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A 'spirited' overnight at La Posada

Travels with Deb

Debbie Stone | Sep 25, 2017, 6 a.m.
Photo by Debbie Stone

Shortly after the turn of the century, a fire destroyed the third story of the Staab Mansion. It was never rebuilt; thus, any drawings or photographs of the house beyond this point show it sans the distinguishing mansard roof. In 1936, the property was acquired by R.H. and Eualia Nason, who proceeded to construct a series of adobe casitas around the place. They were built in the traditional manner with local clay and straw, without plans or formal design. Eventually, a Pueblo-style inn was created on the site and the Nasons called it “La Posada,” meaning lodging or resting place in Spanish.

In the thirties and forties, when Santa Fe’s reputation as a flourishing art colony grew, La Posada catered mostly to long term visitors, typically artists or art students. The place eventually underwent an ownership change and with it a new goal was set to elevate the property’s role as a prominent and distinctive hotel in Santa Fe. Today, La Posada is a Tribute Portfolio Resort & Spa, known for its impeccable service, fine dining, unique accommodations, rich history and art collection…and of course its resident spirit!

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Julia Staab

Guests and staff at the hotel began taking notice of Julia in the 1970s. They spotted her ghostly image at the top of the grand staircase in the central building of the property or in her second floor suite, always depicted as having translucent skin and wearing a dark flowing gown and hood. She has also been seen in the Nason Room, a small alcove off the main dining hall that was built on the site of Julia’s garden. People note that she seems to have an aura of sadness about her. Some postulate that her spirit restlessly roams La Posada because the circumstances of her death were unsettling. Other theories point to her possible distress over the changes made to the property over the years. Or perhaps she is simply keeping watch over her house to ensure that its inhabitants are comfortable. It seems apropos that her home is now a hotel, considering her reputation for being such a gracious hostess in her day.

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The Rose Room Photo by Debbie Stone

The tales abound regarding Julia’s spirit manifesting itself in the halls of La Posada. In addition to the spectral images described, people also say they can feel her presence in a draft of cool, stale air. A saleswoman at the property, who was unaware of Julia’s story, had a breakfast meeting in the Rose Room. She went to check out the space prior to her guests’ arrival and found the room freezing cold. When she called the hotel’s maintenance department to report the problem, she was told it was Julia who was responsible for the extreme temperature since it was in the Rose Room. The maintenance man didn’t even hesitate in his response, and then instructed the saleswoman to return to the room and say alound, “Julia, it’s cold in here and I have a meeting soon.” Story has it that in minutes after making this announcement, the room warmed up.

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