Sometimes The Answer is Clear

Yesterday, when I saw that this week’s Theme Thursday was stairs, well, it didn’t take much for me to choose what to write about.

If yer talking New Mexico and yer talking stairs, then naturally…yer talking about Loretto Chapel in Santa Fe.

It is a stunningly beautiful and magical place.

For those unfamiliar, in the 1850’s the Loretto Chapel was being constructed, and when finished the Sisters of Loretto realized that, for whatever reason, no one planned a staircase to get from the floor of the church to the choir loft.

In addition, the chapel was made pretty small, so any staircase built would have to manage the impossibly small space.

The sisters were distraught at this situation and out of money for construction, so they prayed mightily about it. Legend has it that a man with carpentry skills arrived at the chapel and spent about six months creating an elaborate staircase that still stands today, the left without being paid.

The staircase is made from wood not native to the area, makes two full 360 degree turns with no center post for support, and uses only wood pegs, no nails or glue.

The chapel and the staircase have become busy tourist attractions and the chapel is also a very popular place to get married.

I’d hoped to be married there myself, but logistics were too difficult between California and New Mexico.

Enjoy a beautiful photo of the “miracle” staircase, one of my favorite destinations in the great State of New Mexico.

Loretto Chapel

Photo taken by user jfelderh and found at

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  • Lucky

    I went to see these for the first time a couple of months ago. Amazing, but crowded! Also, I wish they’d take off the handrail so we could see it in its original glory!

  • Thorgun

    A very beautiful staircase, and a nice piece of craftsmanship.

  • Anji

    That is so beautiful. Are the members of the public allowed to go up and down it?

    Funnily enough I was dreaming about stairs last night. I was taking one of the children up the Eiffel tower, but it wasn’t the Eiffel tower staircase.

  • Karen Fayeth

    Lucky – Yeah, total tourist attraction but still very pretty.

    And the handrail. Oh the handrail….oy. I agree with you. Generation of nuns made it up and down just fine without a handrail!!

  • Karen Fayeth

    Anji – No, the public can no longer go up and down the stairs. They’ll let newly married couples go a few steps up for photos, but the general public can’t use the steps (despite the fact that they are still in great condition.)

    Interesting intersection of your dream and my blog post! Woooo whoooo, we’re on the same wavelength or something! ;)

  • Karen Fayeth

    Thorgun – Thanks! It’s a stunning bit of art and engineering. Totally worth seeing.

  • Nanc TWoP

    Wow Karen, thanks for the wonderful pic & post.
    I love that staircase too!

  • Ruth

    So beautiful! Thanks for posting the picture…

  • Simon White

    Love that staircase, heard about it before. Reminds me of the story of mathematical bridge in Cambridge (UK) constructed without any nails or bolts. This apparently is a legend [] and in fact the bridge always had bolts or screws or nails. I only just found that out while researching before commenting here.

  • Simon White

    Oooh… just had to have a look for the staircase too, and lo and behold Snopes has an article on it:

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