Canyon Road was originally named El Camino del Cañón by the Spaniards who came to New Mexico in 1598. The neighborhood provided New Mexico’s indigenous population with water and fertile soil for centuries. In the early days Canyon Road provided a trail for the community of Pecos. Different Indian tribes used the pathway as they traded with each other on Canyon Road. At the turn of the twentieth century Spanish-speaking families filled the adobe homes on Canyon Road. Their modest homes were adjacent to the panoramic background of Picacho Peak, Atalaya, Sun Mountain and the Sangre de Cristo Mountains. Through the 1970s Canyon Road continued as a vibrant Santa Fe neighborhood. Cristo Rey Church, Gormely’s grocery store, the Armenta and Rios wood yards, the Rael tamale factory and Santa Fe’s first gay bar, Claude’s Bar and Lounge, were all an intricate part of Santa Fe’s social scene.
An Artist’s Haven
Since the early part of the twentieth century the name Canyon Road has become synonymous with art. Early artists that lived and worked there include the tinsmith Francisco “Kiki” Delgado and Olive Rush. An advocate of social justice, Rush began the first Religious Society of Friends in her home on Canyon Road. Since her death in 1966 the Quaker heritage that Rush emanated has become an integral part of Santa Fe. The first gallery began in 1956 on Canyon Road when the sculptor Andrea “Drew” Bacigalupa opened his business. Today, fine art galleries on El Camino del Cañón line the famous street .