For visitors to Santa Fe the Miracle Stairway of Loretto Chapel is a MUST SEE.
The Chapel choir loft is 22 feet above the floor, but with no way to get there. Legend says that to find a solution to this problem, the Sisters of the Chapel made a novena to St. Joseph, the patron saint of carpenters. On the ninth and final day of prayer, a man appeared at the Chapel with a donkey and a toolbox looking for work. Months later, the elegant circular staircase was completed. Then carpenter disappeared without pay or thanks. So, was this mystery man St. Joseph himself? Had he come in answer to the sisters’ prayers?
The design was innovative for the time and some of the design considerations still perplex experts today. The staircase has two 360 degree turns and no visible means of support. The staircase was built without nails—only wooden pegs.
Santa Fe Footprints Historic Walking Tour fills in the details and provides a discount admission to wonder at the Miracle Stairway.