Santa Fe Living Treasures – Elder Stories

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Robert Nordhaus

Robert Nordhaus


Honored October, 2002


Robert Nordhaus

When New Mexico was still a U.S. Territory, Robert J. Nordhous was born in its city of Las Vegas in 1909. New Mexico became a state in 1912, and in the 90 years since then, few New Mexicans have performed more service to the “Land of Enchantment.”

A member of a privileged family (Santa Fe merchant Abraham Staab was his grandfather), Nordhaus attended Yale University and its law school to prepare for his future. Then World War II intervened. He enlisted as a private in the Army. Quickly, he moved on to officers school and was an original member of the famous 10th Mountain Division ski-patrol unit. This experience was an inspiration for him.

Back in New Mexico, established as a lawyer in Albuquerque, he envisioned not only a ski area atop Sandia Peak, but also a world-class tramway to take people to it. He made this dream come true in 1964, with major economic benefits for the city. He was also a founder of Albuquerque’s United Way, and held many civic posts. Aware always of the unique nature of New Mexico, he made his law firm one of the nation’s most prominent advocates of Indian law. In 1984, his firm won a landmark water case for the Jicarilla Apaches.

Robert Nordhaus is a sportsman, author, and a lover of life.


Photo © 2002 by Steven Northup