About Santa Fe » General » The Oldest House in the USA


Oldest House in USA located in Santa Fe, New Mexico
The Oldest House rests on part of the foundation of an ancient Indian Pueblo dating from around 1200 AD. This pueblo was once inhabited by a tribe from the Tano speaking tribes of the northern part of the territory. Sometime around 1435 AD, this tribe abandoned their village, moving on to other sites farther south in search of water, better fields or hunting grounds.

In 1598, Don Juan de Onate led a party of Spanish settlers into the area in search of a suitable place to establish a permanent settlement. Accompanying Onate were Tlaxcalen Indian warrior auxiliaries. The small band seems to have gravitated to their own ward, or barrio, soon known as El Barrio de Analco at the same time La Villa Real de Santa Fe de San Francisco de Asisi was founded in 1608.

The Tlaxcala’s found the river site met their every need. The river provided ample water for the irrigation of cornfields to the south of the San Miguel Church and an abundance of sweet tasting stream trout to grace their tables.

IMG_3853During the Great Pueblo Rebellion, the Indians of the Barrio de Analco suffered greatly. Their homes were sacked and burned with a heavy loss of life. The survivors retreated across teh river and joined the Spaniards in a spirited but unsuccessful defense of the Villa. The Spanish withdrew from the Villa with the Tlaxcalans. Only a few of the first Tlaxcalans are believed to have returned to Santa Fe after the reconquest by Don Diego de Vargas in 1692-93.

Between 1709-1710 the “Oldest House” became temporary residence to Spanish Territorial Governor Chacon Medina Salazar, Marquez de Penuela, while repairs were being made to the San Miguel Church.

By the late 1800’s, genizaros or acculturated plains Indians such as the Apaches and Navajos, as well as the families of Spanish soldiers were living in the Barrio. Up until the 1920’s the Oldest House was continually occupied by people representing all the cultures of Santa Fe.

Today, the Oldest House is occupied by Bell Tower Properties but also serves as a museum.