Friday, March 22, 2013

Fort Marcy in Santa Fe, New Mexico

Visited 21 Mar 2013 - We drove from Albuquerque up to Santa Fe to check out the site of Fort Marcy (1846-1894)The drive took about an hour without much to look at except for a lonely monument on the west side of I-25 at exit 257. The monument commemorates the Mormon Battalion who marched from Santa Fe to San Diego at the beginning of the Mexican American War.

Mormon Battalion Monument
Fort Marcy at Santa Fe was established in 1846 by Brigadier General Stephen Watts Kearny during the Mexican War. General Kearny brought a force of 2,500 men into New Mexico from Fort Leavenworth and claimed the territory for the United States. The Mormon Battalion was a part of General Kearny's force and they went on to San Diego and Los Angeles. Part of Kearney's force remained at Santa Fe to hold the territory for the United States and this force built Fort Marcy.
The Site of Fort Marcy Earthworks

Fort Marcy ended up being a split post with the actual fortification on top of a hill overlooking the town and a cantonment located below, just off the town plaza. The upper post was an earthworks fort with a separate blockhouse. That site is now in the Old Fort Marcy City Park but all that remains visible are dirt mounds where the earthworks and the block house were located. There were no interpretive signs or visible evidence of the fortification's remains. Also on this hill is the Cross of the Martyr's.
Governors Palace

Santa Fe Plaza
The lower post was bounded by present day Federal, Washington, Palace and Grant Avenues. It has been overtaken by urban development and only a few buildings remain with a connection to the Fort Marcy era. The Governors' Palace (a long low adobe building facing Santa Fe Plaza) is part of the state's history museum and has been designated a Registered National Historic Landmark and an American Treasure. Admission to the museum is $6 for residents and $9 for non-residents (a disturbing trend in the southwest to soak visitors). The plaza side of the Governor's Palace was lined with trinket vendors and the plaza had a large number of homeless on the day we visited.
Repurposed Officer's Quarters

The Plaza also contains a war veterans memorial in the center and a marker for the end of the Santa Fe Trail.

One of the six original Fort Marcy officer's quarters buildings still exists at 116  Lincoln Avenue. The outside of this building was modified in 1916 into the prevailing Pueblo style and bears no resemblance to the original officer's quarters. The inside is purported to be a "virtually intact" 1870s period officer's quarters.

Nearby are several historic sites including the Cathedral Basilica of Saint Francis of Assisi and the San Miguel Mission Church.

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