Santa Fe Living Treasures ‚Äď Elder Stories
FIRST FIESTA QUEEN
Honored November, 1985
Much of Santa Fe's colorful history is reflected in the life of Amalia Sanchez. Forever known as the first Fiesta Queen, in 1927, the year she was crowned, she was thirty-five years old, married to lawyer Manuel Sanchez, and the mother of two daughters. Dana Johnson, then the editor of the New Mexican, originated the idea of a queen to reign over the Fiesta Parade, then known as Pasatiempo. When she learned she had been chosen, Amalia said, "Oh, you're out of your mind. I have two little children." Johnson replied, "So did Queen Victoria."
Born in 1892, Amalia grew up in the Palace Avenue home now known as Sena Plaza, a member of the seventh generation of her family to occupy that site. The historic residence we know today was built by her grandfather, Major Jose Sena, in 1861. "It was like a placita," she recalls. "My grandmother lived on the east side; we lived on the west. But there were no children to play with. We had to make our own good times."