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Historic Walking Tour Guide

Chris Fit

Wesche-Dole Building. 1805 W. Plaza ( Originally built as Our Lady of Sorrows church ca. 1840, rebuilt and expanded after 1865)

This building encloses the original Our Lady of Sorrows nave from 1840. By combining classical proportions and detailing of Greek Revival architecture with massive adobe and stone masonry, the U.S. Army introduced Territorial architecture into New Mexico -- perhaps the most significant innovation since the Spaniards introduced religious structures and adobe brick to the Pueblos over two centuries earlier. Santa Fe Trail Traders Andres and John Dold bought the building from the Catholic Church and built their mercantile headquarters in the military style. Early on, the front sported a two-story portal with balcony above. The building has been remodeled extensively by the proprietors of Plaza Antiques.

Chris Fit

Charles Ilfeld Building, 224 N. Plaza (Built 1882-1890)

Mercantile and dry goods merchant Charles Ilfeld relocated his business to the Las Vegas Plaza by 1870 from Taos, as he saw the potential of trade on the Santa Fe Trail. By 1882 he had prospered to the point he could erect the first third of his Italianate building and completed the larger second stage by 1890. Between World War 1 and 2, the Ilfeld Company continued to grow, becoming the largest mercantile firm in the state, with warehouses and stories in every major city in New Mexico.

Chris Fit

Desmarais House/Our Lady of Sorrows Parish Hall, 1810 E. Plaza (Pre-1883

Like the other remaining adobe buildings on the Plaza, the Parish Hall lost its wooden porch and was stuccoed, though it retains Territorial- style lintels over the windows. The curvilinear parapet which now caps its facade dates to the 1930's or later- a picturesque folk addition.

Chris Fit

Stern and Nahm Building, 114 Bridge St. (Built 1885)

This building was originally occupied by the office for the Stock Grower weekly newspaper before being taken over by the Stern and Nahm dry goods firm in 1897. It is a typical Italianate style commercial building with large display windows and cast iron columns on the first floor, and Italianate style fabricated sheet metal ornamentation above.

Jasmine Aziz

Veeder Buildings, 1815 W. Plaza (Built 1880-1908)

To the right, the first Veeder Building, which was built by Andres Dold, is one of the more flamboyant commercial buildings in the Italianate style on the Plaza. In 1895, the Veeder Brothers added the building to the left-an example of local brickwork with a Moorish flavor. Between 1902 and 1908, a Tudor  Revival carriage house was added to the right of their structures. These commercial buildings were built with apartments on the second stories.

Chris Fit

Louis Ilfeld Building, 220 N. Plaza (Built 1921) 

Pioneer entrepreneur Charles Ilfeld located his modest dry good firm in a one story adobe after 1870 that was later transformed into his son Louis C. Ilfelds law office, after he attended Yale University. The one-story red brick building was designed over time in a mix of stylistic elements with crenelated parapets and lintel windows and boasted an early air-cooling system. This facade, restored in 1975 by early local preservationists and bookstore retailers, Joe and Diana Stein, shows the restraint of early 20th- century classicism. Today the building houses offices for the Plaza Hotel complex next door.

Chris Fit

Romero Building, now Plaza Drugs 178 Bridge st. ( Built 1919)

Built by Secundino Romero, a local political leader and member of the wealthy Romero family, this was the last large new building constructed on the Plaza. The California Mission Revival styling of stepped parapet and corner pavilions with the red tile roofing is similar in design to the Murphey's Drug Building on Douglas, east of the river.

Chris Fit

Chapman Hall/Winternitz Bock 125 & 127 Bridge St. (Built 1880s)

The Winternitz Block is a good example of local decorative brickwork with its vertical piers, recessed panels and stepped brick. In the early 1900's part of the building was converted for use as a movie theater. The building was rehabilitated by the Citizens Committee for Hispanic Preservation as a Santa Fe Trail Interpretive Center int e 1990's and later sold to private owners. The building has housed an art gallery, hair salon and dry cleaning service.

Iron Mike

The Plaza Hotel, 230 N. Plaza (Built 1882)

I was a matter of pride for every railroad town to have a fine hotel in which to house visitors. Local businessmen headed by Benigno Romero formed the Las Vegas Hotel & Improvement Company in 1880 to provide Las Vegas with the finest hotel in the territory. The hotel has a colorful history. It was home to early silent-film producer Romaine Fielding (see the ghost sign still on the west facade) in 1913 and the Mama Lucy Gang of liberal politicians in the 1960's. More than a century after it was built, Plaza Partnership, Ltd, acquired the property and meticulously rehabilitated the building, motivating reinvestment in Old Town and, once again, restoring the hotel as an object of civic pride. In 2008, the hotel was expanded into the adjacent Charles Ilfeld building. Recently it has undergone some interior renovation. The Plaza Hotel is an excellent example of Renaissance Revival architecture, featuring a grand pedimented baroque cornice at top.

Chris Fit

Maese House/Dice Apartments, 218 N. Plaza (Built pre-1846)

This one story adobe, although "modernized" on the exterior, is one of two buildings on the north plaza along with the Miguel Romero y Baca house on the northeast corner that pre-dates the Mexican American War of 1846. In that year, General Stephen Watts Kearney, commander of the American Army of the West, stood atop on this one-story building on the north side of the Plaza to address the town's  population, claiming New Mexico for the United S

Chris Fit

Aniceto Baca Building, 146 Bridge St. (Built 1884)

The Baca Building and Estella's to its west side are characteristic of the Italianate Commercial style, which predominated on Bridge Street and the Plaza in the 1880's. Loosely modeled after the the palazzos of Italian Renaissance merchant princes, the style is distinguished by heavy, decorative hoods over arched windows, ornate cornices supported by brackets, and cast iron structural columns.