When I moved back to Santa Fe in 1992 from New York the town still looked like the one of my childhood. Today, many areas are unrecognizable. Here’s a description of a much earlier Santa Fe that was complied by Aaron Martinez in the Winter 2006 issue of La Herencia:
Caminos & Calles of Santa Fe
The roads of Santa Fe were historically named according to their destinations—Agua Fría, Cerrillos, Galisteo, Pecos and Taos. Camino de Chimayó once lead as the main entrance to the Plaza. Calle de San Francisco replaced it later, even though there was a Barrio de San Francisco as early as 1821. Camino de Chimayó left the Plaza in a northwest direction, going toward the barren hills, following switchbacks that eased the terrain, and then went straight into Jacona, but it also forked into Cuyamungue and into Chimayó. According to a Bureau of Land Management map of 1915, there was a primitive road that existed in that vicinity.
There was also the Oñate Trail, named for Juan de Oñate. This road went in a westerly direction from Santa Fe for a few miles, then headed north toward San Ildefonso and San Gabriel, across the river from San Juan. It was perhaps used previously by the Indians who lived along the Río Grande. Much later, there was the Kit Carson Trail, which went from the Federal Building site and passed west of Fort Marcy to beyond Tesuque Hill. It was a continuation of the Army route from the south and later it was the main road north.
High Road to Taos
Another road that exited Santa Fe from Washington Street was called the Taos Road. Today it’s called Bishop’s Lodge Road and leads into Tesuque. In earlier times, the road was used by the Indians when they traveled from Taos into Picurís, Las Trampas, Truchas, Chimayó, Nambé, Cuyamungue, Tesuque, Santa Fe and Pecos Pueblo. It is perhaps the oldest trail in the area. North of Chimayó, the road was called El Camino de los Comanches. Today it is basically the “High Road to Taos.” During the early part of the 20th century you could see Taos Pueblo Indians traveling through Chimayó by horseback on this road to attend the Santa Clara annual fiesta. That road provided the shortest route and was used most often by the Native Americans.
Last Santa Fe Exit
Not uncommon along the different routes were men hauling firewood on burros to Santa Fe’s Burro Alley. Rosario Road was expanded to accommodate growing traffic and to bypass downtown. Today, it is the main road out of Santa Fe, heading north of the city—a portion of U.S. 84/285.