Get outta town: The Miraculous Staircase of Loretto Chapel

by Patty Templeton

OK, what you’re gonna wanna do is download Mozart’s “Symphony No. 25 in G minor, K. 183.” It’s a dramatic, rousing piece that makes you feel like you’re in a costume drama. Where do you wanna listen to it? At the Loretto Chapel in Santa Fe standing in front of their enigmatic staircase.

Yes, I’m telling you to drive down to Santa Fe to gawk at a staircase.

The building of the chapel began in 1873, but the nuns had shit luck, and the architect died before he could finish. The nuns had a choir loft but no way to get up there. The sisters spent nine days in prayer to St. Joseph, patron saint of carpenters, to provide a staircase that wouldn’t take up the majority of the space in the small, gothic-style chapel. A carpenter, whose name has been lost to history, appeared with but a hammer and a carpenter’s square. Supposedly, dude built the staircase and disappeared before he could be thanked or paid.

The Miraculous Staircase of Loretto Chapel doesn’t use any nails, only wooden pegs. The spiral staircase doesn’t have a pole of structural support, making it an oddity worth a gander at.

Make sure to check out the Loretto Chapel’s calendar before you trek down. The church hosts an f-ton of weddings but is open otherwise to tourists. Deets at

Patty Templeton


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