The staircase was built in the Santa Fe church
by an unknown carpenter in 1877.
Anyone know if it's possible to build a circular
staircase without a support ?
It is possible because that one has been there for more than 130
years. We have been to the Loretto Chapel three times and it amazes
me every time I look at it. There are lots of stories about its
construction ranging from simply equipped carpenter to a highly
skilled cabinet maker. Doesn't matter who made it, it is beautiful.
As the article points out, the railing was built several years after
the staircase was built because the Loretto Nuns that used it were
scared to death to climb to the choir loft (No rail, no center post).
When you look at it, and imagine it without the railing, that helix
even looks more incredible.
Interesting side story our local museum is coming researching. The
head Loretto nun who served at the chapel when it was built is Mother
Magdalene, an Irish immigrant. She arrived in Santa Fe in the 1850's
and is credited with starting the first catholic school (maybe first
school) in New Mexico. Her sister Bridget Hayden, started the first
girl's school in Kansas at the Osage Mission in 1847. Their sister, I
believe her name is Mother Margaret Hayden, was the Superior General
of the Loretto Order. There were other children but they must have
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