Seton’s New Mexico Homes

When Seton acquired a 2,500 acre tract near Santa Fe and relocated to the area in 1930, he called his new project Seton Village. One of the first buiildings in Seton Village was his temporary home Lagunita on present day Seton Plaza.

In 1930, Seton acquired a 2,500 acre tract of land seven miles south of the Santa Fe Plaza. He described the site as “the last rampart of the Rockies.” He envisioned creating a conference facility he called the College of Indian Wisdom, which would ultimately include many structures.

The first structure built was Yek Yek, a small adobe house which would be Seton’s temporary home. Seton then built a somewhat larger house in what is now Seton Plaze he called Lagunita, which woud be his home until 1932.

Seton began the design and construction of his final grand home, Seton Castle. Seton moved into Seton Castle in 1933. It was a large eclectic adobe house with 32 rooms and 6,900 square feet. It sat near the highest point of the property and provided panoramic views ofn the plateau nand the Jemez mountains in the distanjce.

Seton Castle was the centerpiece of a sort of utopian community, which included his extensive library and museum of his specimens and collections, a zoo, quarters for staff and participants, a print shop, a zoo, a tea house, a hogan and a kiva.

The Setons hosted many guests from the Santa Fe community, including artists, writers, Native American leaders, anthropoloigsts and archeologists. He also hosted vistors from his enormoius gropup of frienmds from all over the U.S. and arlound the world. As a part of the summer training programs, Seton hosted a Chatauque-type series of lectures and performances in a wide range to whitch members iof the Santa Fe community were invited. Seton held court in a large hall adjacent to his extensive personal library.

After Seton’s death in 1946, Julia Seton continued to live in the house and actually expanded it. She later gave the property to her daughter Dee and her husband Dale Barber, where they raised their family.

Due to Dee’s poor health, the Barbers left the Castle and sold the property, including its contents, to the Academy for the Love of Learning, a nonprofit educational organization which planned to use the Castle as its headquarters following a planned extensive renovation. As part of the sale agreement, the Academy agreed to preserve the Seton legacy as well.

Unfortunately, as the complicated renovations were nearing completion, Seton Castle was destroyed by fire on November 15, 2005. After much deliberation, the Academy decided to build their new building nearby and maintain the Castle footprint and its remaining stone walls as a monument, outdoor meeting space and meditation garden.

The Academy also maintains the Seton Gallery in its headquarters building where Seton works are stored and displayed. The highlight of the gallery is Seton’s masterpiece, The Sleeping Wolf.

The Castle site is eerily similar to the walls of Wndygoul in Pomerance Park in Greenwich, Connecticut.

Map of Seton Village, Drawn by ETS
Seton’s Drawing of Seton Castle
Seton Castle in the 1960s
Seton Castle Wall 2020
Seton Castle Site 2020
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