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Santa Fe Store No. 2:
The Mysterious White Building

July 1999-February 2000

Ventura Santa Fe No. 1 Santa Fe No. 2 New York No. 1 New York No. 2

I met Elizabeth, we wanted to be together, we lived & worked briefly in this fabulous artist's studio in the heart of downtown Santa Fe. Everyone knows the place. It's that mysterious, run-down white building off Grant, just north of the Plaza. Inside, it was a palace.

On the left, the view as you entered from the parking area. The door in back leads to one of the courtyards. On the right, the view from the other end of the room (from the door leading to the courtyard), showing the door leading to the parking lot.

A view of our living area. The enormous frosted window can be seen on the left, the top of the fireplace on the right.

Life in Santa Fe was so fast, I was just a blurr. Behind me on the right, a corner of the fireplace.

The door on the left led to Elizabeth's massage studio:

There's some exterior shots that haven't yet been developed.

This was part of an estate, originally begun in the late 1800's, when Santa Fe had but a few hundred inhabitants. At that time it was located on the very edge of town. Around 1930 the owners put up this enormous studio for an artist friend, about 40 feet long, 20-ish feet wide & with a beamed roof 20 feet high. For a time I mistook it for a converted adobe chapel, the room had such a wonderful feeling to it. The enormous frosted glass window was on the north side & extended half through the roof, the light was fabulous. The window caught every last flicker of the long Santa Fe twilight. Opposite, on the south wall, was an equally enormous fireplace.

The entire space was originally open & was just too tempting. Early on it became a wonderful sitting room. In addition to this room, there is a long, rambling main house, a converted garage, a gardener's cottage & two courtyards, one of them a beautiful lawn, all enclosed with high adobe walls, in the Spanish/Southwest fashion. Next time you visit streets lined with drab walls, imagine the enchanting, mysterious vistas just behind them. This room, originally intended as an annex, so dominated the estate that its address eventually replaced that of the main house.

After the death of the original owners the estate passed through various hands. Around 1950 it was bought by the "I AM" people, who used it as their headquarters for many years (they later moved elsewhere in town). They painted everything pink. They covered up the beamed ceiling with acoustic tile & used the room for recording sessions (it has wonderful sound). To do that, they chopped off the corbels on the north side (top picture, left side of the ceiling), a mutiliation that cannot be undone. But to their credit, they installed the loft with the sweeping stair & converted the large, ugly kiva fireplace to a rectangular, squared-off English one (a corner can be seen on the right side of the third photo). In the process they created one of the most dramatic interior spaces in all of New Mexico. Old photos of this estate are in the New Mexico State Archives.

The leader of the I AM bequeathed the estate to one of her disciples, who left it to her son Walter (Arthur or Edna can correct me if I'm wrong). Walter ripped out the false ceiling & painted everything white. Since most other buildings in Santa Fe are adobe-brown in color, the place was even more a standout after he whitewashed it than it was before, when it was all pink. And there, for a time, his money ran out. He eventually retired & started fixing the place up. He did the interiors, the courtyards & the parking area in back & then, in December 1998, died suddenly. His memorial service was held in this room, a string quartet played from the loft. He had left the exterior facades for last, and, alas, they will stay in their run-down condition, at least for now.

Walter had not prepared the estate for his sudden demise. So Arthur, his sole heir, has been burdened with large inheritance taxes. Which accounts in part for the high rents he charges (high even for Santa Fe), though his tenants all dearly love the place, as we did. Just across the street, at a fork in Grant, is an adobe Presbyterian church. On Sundays we would awaken to church bells.

But the rent was a good warm-up to that in New York, our next stop.

Ventura Santa Fe No. 1 Santa Fe No. 2 New York No. 1 New York No. 2

The Astrology Center of America

207 Victory Lane, Bel Air, MD 21014
Tel: 410-638-7761; Toll-free (orders only): 800-475-2272

Home Author Index Title Index Subject Index Vedic Books Tarot E-Mail:

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