Post by Vera Marie
*The numbers on this map do not show Tahoma’s stops. To see what the numbers mean, click on the map to go to its source, WikiMaps.
As we plan our trip to the Santa Fe Indian Market this coming August, I am thinking about the way that Charnell and I were able to walk in Quincy Tahoma’s footsteps as we looked for clues to his life in our many visits to Santa Fe. Thanks, Quincy, for giving us a tour of Santa Fe.
Stop One: Santa Fe Indian School
The first and most obvious place on the Tahoma Trail is the campus where he went to school from 5th grade to post graduate. The school is not open to visitors, but you can drive by on Cerillos Road. Alas, the board of governors of the school decided in 2008 to destroy some of the historic buildings. Architect John Gaw Meem, who changed the look of Santa Fe, added the Santa Fe Pueblo Revival look back in the 1933. You can see some historic SFIS photos here. The faculty housing being demolished in these pictures was built in the earlier “Eastern” style (possibly dating back to the 1800’s), but additional buildings torn down that year included some with murals painted during Tahoma’s time at the school (and by Tahoma). However, the property is managed by the northern Pueblos who have sovereign rights to do what they decide is proper, regardless of the cries of historical preservationists.
Stop Two: The Plaza Area
You can visit several locations here that are related to Tahoma. For instance, he frequently showed paintings at the Gallery, which is now the New Mexico Museum of Art on the NW corner of the Plaza.
Proceed north on Lincoln to Federal Way and turn left. That area contained court buildings and law offices where Tahoma sold his paintings.
Back on the Plaza, you can see The Palace of Governors along the north side of the Plaza. Tahoma worked at the Laboratory of Anthropology when it was located behind the Palace of Governors which runs along the north side of the Plaza. (Today it stands on Museum Hill, off the Santa Fe Trail south of the city.)
When he had a studio with photographer T. Harmon Parkhurst, he went to work each day at 112 Don Gaspar Road, just off the Plaza.
In later life he struck up friendships with Jim Silva who owned a nightclub near the Plaza, and Marie Strosser, who owned Meridian Jewelers on the Plaza. It was Marie’s paintings that Charnell inherited and started her search for the story of Tahoma.
The Lensic Theater, where he sometimes took girlfriends on dates still stands at 211 West San Francisco Street, where it is now a non-profit concert venue.
On the opposite corner of the Plaza, behind the house at the corner of Palace and Washington would have been a small building that housed the Indian Club where Tahoma hung out during World War II.
Stop Three: Location of The Jail
Proceeding up Washington away from the Plaza, you will see the Santa Fe Library on the right. That is the site that used to be occupied by the Santa Fe City Jail where the Navajo artist was frequently incarcerated for drunkeness.
(Tune in tomorrow for Stop Four and Five as we tour Santa Fe on the Tahoma Trail. In the confusing way of blogs, you can find Stops Four and Five ABOVE this post.)
The photo of Santa Fe Indian School comes from Flickr with a Creative Commons License. Please click on the photo to see more about the photographer.
Experts on Santa Fe, who write a lively blog, have done a walking tour. You can see their Santa Fe Traveler’s Blog with a walk around the Plaza here.
Have you visited Santa Fe and The Plaza? Do you like to follow in the footsteps of a famous former resident when you visit a place?