Travel to U.S.: West: Santa Fe: Photo 24
On the approximately north side of the plaza: the portal of the palacio real (1610), or royal palace, now known as the Palace of the Governors. The form shown here was the result of a pioneering archaeological restoration undertaken in 1909 by Jesse Nusbaum, who later was superintendant of Mesa Verde National Park, and Sylvanus Morley, who later helped reconstruct the Maya ruins at Chichen Itza. Under the auspices of the Archaeological Institute of America, which took over the palace when the federal government considered it a hopeless ruin, Nusbaum and Morley peeled away a bric-a-brac balustrade and metal roof that had been added in 1877. They threw out what they considered to be the insufficiently massive, square-sawn posts that held up the portal. They replaced them with these columnar trunks, inspired by a column that Nusbaum found buried in an adobe wall. The result was an idealized version of the palace, far grander than anything known to the governors. It's massive and earnestly authentic, but it's also a fantasy. Even the adobe is fake, because Nusbaum and Morley rebuilt the structure in brick and stucco, painted.
Back to U.S.: West: Santa Fe chapter
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