Wednesday, November 19, 2008

A History of Service

One of our staff members found the First Annual Report of the Mayor of Santa Fe, April 1st, 1910 through March 31, 1911, in our files. The Mayor was Arthur Seligman.

What a treasure trove of facts and explanations of the missions of the City in the area of services. What caught my eye was the amazing work of the Woman’s Board of Trade and the exuberant praise of their work, in particular as “women of civic usefulness.” It states that “The Plaza and the Library are monuments to the womanhood of Santa Fe.”

Interestingly enough, they received from the City Treasury $467.67 from the 1 mill levy for library purposes and "$250.00 for caring for the Plaza". But there is more - the City asked and was given from the Woman’s Board of Trade a gift of “not less than $500.00 to pave San Francisco Street on the south side of the Plaza.”

The Mayor then took the opportunity to thank “these good, hard working women for their ready response to the call for aid and the spirit that permeates them in not only this assistance but whatsoever they undertake.”

When the Sena Family gave a major gift to the Southside Library, they recalled that their grandmother had made and sold lemonade and cookies on the Plaza in support of the Library at about this time. I’m surprised that the women did not pave San Francisco themselves!

A few little tidbits that were curiosities:
  • Memorial Arch—“I (the Mayor) recommend that the Memorial Arch, designating the end of the Santa Fe Trail and for which I understand an appropriation was made by the Legislature some years ago be completed at the earliest possible date and any suggestion that will bring the arch to a reality will be appreciated.”

  • Saloons and Public Dance Halls—“I respectfully wish to call your attention to the subject of saloons and public dance halls. I am satisfied after making a personal investigation that there should be new legislation by the Council which will result in better regulations in the form of public place.”

  • The Public Press—“The power of the public press has been put to good use in Santa Fe and this important at field of co-operation is highly and keenly appreciated, as its aid in trying to get matters out of this village rut, and to make Santa Fe a city beautiful and one of law and order, has been invaluable."

The Woman’s Club and Library Association is still supportive of the Library, as are the Friends of the Library who host book sales and staff the library book stores with volunteers. Maybe it is time for another lemonade stand and bake sale for the Library. But no more street paving, thank you.

by PCH @ Main
Photo: "East Side of Plaza, Santa Fe, N. M." 1866. from the National Archives.

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