Walk five minutes from Hotel St. Francis and you’ll find a mission church that has stood at the crossroads of New Mexico history for over 400 years.
San Miguel Mission Chapel sits proudly above the corner of Old Santa Fe Trail and East De Vargas Street, just a few hundred feet from both Santa Fe’s Plaza and the Roundhouse.
Originally built in the early 17th century to serve the area’s soldiers, laborers and native people, the San Miguel Mission Chapel is key element of the Barrio de Analco. According to oral tradition, the Barrio de Analco was originally founded by Mexican Indians from Tlaxcala and is a National Historic Landmark. San Miguel is just steps away from the De Vargas Street House, which is one of the oldest buildings in America.
San Miguel holds the distinction of the oldest active mission church in the United States, and welcomes visitors daily as well as worshipers for Sunday services.
Robin Jones, executive director of Cornerstones Community Partnerships, says the building really stands at two junctions of history. A few hundred years ago the corner was the center of town, she says; it’s where El Camino Real met De Vargas Street.
And Cornerstones Community Partnerships is helping to ensure that San Miguel continues to stand tall over the city.
The non-profit organization works with partners, like Hotel St. Francis, to restore historic buildings and affirm cultural values while heavily involving youth in its projects. It also encourages using traditional building materials and practices. For example, the facade of San Miguel is covered in an adobe plaster made using the building’s original bricks among other materials, according to Jones.
For the last few years, the organization and more than 400 volunteers have worked to restore the building to the way it looked in the 1960s.
So far, roofs have been repaired and the church’s south, west and north walls have been restored. This summer, workers will take on the bell tower.
The beautiful interior and simplistic majesty of its exterior makes this witness to history well worth a visit.
Hotel St. Francis has been donating a portion of each room stay to Cornerstones to help fund work on the iconic tower that has stood proudly above the changing city for so long. Hotel St. Francis is proud to have Cornerstones Community Partnerships as our Community Partner.
If you visit:
San Miguel is located at 401 Old Santa Fe Trail.It is open daily from 10 a.m. until 4 p.m.
Admission is $1.00.
Sunday Services include a Latin Mass at 2 p.m. and an Ordinary Mass at 5 p.m. A Gregorian chant Mass is held at 4 p.m. on the 3rd Sunday of the month.