riverbed. Rich in recreational options, Alto Park has tennis and basketball courts, a playing field, a walking/biking path and a pool. The mushroom water feature in the kiddie pool is a big hit with the tots.  There’s also the Casa Solana community pool, located at 1125 N. Plata Circle. The pool is open to all, although the number of memberships is limited.

Where to eat and get things done

The Casa Solana shopping center is a small strip mall that covers a lot of the basics.  La Montanita Coop , a natural foods grocer is shoulder-to-shoulder with Kelly’s Liquors. Wash your clothes at the Solana Laundromat and your car at Zia Self Service Car Wash. Get a trim at the Solana Barbershop or a workout at Santa Fe Thrive or The Dance Station. Hungry? You have five real and distinct restaurant choices from the underappreciated Valentina’s, to Masa Sushi, Pho Kim, Betterday Coffee and Betterday Dine-In with its savory barbeque and snappy coleslaw.

The local elementary school is Gonzales Elementary  a music magnet school.

Neighborhood Founder, Allen Stamm

The subdivision itself was established around 1950 by Allen Stamm, a beloved local builder. The Santa Fe Living Treasures website describes Stamm as “A visionary as well as a man of immense integrity, character, compassion and humanity…who worked always to make [the homes he built] livable, durable, handsome, architecturally sensitive… . His homes featured hardwood floors, Vigas, kiva fireplaces, Nichos and other traditional touches, plus superlative workmanship. ”

Stamm was idealistic, even progressive in his approach to home design. His homes did not have front-yard fences, because Stamm wanted the people living in his houses to get to know each other. Since women did most of the cooking, he hired women consultants to design the kitchens. And he designed garages so that they could be converted into bedrooms as a family grew.

Former Santa Fe Mayor, David Coss, grew up in Casa Solana.

Some years ago, we lived in Casa Solana. We walked our dogs and rode our bikes up and down its undulating streets. We washed our comforters at the laundromat, bought groceries at the Coop, and often walked over to Solana Center for an evening meal. We’ve since sold that home, but retain affection for the close-in and friendly neighborhood.

What’s for Sale?

For up-to-date info on the Casa Solana neighborhood real estate market, go to: Santa Fe Real Estate Downtown.  If you’re interested in buying or selling in Casa Solana, let us put our inside knowledge to work for you.

Visit City-data.com for a detailed statistical profile of the Casa Solana subdivision.

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