Amazing Stairs Series: The Miraculous Staircase of Loretto Chapel
The Spiral Staircase at the Loretto Chapel in Santa Fe New Mexico is truly an Amazing Stair. The stair winds approximately 760 degrees total, more than two full turns, and is made of Spruce; it ascends a total of 22 ft. from floor to floors. The joinery used on the treads, risers stringers and even the stair backing and subsequent plaster, all work together to create a "torsion box" effect, giving the stair some rigidity; however, it's main source of support is from the tight radius of the inside "boxed stringer" which has a "stringer leg" attached below the start of the stair which gives the first 180 degrees direct support from the floor. The stair originally shook quite a bit when walked on and two iron brackets were added to stabilize the stair between the wall and a support column. Although experienced staircase engineers and designers would agree that the stair is short of miraculous and could be replicated, it is a beautiful design and a great example of master craftsmanship from the time period. Click here for more amazing stairs!