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I'm posting about this "I'll probably never get to it" project only because we're going to Santa Fe next week for the Burning of Zozobra (the original Burning Man festival, now in its 95th year), and then later to New Orleans for Halloween (so fun!!). Anywho, I love obscure facts like I'm about to share. Since it involves a dollhouse, what the heck, I'll post it here! Warning: turn your sound down before you click any of the links I'm embedding. Some of them are really loud. So, little known fact, the same craftsmen who built St. Louis Cathedral in New Orleans also built the Basilica of St. Francis in Santa Fe. The current cathedral on Jackson Square in the French Quarter was begun in 1850. About the time it was getting finished, construction on St. Francis in Santa Fe was ready to begin. Bishop Lamy of Santa Fe wrote to the bishop of New Orleans and basically said, "Hey, don't send your workers back to France; we need them out here." So westward they went. Here are the bells of St. Francis tolling out the news when Francis was selected as the new Pope. If you click that link, pay attention to the stonework on the cathedral; it comes up again in a bit. To make extra money, both in New Orleans and in Santa Fe, those workers did side jobs and built homes. Look around the Garden District and Uptown in New Orleans and you'll see their handiwork whether or not you realize it. They did the same in Santa Fe. Interestingly, although they were in New Mexico, they built in the style that they already knew: French Louisiana Architecture. They just did it in adobe since that's what was available. Few examples survive but one of them is the Francisca Hinojos house on Palace Avenue. New Orleanians and Louisianans in general may recognize it (pics below) as their style of architecture. That's because it is. The house almost didn't survive due to a fire about eight years ago. The owner wanted to tear it down after it burned so he could develop the relatively large lot it sat upon, but the City of Santa Fe wouldn't allow him to tear down what remained of the house. He left it sitting open to the elements for a few years hoping the adobe would simply disintegrate beyond repair. Luckily, a developer who specializes in restoring historic homes purchased it and brought it back to life. I lived in Santa Fe for a few years not far from that house and I know it well. I was heartbroken when it burned and its potential razing was a story I followed closely. It's right across the street from the La Posada Hotel, which is also interesting. The hotel was originally a huge French Empire mansard-roofed house. The old house is still there, it's just that it is now inside the hotel. They didn't tear down the house, they just built the hotel around it. The old front door is in the lobby and through it you enter the original home. If you ever visit, be sure to request one of the Victorian rooms in the old house. They're fabulous. And haunted. Supposedly. When the Hinojos house burned, I resolved to do it as a dollhouse because I loved it so much. The thought of having it disappear forever just killed me! I have two kits to bash that will recreate it pretty convincingly, IMHO, plus all the necessary components. One of many projects I hope to get to sometime! When we're back from Santa Fe in a few weeks, I'll try to dig out some of that stuff and do a mock-up. I hope some might find those things as interesting as I do. Below are pictures of the house. Oh, and earlier I mentioned to look at the stone that built St. Francis Basilica if you clicked that link. Note the front wall in the last picture below. That is built of stone blocks rejected for whatever reason for use on the cathedral. The construction workers hauled it over to the Hinojos house by wagon and built a wall out of it. I love trivial facts like that. The original house before the fire: I'm planning to do my dollhouse version like this, how I best remember it, with the rusty-red tin roof. The house how it stood roofless, boarded up, and rotting away for several years after the fire: The restored house as it looks today: Note the cathedral stones used to build the front retaining wall.