Carlos Vierra House
1002 Old Pecos Trail (private residence)
A major spokesman for reviving the Spanish Pueblo style of architecture in Santa Fe, Carlos Vierra best demonstrated his architectural preferences in the residence he constructed at 1002 Old Pecos Trail.
Following the arrival of the railroad in 1880, the traditional Spanish Pueblo style of architecture was being replaced with more "modern" architectural styles in Santa Fe and other New Mexico towns. The older buildings were systematically razed or extensively altered to conform to changing tastes. If it were not for Vierra and others like him who reversed this trend, the architectural character of Santa Fe would be very different.
Carlos Vierra first came to New Mexico in 1904 in an effort to improve his failing health. After his recuperation, Vierra became associated with attorney Frank Springer, a member of the board of regents of the Museum of New Mexico and president of the managing boa d of the School of American Archaeology (which in 1917 became known as the School of American Research). Springer became Vierra' s patron and helped him both by exerting influence on his behalf and by financial support.
By 1912 Vierra was a staff member of both the Museum of New Mexico and the School of American Archaeology and became involved with the restoration of the Palace of the Governors under the supervision of archaeologist Jesse L. Nusbaum. This undertaking launched the revival of the Spanish Pueblo architectural style in Santa Fe.
In 1918 Vierra began construction of a home for himself and his wife Ada Talbert Ogle. Knowing that the Vierras lacked sufficient building funds, Frank Springer gave them a life interest in a lot on the corner of Old Pecos Trail and Coronado Road. In July 1919 the Santa Fe New Mexican reported on Vierra' s progress:
“One of the largest and in many ways most artistic houses is that which Carlos Vierra, the artist, is building:.... The construction of his home began many months ago but this spring and summer it has made a mark on the landscape and is much admired. His two-stories high, in the Santa Fe style of which Mr. Vierra is an apostle, and is of adobe with various layers of brick. It promises lo be "the last word" in original Santa Fe style houses with several sleeping porches. There are charming vigas and quaint fireplaces.”
Carlos Vierra died in Santa Fe on December 20, 1937. His wife continued to live in the house until the early 1940s, when she moved to Kansas, and ownership of the property reverted to the Springer family.
Santa Feans are indebted to Carlos Vierra, as Paul A. F. Walter observed in an editorial published the day after Vierra' s death:
“It was Vierra's insistence upon purity of style that saved Santa Fe from many an architectural monstrosity... Up to the time of his death he guarded the integrity of the Pueblo and Spanish colonial architecture with a zeal often leading to heated controversy. That Santa Fe is not only a "City Different" but also a "City Beautiful" is more largely owing to him, perhaps, than to any other one individual.”