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Palace of the Governors

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Title: Palace of the Governors  
Author: World Heritage Encyclopedia
Language: English
Subject: Santa Fe, New Mexico, The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America, Index of New Mexico-related articles, Spanish Colonial architecture in New Mexico, New Mexico Governor's Mansion
Collection: Adobe Buildings and Structures, Colonial Mexico, Former State Capitols in the United States, History Museums in New Mexico, Houses Completed in 1610, Houses on the National Register of Historic Places in New Mexico, Museums in Santa Fe, New Mexico, National Historic Landmarks in New Mexico, Palaces in the United States, Spanish Colonial Architecture in New Mexico, Spanish-American Culture in Santa Fe, New Mexico, The National Society of the Colonial Dames of America
Publisher: World Heritage Encyclopedia

Palace of the Governors

Palace of the Governors
Palace of the Governors
Location 120 Washington Avenue,
Santa Fe, New Mexico
Built 1610
Architect Unknown
Architectural style Colonial, Other
Governing body State
NRHP Reference # 66000489
Significant dates
Added to NRHP October 15, 1966[1]
Designated NHL October 9, 1960[2]

The Palace of the Governors (1610) is an adobe structure located on Palace Avenue on the Plaza of Santa Fe, New Mexico between Palace Avenue and Washington Street. It is within the Santa Fe Historic District and it served as the seat of government for the state of New Mexico for centuries. The Palace of the Governors is the oldest continuously occupied public building in the United States.


  • History 1
  • See also 2
  • References 3
  • External links 4


In 1610, Pedro de Peralta, the newly appointed governor of the Spanish territory covering most of the American Southwest, began construction on the Palace of the Governors, although recent historical research has suggested that construction began in 1618.[3] In the following years, the Palace changed hands as the territory of New Mexico did, seeing the Pueblo Revolt of 1680, the Spanish reconquest from 1693 to 1694, Mexican independence in 1821, and finally American possession in 1848.

Segeser Hide Paintings, part of the collection of Spanish Colonial exhibitions.

The Palace originally served as the seat of government of the Spanish colony of Nuevo Mexico, which at one time comprised the present-day states of Texas, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, Nevada, California, and New Mexico. After the Mexican War of Independence, the Mexican province of Santa Fe de Nuevo México was administered from the Palace of the Governors. When New Mexico was annexed as a U.S. territory, the Palace became New Mexico's first territorial capitol.

Lew Wallace wrote the final parts of his book Ben-Hur: A Tale of the Christ in this building while serving as territorial governor in the late 1870s. He remembered later in life that it was at night, during a severe thunderstorm in the spring of 1879, after returning from a tense meeting with Billy the Kid in Lincoln County, when he wrote the climactic Crucifixion scenes of the novel. Wallace worked by the light of a shaded lamp in the shuttered governor's study, fearing a bullet from outside over the tensions surrounding the Lincoln County War.

Between 1909, when the New Mexico state legislature established the Museum of New Mexico, and Summer 2009 the Palace of the Governors served as the site of the state history museum.

Chambers of New Mexico's colonial governors, including a number of original furnishings.

In 2009 the New Mexico History Museum was opened adjacent to the Palace, which is now one of eight museums overseen by the New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs.

It was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1960.[2][4]

The United States Postal Service issued a turquoise 1 1/4-cent stamp on June 17, 1960 featuring an image of the Palace. "This was in coincidence with the opening day of Santa Fe’s 350th anniversary celebration. The Palace is shown on the stamp from a front angle, a design which was taken from a photograph by Tyler Dingee of Santa Fe. The Governor's Palace stamp was the eighth 'national shrine' honored by this series." (Steven J. Rod)[5]

See also

External video
New Mexico's Palace of the Governors (11:36), C‑SPAN[6]


  1. ^ "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places.  
  2. ^ a b "Palace of the Governors". National Historic Landmark summary listing. National Park Service. Retrieved 2008-06-21. 
  3. ^ Roberts, Kathaleen (16 February 2012). "New Palace story emerges". Albuquerque Journal (Albuquerque, New Mexico, USA). New Mexico State Historian Rick Hendricks has discovered that the nation’s oldest continuously occupied public building may have been constructed in about 1618 –– and by a different governor. 
  4. ^ Corinne P. Sze and Patti Henry (1999). "National Historic Landmark Inventory/Nomination: Palace of the Governors" (pdf). National Park Service.  and Accompanying photos, exterior and interior, from 19 PDF (32 KB)
  5. ^
  6. ^ "New Mexico's Palace of the Governors".  

External links

  • Palace of the Governors Museum - housed in the Palace of the Governors building
  • New Mexico History Museum official website
  • Palace of the Governors Photo Archives
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