After being on hold for two years the July 4th celebration of pancakes on the plaza will return this year. Most of the major events in the city still take place on the town square. The Santa Fe Plaza has been at the heart of the city’s growth for more than 400 years ago. The wheels of commerce, civic celebrations, and religious devotion have converged on this quadrangular parcel of land with the Sangre de Cristo Mountains as a backdrop since 1610.
History in the Making
Events of historic proportion have taken place on the Plaza starting with the reconquest for the Spanish Crown in 1692. The beginning of American occupation in 1846 also took place on the town square. It was on the Plaza that Don Diego and his soldiers negotiated a peaceful re-entry to the capital city. It was on the plaza that Gen. Stephen Kearny and his soldiers rode into town claiming Sovereignty for the United States.
Over its history, four flags have flown on the Plaza: the main ones were Spain 1610–1821, Mexico 1821–1846 and the United States 1846–2016. The U.S. flag atop the Palace of the Governors got its start there on the morning of August 9, 1846 when Gen. Stephen Kearny declared it for the American government. Sixteen years later the Confederate flag flew over the Plaza for three weeks in the spring of 1862 when the city was under Confederate rule during the American Civil War.
Four historic routes, like arteries extending from the heart, have connected to the Plaza: the Camino Real from Mexico City to San Juan de los Caballeros in Northern New Mexico; the Santa Fe Trail that began in Franklin, Missouri, and ended right on the Plaza; the Spanish-American Trail from Santa Fe to Los Angeles; and Route 66, the Mother Road, from Chicago to Santa Monica, whose original route passed down the block from the Plaza on Water Street.
Manifest Destiny and the 1846 American occupation opened the floodgates of humanity in Santa Fe. This rapid growth led to development beyond the Plaza area. By the mid-1800s, businesses, schools, and government institutions sprung up in areas outside of the Plaza’s perimeter. Fortunately, the 17th-century concept of a community square brought by the Spanish settlers still looks the same.