Santa Fe’s Population Growth

A promotional photo for the USO during World War II.

After World War II the population of Santa Fe doubled in size to almost 50,000 people. Returning soldiers took advantage of the G.I. Bill. The soldiers received technical training and prosperity followed with different types of industry, from manufacturers to banking. Housing developments grew to accommodate the growing population. In 1956 John Crosby founded the Santa Fe Opera. The outdoor venue became a destination for classical music aficionados for people from around the world. Also in 1956, the Bacigalupa Studio of Gian Andrea was the first art gallery to open on Canyon Road. Santa Fe has the distinction as having one of the highest per-capita-ratio of art galleries in the nation.

The Hippies Come to Santa Fe

In the 1960s during the Viet Nam War the hippies moved to Santa Fe seeking an alternate way of life and continued to shape the city. By the mid 1980s Santa Fe’s charm and ambiance went mainstream and major media outlets began marketing the town as the “Crown Jewel of the Southwest.” Promoted for its temperate climate, breathtaking vistas, and as a cultural and cosmopolitan haven, people from all over, clamor to be a part of the “City Different,” and move to Santa Fe.

Follow the Money

Luxury housing developments began to sprout up and the high cost of housing pushed many of the earlier residents out of town. Tensions between the “haves” and “have nots” began to replace some of the city’s charm. With the advent of the personal computer in the 1990s, a new group of people descend on Santa Fe; those with the ability to “telecommute” to jobs from far-off places. By 2005 Santa Fe became this nation’s first United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization Creative City.

Planet Mars

If our forefathers were plopped down on Santa Fe today they might feel as if they had landed on Mars. All of the changes that have taken place during the past four hundred years would be completely foreign and incomprehensible. But despite this transformation, they would recognize the same civic-minded, creative, intelligent, spiritual, hard working people that they ventured with and encountered when they arrived. In the people of Santa Fe in the 21st century these brave adventurers would see themselves.

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