Most visitors to Santa Fe are unaware of the lovely home and grounds now occupied by the School of American Research (SAR) on Garcia Street in Santa Fe. The home and grounds, once known fondly as "El Delirio" by its original owner, Elizabeth White, is full of Southwest charm and surprises.
Amelia Elizabeth White was one of the East Coast elite who fell in love with the Southwest in the 1920's. The romance of the West attracted such adventurous, although privileged, women like Ms. White and Mabel Dodge Luhan. Elizabeth White, along with her sister, Martha Root White, came to Santa Fe and settled. She became well-known in the community and was known for her lavish theme parties and for having the only swimming pool in Santa Fe. The sisters also gave back to the community and were involved in promoting Indian art and preserving the unique character of Santa Fe. It is said that Elizabeth White founded the Santa Fe Indian Market.
Having served as a Red Cross nurse in World War II, Elizabeth White also became an advocate for Indian health.
The Garcia Street property, El Delirio, named after a bar in Spain (these were adventurous women), was built by the sisters in the 1920's. The complex combines Moorish, Mexican and Pueblo design. The gardens are beautiful and hold surprises for the visitor. The complex is now part of the School of American Research which, among other things, preserves and promotes Native American art and artists.
El Delirio is well worth visiting. You can take a tour by making a reservation with SAR.
The tour description: On the walking tour you can explore the fascinating history, stunning architecture, and beautiful outdoor gardens— including the famous pet cemetery—of the 1920’s home of Amelia Elizabeth White and Martha Root White. This secluded 8-acre estate, formerly known as “El Delirio” (The Madness), is the campus for SAR, a research center for anthropologists and archaeologists.
Tour Times: Fridays at 10 AM
Cost $5, Free to SAR members
Call (505) 954-7205
Address: 660 Garcia Street, Santa Fe, New Mexico 87505
At the SAR bookstore you can purchase a history of the White sisters and El Delerio. It is well worth reading and will give you an idea of what Santa Fe was like in the 1920's. It is also available through Amazon.com