restricted access 4: Promoting Santa Fe the AT&SF Way—Then and Now
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Chapter Four PROMOTING SANTA FE THE AT&SF WAY—THEN AND NOW The Santa Fe Fiesta In the 1930s, the AT&SF continued advertising Indian Detours and La Fonda, but the railroad also started to branch out to promote other attractions and events.1 While continuing to publicize historical sites, the AT&SF began sponsoring cultural events. To attract people to the old capital, the AT&SF helped to revive and to promote an important celebration called the “Santa Fe Fiesta.” Established in 1712, the Santa Fe Fiesta was held only sporadically thereafter, gradually disappearing from the Santa Fe social calendar. After a lapse of 150 years, Edgar L. Hewett, director of the Museum of New Mexico, revived the Fiesta in 1919.2 In 1920, the Santa Fe Fiesta came under the auspices of the School of American Research, with Hewett as the Fiesta’s director. Born on a farm in Illinois, Hewett became a teacher in Missouri’s Tarkio College, soon rising to the position of college president.3 He later moved to Santa Fe and began promoting the cultures of New Mexico as early as 1903. With funding from the Archaeological Institute of America, Hewett established the School of American Archaeology in Santa Fe. By promoting the school with an objective of encouraging new enrollment, he drew attention to the town of Santa Fe and the fascinating cultures 63 found in the area. Some historians believe Hewett to be the individual most responsible for putting Santa Fe in the national spotlight, and the Santa Fe Fiesta was one way to showcase the town.4 The Santa Fe Railway, however, was the first company to market the town as a tourist destination. Long before the revival of the Fiesta, Hewett had maintained a close working relationship with W. H. Simpson, advertising manager for the AT&SF. Hewett provided black and white prints of Pueblo archaeological sites for reproduction in the AT&SF brochures; in return, Simpson gave train travelers copies of the summer school bulletin for the School of American Archaeology in Santa Fe.5 The AT&SF also assisted Hewett in promoting the Fiesta by offering discount rates to tourists who wished to experience the three-day celebration, which was restructured to give each of the three major ethnic groups of New Mexico a day of celebration. The railroad provided free advertising by including articles about the event in its own publications. The August 1920 issue of The Santa Fe Magazine featured an article promoting the Fiesta and urging visitors to attend. The article promised “those among our readers who spend their vacation in and about Santa Fe and viewing this fiesta will never regret it. It is the ultimate in something different.”6 The following month the same magazine reported that “last year’s three day event was marvelous in its interest and beauty .”7 The Fiesta program in 1919 offered a glimpse into “three great bygone ages of the Southwest—the Indian, the Conquest, and the Martyr epochs.” On the first day, Saturday, a parade of “braves” from surrounding Pueblos performed dances and presented various religious dramas on the Plaza in front of the Palace of the Governors. These presentations included the “Race of the Rain Clouds” and “Painting of the Flutes.”8 Each Pueblo performed dances, including Tesuque Pueblo’s “wonderfully significant and mystic Basket Dance” designed to greet autumn and the return of water to the earth. The Taos Pueblo presented its “famous Sunset ceremony, which [was] the most charming episode in the San Geronimo Fiesta,” held annually in September.9 The evening of the first day ended with Spanish dances by performers attired in costumes from Castile and Aragon.10 On Sunday, the Fiesta focused on the Spanish conquistadors, who reached Santa Fe almost eighty years before the Pilgrims set foot on 64 CHAPTER FOUR American soil. The day also celebrated the reconquest of 1692, when Don Diego de Vargas took Santa Fe back from the Pueblos for recolonization . A demonstration called the De Vargas Procession, led by a lineal descendant of de Vargas “in gorgeous costume,” celebrated the reconquest of Santa Fe.11 Monday, the third and last day, bestowed honor to the Franciscan martyrs, and included a memorial parade for the padres who were killed before and during the Pueblo Revolt of 1680. The event that evening concluded at a grand ball with guests costumed in Spanish and Mexican attire. The author of one article boasted that the entertainment would be “unique and extraordinary even for America.” The Santa Fe Magazine article enticed rail travelers...