Professor J. A. Wood House
511 Armijo Street (private residence)
The low adobe house with Territorial trim sits halfway up the slope on property that first appears on the records in 1860. In that year Bernardino Sais purchased it from Jose Sandoval and Rosario Sais de Sandoval for thirty pesos, four realcs (about $35). In 1879 the price was $200 when it was bought by Abelerio Nuañez and his wife, Victoria Sanches de Nuañez. Then it was described as being "al lado norte este de Rió y así al espalado [sic] de la loma. . . una casa que constru de cuatro piesas [sic] con cuarenta y dos vigas," (on the northeast side of the River and thus at the shoulder of the hill. . . a house built of four rooms with forty-two vigas).
The Nuañez ownership, 1879-1883, may have corresponded with a significant enlargement of the house and its rather elaborate embellishment. From an original four rooms of approximately 1,300 square feet, the house grew to about 1,700 square feet with the addition of a two-room wing on the northwest. Possibly at the same time, certainly in the late nineteenth century, the adobe received a fashionable sprucing up with new Territorial entrance and front window treatments, including a "store-bought" front door with arched panes over panels, side lights with paneled bases, and a transom. Interior detail at the time was either perfectly plain or Territorial (a New Mexico adaptation of a Greek Revival). Some doorways were finished with molding-edged facings, for example, and the fireplaces had simple Greek Revival framing. The floor plan of the original house reflects Territorial ideas rather than traditional Spanish Colonial, as its four rooms were arranged not linearly, but in a cluster.
By June 1899 when James A. Wood bought it, the house was a suitable residence for the new superintendent of Santa Fe City Schools. A dapper gentleman who sported a derby, Wood's enthusiasms included bicycling and work with the Baptist church, as well as his professional endeavors. The latter were impressive, for while head of the Santa Fe system he reorganized the schools, planned the first high school building, improved old buildings, and helped obtain the Fort Marcy Reservation for the school system.
Fortunately for the continuity of architectural history in Santa the old Territorial adobe that was in the Wood family for more than seventy years has been carefully restored.