THE SANTA FE 1912 CITY PLAN: "A CITY BEAUTIFUL" AND CITY PLANNING

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THE SANTA FE 1912 CITY PLAN: "A CITY BEAUTIFUL" AND CITY PLANNING

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In 1912 Santa Fe charmed visitors with its adobe structures, curving streets that followed the alignment of the acequias, and long and narrow lots that reflected the old agricultural pattern.  It also had a water system that depended on individual wells, and a sanitary arrangement that used on-site disposal (out-houses), a combination that led to infectious diseases and epidemics.

The community leaders, concerned about the continuing prosperity of the town (the main line of the Atchison, Topeka, and Santa Fe Railroad went through Albuquerque, not Santa Fe) and the health of residents and visitors, and aided by the ever-energetic newcomer Harry H. Dorman, considered and eventually adopted a city plan that was intended to provide for improved health (a water and sewer system), efficient streets and city beautification.  It was also tp encourage tourism and health seekers and thus give a boost to the faltering economy. 

This article describes the planning process and its results, one of which was the unexpected consequence of the creation of the Santa Fe architectural style.

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Article originally appeared as "The Santa Fe 1912 City Plan "A City Beautiful" And City Planning Document," in the New Mexico Historical Review 71, no. 2 (April 1996): [135-155]. © 1993 by the University of New Mexico Board of Regents. All rights reserved.