The Santa Fe Plaza is the heart of the city. It’s growth has continued since its founding 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. Events of historic proportion have taken place on the Plaza, including the re-conquest of 1692 for the Spanish Crown. At the beginning of American occupation in 1846 Gen. Stephen Kearny and his soldiers rode into town claiming Sovereignty for the United States right on the plaza.
Four Flags – Four Routes in Santa Fe
Over its history, four flags have flown on the Plaza: the main ones were Spain 1610–1821, Mexico 1821–1846 and the United States flag since 1846. The Confederate flag flew over the Plaza for three weeks. That was in the spring of 1862 when the city was under Confederate rule. Four historic routes are 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. The original Route 66 passed down the block from the Plaza on Water Street.