The Cienega and the Hospital: How a Marsh Shaped Downtown Santa Fe

Cordelia Snow

Sparks, SAR Boardroom

Tuesday, November 13, 2012, 3:00–4:00 pm, Free

The Cienega de Santa Fe, 1873The Cienega de Santa Fe, 1873Photograph by Timothy O’Sullivan.The Cienega de Santa Fe, 1873Photograph by Timothy O’Sullivan.

Hundreds and hundreds of years ago, the Santa Fe River meandered across a wide flood plain as the river flowed west and south before it joined the Rio Grande above modern Cochiti Pueblo. At some point, one of several oxbows in the river’s channel was pinched off and formed a cienega, or marsh, at the base of the foothills on the north side of the river. This cienega became a focal point for settlement first by Native Americans and then by Spanish colonists. Later, the presence of the marsh dictated the placement of a hospital constructed by the Sisters of Charity after their arrival in Santa Fe in 1865. Cordelia (Dedie) Snow is a historic sites archaeologist with the New Mexico Historic Preservation Division.

Sponsored by SAR President’s Council and The Historic Santa Fe Foundation

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