Santa Fe dollhouse vis-à-vis New Orleans

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I'm posting about this "I'll probably never get to it" project only because we're going to Santa Fe next week for the Burning of Zozobra (the original Burning Man festival, now in its 95th year), and then later to New Orleans for Halloween (so fun!!). Anywho, I love obscure facts like I'm about to share. Since it involves a dollhouse, what the heck, I'll post it here!

Warning: turn your sound down before you click any of the links I'm embedding. Some of them are really loud.

So, little known fact, the same craftsmen who built St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans also built the Basilica of St. Francis in Santa Fe. The current cathedral on Jackson Square in the French Quarter was begun in 1850. About the time it was getting finished, construction on St. Francis in Santa Fe was ready to begin. Bishop Lamy of Santa Fe wrote to the bishop of New Orleans and basically said, "Hey, don't send your workers back to France; we need them out here." So westward they went. Here are the bells of St. Francis tolling out the news when Francis was selected as the new Pope. If you click that link, pay attention to the stonework on the cathedral; it comes up again in a bit.

To make extra money, both in New Orleans and in Santa Fe, those workers did side jobs and built homes. Look around the Garden District and Uptown in New Orleans and you'll see their handiwork whether or not you realize it. They did the same in Santa Fe.

Interestingly, although they were in New Mexico, they built in the style that they already knew: French Louisiana Architecture. They just did it in adobe since that's what was available. Few examples survive but one of them is the Francisca Hinojos house on Palace Avenue. New Orleanians and Louisianans in general may recognize it (pics below) as their style of architecture. That's because it is.

The house almost didn't survive due to a fire about eight years ago. The owner wanted to tear it down after it burned so he could develop the relatively large lot it sat upon, but the City of Santa Fe wouldn't allow him to tear down what remained of the house. He left it sitting open to the elements for a few years hoping the adobe would simply disintegrate beyond repair. Luckily, a developer who specializes in restoring historic homes purchased it and brought it back to life.

I lived in Santa Fe for a few years not far from that house and I know it well. I was heartbroken when it burned and its potential razing was a story I followed closely. It's right across the street from the La Posada Hotel, which is also interesting. The hotel was originally a huge French Empire mansard-roofed house. The old house is still there, it's just that it is now inside the hotel. They didn't tear down the house, they just built the hotel around it. The old front door is in the lobby and through it you enter the original home. If you ever visit, be sure to request one of the Victorian rooms in the old house. They're fabulous. And haunted. Supposedly.

When the Hinojos house burned, I resolved to do it as a dollhouse because I loved it so much. The thought of having it disappear forever just killed me! I have two kits to bash that will recreate it pretty convincingly, IMHO, plus all the necessary components. One of many projects I hope to get to sometime! When we're back from Santa Fe in a few weeks, I'll try to dig out some of that stuff and do a mock-up.

I hope some might find those things as interesting as I do. Below are pictures of the house.

Oh, and earlier I mentioned to look at the stone that built St. Francis Basilica if you clicked that link. Note the front wall in the last picture below. That is built of stone blocks rejected for whatever reason for use on the cathedral. The construction workers hauled it over to the Hinojos house by wagon and built a wall out of it. I love trivial facts like that. :)

The original house before the fire:

I'm planning to do my dollhouse version like this, how I best remember it, with the rusty-red tin roof.

Before the Fire.jpg

 

The house how it stood roofless, boarded up, and rotting away for several years after the fire:

After the Fire.jpg

 

The restored house as it looks today:

Note the cathedral stones used to build the front retaining wall.

Restored.jpg

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Interesting, especially the link between NOLA and Santa Fe.

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3 hours ago, havanaholly said:

Interesting, especially the link between NOLA and Santa Fe.

I'm glad someone found it interesting! I tend to get into historical tidbits that it seems few care about. There is a lot of overlap between the two cities. Without going into *another* essay (learn to edit, Kells!) . . . both are old cities; Spain controlled New Orleans for almost as long as France did, while Santa Fe was the royal capital city of Spain's northern territories; and both were (and still are, I think?) predominantly Catholic. There was a great deal of interaction between the two cities, their respective cathedrals being but one example.

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Back to the dollhouse. Here's the preliminary floor plan. I made one noticeable change, in that to the left of the front door there are two windows instead of one. To center just one, it would have to be right where the interior wall is. There is no interior wall there on the real house (obviously), but I can't do an exact copy of the floor plan without making the house over 60" deep. Not gonna happen.

IRL the house runs front to back and is very long. It's a bit over 4,000 sq. ft. if I remember correctly. All living spaces including the bedrooms and bathrooms are on the ground floor. They're actually office space and have been for years. My mom had her office here when we lived in Santa Fe, so that's really why I know the house. It's where I had my first job! :) I just didn't want to get off on that tangent in my too-long blathering original post.

If I could figure out a way to hinge the front portion with that wrap-around porch, I'd enclose the rear, hinge the entire right side wall and roof, and hinge the front roof as well. I'm starting to really hate rear-opening houses. Several of mine require so danged much space to be viewable all the way around. The base on this one has to be a minimum of 42" wide. I don't know if a turntable would be feasible. Any suggestions?

Hinojos House Floor Plan.jpg

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2 minutes ago, Kells said:

If I could figure out a way to hinge the front portion with that wrap-around porch, ...

Could you make it removable? Maybe just the front section?

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2 hours ago, KathieB said:

Could you make it removable? Maybe just the front section?

I've thought about it. Here's a revised plan with changes in red. This plan would sit flat against a wall and would certainly work a heck of a lot better for me! I'd have to jigger around the bathroom for access. Probably put it in the front hall, which would require fiddling with the stairs and a few doors, but that is all easily done since everything is still in boxes.

Scroll to the bottom to see my hang up for this plan. The red line on the photo indicates the dividing line between first and second floor. Not that the floor extends out over the porch, in case it looks that way. It doesn't, I just had to put the red line there. The ceiling/floor is well below the eave line, creating a knee wall in the attic rooms. This makes them a usable height.

Maybe I'm over-thinking but that knee wall is what's throwing me for a loop in making the front porch and wall removable as one piece. I guess I can try playing around with it when I do a mock-up. I'm just having trouble seeing it for some reason.

Removable Front Altered Plans.jpg

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How fun is this? Porch railing for this house wasn't even on my radar then this popped up. Not exact but close enough to pass, I think! :D

Porch Railing.jpg

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Definitely would pass for the era.

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Back from Santa Fe, had a wonderful time. I chickened out and didn't try to get into the restored Francisca Hinojos house. People are running businesses there. The last thing they need is me wandering in, interrupting their day, and asking to have a look around.

Visited the Museum of International Folk Art. Here are some pics of miniatures there.

Museum of International Folk Art 1.jpg

Museum of International Folk Art 2.jpg

Museum of International Folk Art 3.jpg

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@havanaholly the dolls throughout the exhibits reminded me a bit of the dolls you've made for your creations. They were adorable!

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Thanks, Kells!  That large doll in the bottom photo looks just like the storyteller doll I have, only mine looks more Inuit.

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