I had an amazing time in Texas, in fact I think I might have come home an honorary Texan ... With a two day trip home, we decided to stop in Santa Fe, New Mexico to see the miraculous stair case. The stair case is found at the Loretto Chapel there, and is part of the first Gothic church built west of the Mississippi River.
Here is my husband in front of the chapel, which was built for a small Catholic boarding school in the 1870's. The chapel was based on a plan by a French architect, but though it had a charming choir loft, the plans had omitted a stair case to reach it ...
Several years after the chapel was built, and after having had several local carpenters come by to see if they could solve the problem, the staircase remained a dream.
Then the sisters had a special prayer event, where they prayed to St. Joseph, patron saint of carpenters, not being Catholic, I don't recall what they called this period of prayers, but it was several days long, and toward the end a carpenter stopped by, with his donkey, and offered to build a staircase. He worked on the the stair case for three months, and then packed up and left without asking for payment, or even reimbursement for materials.
Over the years, many builders and architects have looked at the stair case, and have been unable to understand its construction. It appears to lack any support structure, and yet it stood daily use for over a hundred years.
The wood was also unusual. Experts in wood grain have studied it, and have found that it is closest in grain to a pine found in Alaska ... but its not a match.
The chapel has other lovely, antique features, and we enjoyed our time there.
The stained glass windows were beautiful.
But it was the miraculous stair case that left us in awe ...
It was so fun to see it in person, after having heard about it for years. What a lovely way to break up our long trip home.