George Cuyler Preston House
106 Faithway Street
The George Cuyler Preston House, an excellent example of Queen Anne architectural style, is probably the only such residence extant in Santa Fe. The first date of record associated with the land upon which the house sits is February 21, 1865, when it was sold to Francisca Hinojos for $500.
On November 30, 1885, the land was conveyed to George Cuyler Preston, a law partner of Charles H. Gildersleeve, a leading New Mexico Democrat and member of the politically powerful "Santa Fe Ring."
Preston constructed his palatial three-story brick and frame home facing Palace Avenue in 1886. It was built on a stone foundation supporting fired bricks that are now hidden by a coat of stucco. The second story is clad with sheets of pressed metal, not with wood shingles as it first appears. The roofing is also metal. A large letter P on the main chimney has been attributed to Preston but may date only from the later occupancy of Dr. Louis E. Polhemus, the hygienist, herbalist, and dietician.
The Prestons speculated in building lots in the Santa Fe area, using their home as collateral. After they defaulted on a bank loan, the Second National Bank took possession of the house, but by this time the Prestons had moved to Denver.
Not all of the many persons who have owned the house actually lived in it. Among the owners were Levi Hughes, a prominent businessman and banker, and Helen Chauncey Bronson Hyde, the wife of Benjamin Talbot Babbit Hyde for whom Hyde Memorial State Park is named. After being rented during the 1940s and 1950s by Dr. Polhemus, the house became known as the "Palace of Health."
Despite modernization, the Preston House retains much of its original design and remains an example of a once elegant age.