Popularized by television series, "Unsolved Mysteries" and Travel Channel's "Mysteries at the Museum," the 20-foot, spiral staircases confounds engineers, architects and church builders as it stands with no nails or support.
The staircase is curtained off with a sign for visitors that entry up is not allowed to maintain the integrity of helix-shaped, spiral stairs.
The chapel, privately owned, is packed with out-of-town visitors and faith tourists as they photographed this structure with their phone cameras and gear.
With origins from France, Bishop Jean Baptiste Lamy appointed architect and builder Antoine Mouly and his son, Projectus Mouly. In fact the chapel shows similarities to a French church, Sainte Chapelle in Paris.
The nuns of the Loretto Chapel completed a novena to St. Joseph, the patron saint of workers and carpenters, to assist them in funds to continue building the chapel with a means to get to the choir loft for their students.
With little documentation, it is unknown of the time and person who built this staircase. A stranger appeared and built this structure inside the chapel, taking about six months. Funds were never exchanged between the stranger and nuns. Devout Catholics credited the miracle to St. Joseph, who appeared to build this structure needed for the students and nuns to climb up to the choir loft.
- With two 360 degrees turn, the spiral staircase is not supported by any structure.
- A continuous loop video is running for visitors to learn more about the church's history.
- The gift shop offers books, pamphlets, religious items, rosaries, and souvenirs to commemorate the visit to this chapel in Santa Fe.
Most visitors stay about 30 minutes, wandering throughout the chapel and gift shop. A five-minute video is continuously running, broadcasting the history and information about the spiral staircase.
$3 per person
The Loretto Chapel
207 Old Santa Fe Trail
Santa Fe, NM 87501
Santa Fe Convention and Visitors Bureau
Tip 1: Visit the chapel with quiet reverence.
Tip 2: Take some time to watch the five-minute video.
Tip 3: Light a candle with a n offering of a generous donation.