Blog >> Namesake of Sena Plaza

  •    In 1689, José del Valle left Sevilla, Spain, for Mexico City, where he married Ana de Rivera on on June 29, 1693. A month later, the couple adopted Bernardo Sena, whose parents, Agustin de Sena and Maria Inez de Amparo, could no longer care for their son. The following year he accompanied his adoptive parents to Santa Fe. As a young man Bernardo became a blacksmith, rancher, and landowner. His marriage to Tomasa Martin Gonzales provided a dowry for Sena that consisted of a house and orchard on the property that is now called Sena Plaza, where he lived until his death. The marriage produced two children, Tomas and Maria Francisca de Sena, thus beginning the many branches of the Sena family that have thrived for more than 20 generations, from the 1690s to the present. In 1831, one of Bernardo’s descendants, Maj. Jose Sena, built the structure known as Sena Plaza for his daughter, Isabel C de Baca, who had 23 children, necessitating frequent additions to the home.

       Today, 33 businesses are housed in the 28,000-square-foot adobe structure that was formerly the Sena family home. During World War II, the Manhattan Project had an office at 109 E. Palace on Sena Plaza. It was the first stop for scientists and military personnel as they checked in prior to traveling up to “the Hill”—Los Alamos—25 miles northwest of Santa Fe.   


    Photo caption: The Manhattan Project office at 109 East Palace Avenue.