Frank Applegate

Type
Individual
Role
Artist
Identifier
ApplegateFrank
Lifespan
1881 – 1931
Functions, Occupations, and Activities
>Artist, sculptor, architect, preservationist
Publications
The Spanish Colonial arts by Mary Austin and Frank Applegate. - [1934] - [178] leaves ; 28 cm. Museum of International Folk Art Bartlett Library photocopy of manuscript held by Center for Southwest Research, Zimmerman Library, University of New Mexico.
Biography
Frank Applegate left a profound impression on the city of Santa Fe and is considered by many to be the godfather of Santa Fe Style. Born into a farming community in central Illinois in February of 1881, Applegate had established himself as a serious sculptor by fall of 1914. He trained at the University of Illinois and then at the Académie Julian in Paris and became a professor at the School of Industrial Arts in Trenton, New Jersey. The tale of how he came to live in Santa Fe starts out like many other stories, as a short visit to a little town in Northern New Mexico. After deciding to take a year off teaching and tendering his resignation, Professor Applegate packed up his Model T and headed west. In September of 1921, Frank, his wife Alta, and their 10-year-old daughter Betty arrived in Santa Fe for a brief stay on their way to Pasadena, California, where they planned to spend the winter. When they arrived in town they camped in an orchard overlooking the city during Fiestas. Within a week Santa Fe’s charm had captured him and he was already negotiating to purchase land to build upon. New Mexico became a state in 1912, so when Applegate arrived in 1921, Santa Fe was still very isolated from the rest of America. Much of the way of life for Santa Fe’s approximately 7,000 residents went on much as it had for centuries. English and Spanish were spoken, pesos and dollars were accepted currencies, and there was a free flow of culture between the Anglo, Spanish, and Pueblo people. Applegate recognized that the western expansion wouldn’t exclude Santa Fe for long and he took an immediate interest in preserving the city’s architecture, culture, and natural beauty. Once in Santa Fe, Applegate’s life took a dramatic turn. He abandoned traditional sculpture and ceramics and took his artistic vision into every aspect of his ever-expanding life. Furniture making, wood etching, painting, and writing all flourished for Frank. Returning to some of his original training in architecture, he set out to create a home in the new style that he saw around him. Blending Spanish Colonial and the Pueblo Indian vernaculars, he immediately started construction on a home for his family. Francisco Romero y Garcia sold him a piece of land measuring 800 by 56 feet for 300 pesos. The weather held out and the Applegate family was able to move into the home by December. Built two stories high with adobe brick and styled with a second-story balcony, buttressed walls, and hand-hewn vigas, this iconic residence, located at what is now 558 Camino del Monte Sol, is chronicled to be one of the best examples of Spanish-Pueblo Revival architecture in Santa Fe. Applegate’s friends and colleagues included Fremont Ellis, Ansel Adams, Will Shuster, and Walter Mruk, who were also romantic rebels inspired by the beauty of the land and the modernist ideas of their time. Applegate built or remodeled several other homes in the style he considered “livable sculpture.” His final residence was the renovated and expanded de la Pena house at 831 El Caminito. One of the last large Spanish haciendas, the Frank Applegate Estate, as it is now known, is considered one of Santa Fe’s most historically and architecturally significant buildings. He lived here until his untimely death at age 50. [Retrieved on 11/8/2017 from: Frank Applegate left a profound impression on the city of Santa Fe and is considered by many to be the godfather of Santa Fe Style. Born into a farming community in central Illinois in February of 1881, Applegate had established himself as a serious sculptor by fall of 1914. He trained at the University of Illinois and then at the Académie Julian in Paris and became a professor at the School of Industrial Arts in Trenton, New Jersey. The tale of how he came to live in Santa Fe starts out like many other stories, as a short visit to a little town in Northern New Mexico. After deciding to take a year off teaching and tendering his resignation, Professor Applegate packed up his Model T and headed west. In September of 1921, Frank, his wife Alta, and their 10-year-old daughter Betty arrived in Santa Fe for a brief stay on their way to Pasadena, California, where they planned to spend the winter. When they arrived in town they camped in an orchard overlooking the city during Fiestas. Within a week Santa Fe’s charm had captured him and he was already negotiating to purchase land to build upon. New Mexico became a state in 1912, so when Applegate arrived in 1921, Santa Fe was still very isolated from the rest of America. Much of the way of life for Santa Fe’s approximately 7,000 residents went on much as it had for centuries. English and Spanish were spoken, pesos and dollars were accepted currencies, and there was a free flow of culture between the Anglo, Spanish, and Pueblo people. Applegate recognized that the western expansion wouldn’t exclude Santa Fe for long and he took an immediate interest in preserving the city’s architecture, culture, and natural beauty. Once in Santa Fe, Applegate’s life took a dramatic turn. He abandoned traditional sculpture and ceramics and took his artistic vision into every aspect of his ever-expanding life. Furniture making, wood etching, painting, and writing all flourished for Frank. Returning to some of his original training in architecture, he set out to create a home in the new style that he saw around him. Blending Spanish Colonial and the Pueblo Indian vernaculars, he immediately started construction on a home for his family. Francisco Romero y Garcia sold him a piece of land measuring 800 by 56 feet for 300 pesos. The weather held out and the Applegate family was able to move into the home by December. Built two stories high with adobe brick and styled with a second-story balcony, buttressed walls, and hand-hewn vigas, this iconic residence, located at what is now 558 Camino del Monte Sol, is chronicled to be one of the best examples of Spanish-Pueblo Revival architecture in Santa Fe. [Retrieved on 11/8/2017 from: http://www.santafenewmexican.com/life/home/the-applegate-legacy/article_4c61e15b-6e77-56e3-b612-9f581ee30c78.html]
Geographic names
Santa Fe
Related person/organization
Mary Austin (worked with)