408 Delgado and 522 Acequia Madre (private residence)
On April 3, 1848, Antonio Maria Archuleta received $200 from Rafael Garcia for this property, which already included a house of six rooms with a portal, an enclosed placita, and a corral. It was a rather substantial farmhouse in this rural area east and south of the Plaza on land irrigated from the Acequia Madre, which still borders it on the north. Some of these rooms may remain in the present structure.
In 1850 Rafael Carda was forty-four years old and a farmer. He and his wife Josepha had ten children. The building was enlarged with the addition of rooms and was eventually divided among Garcia family members, as was often the custom. The historic core of the house, which is essentially two linear files of rooms placed side by side, took this shape while it was in the Garcia family.
Descendants of Rafael Garcia owned the house until 1920. In that year the eastern portion was sold to Kate Chapman who bought the western portion a year later. The wife of artist Kenneth Chapman, Kate Chapman was a pioneer in the restoration of old adobe buildings. She did much of her work in partnership with Margretta Dietrich's sister, Dorothy Stewart. Perhaps best known are her prize-winning restorations of the Juan José Prada House and the Borrego House, both done for Dietrich.
In 1930 the entire Garcia property was sold to Philip Stevenson, a socially conscious novelist and playwright who was an active participant in Santa Fe's art colony. His "Sure Fire: Episodes in the Life of Billy the Kid," written for the 1931 Fiesta, was long remembered. Like many others in the 1930s, Stevenson was attracted to Communism as a solution to the devastating economic problems of that era. After leaving Santa Fe about 1939, he wrote screenplays in Hollywood and continued to write plays and novels, including a trilogy of novels published under the pseudonym, Lars Lawrence. He died in 1965 while touring the Soviet Union.
Stevenson's former wife retained ownership of the house and lived in part of it until 1952 when she sold it to Thomas Brown. Brown divided the property and sold the two parts separately. In 1954 the eastern half was bought by Faith and John Gaw Meem and remodeled for Marian ne Gebhardt. Gebhardt made it her home and established the well-known Children's Patio Day School in an L-shaped addition created along the Acequia Madre and Delgado Street by connecting an adobe outbuilding to the house. The pegs where the children hung their coats are still to be seen.
Over the years there have been several additions to the house and changes in the use of interior space. Nevertheless, the basic structure of the building and its essential elements remain.
The Garcia-Stevenson House represents the evolution of a Spanish Pueblo style home, some parts of which may date from before 1848. The linear floor plan and such features as thick adobe walls, vigas, varying floor levels and ceiling heights, as well as various other details and irregularities, reveal the essential elements of the earliest style of domestic dwelling built by Europeans in Santa Fe.