Santa Fe Living Treasures – Elder Stories

Through the years Sara Melton has acquired an encyclopedic knowledge of buildings, issues, neighborhoods, history, zoning and renovation issues—information she is eager to share. She arguably knows more about such things than any other person; and many of the people she has assisted regard her almost with awe, as reflected in their praise: "a moral compass," "a mission of protecting Santa Fe's historic character," "guardian of all that is the historic heritage," "an unmatchable resource," "loves Santa Fe with a fierce passion," "a mainstay in preserving the integrity of Santa Fe's historic fabric." One person said: "One of the few people who knows what is in Chapter 14, the city's land-use development code." And another: "The community owes so much to Sara."

In 2002, Sara Melton signed a historic preservation easement on a Spanish-Colonial-era adobe house she owns just off Paseo de Peralta on Otero Street, in the heart of the Historic District. Under terms of the easement, she made a commitment to never let the building's historic character be diminished, during or after her lifetime. It will endure.

In August 2003 the Old Santa Fe Association board of directors held a day-long retreat to fully consider its role and future course. As part of the day, the group's assets and deficits were listed. Only one individual was officially declared an asset: Sara Melton.

Story by Richard McCord
Photo ©2004 by Steve Northrup