Santa Fe Living Treasures – Elder Stories

<<Back to Treasures Index
Von Horvath

Irene Von Horvath


Honored May, 1998

Irene Von Horvath

Irene has been a very busy lady with her fingers in many pies.  For the past 45 years she has put her architectural background to use for Santa Fe trying to preserve Santa Fe’s Spanish-style.  She was a member of the city’s planning commission from 1955 to 1967.  During that time, she jumped into her old Jeep station wagon and drove in several circles around the city’s downtown, mapping out what would become Paseo de Peralta loop (originally named Irene Street), the street that circles the city and diverts traffic from the downtown, to prevent widening a few of the downtown streets in the name of smoother traffic.  “Bigger streets would have only hurt Santa Fe’s character,” she said.  She pushed designating new streets with Spanish names.  She also was co-author (with Oliver LaFarge) of the original Historic Styles Ordinance, Santa Fe’s first attempt to preserve the unique architecture that defines the city. In the late 1980’s, von Horvath helped break an impasse over completion of Atalaya Trail, then donated 21 acres of her wonderful mountain property on Camino Cruz Blanca to conservation groups.