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World's Coolest Staircases

world's coolest staircases: Loretto Chapel

Blue Rose Photography

Loretto Chapel Staircase, Santa Fe, NM

A masterpiece—and mystery—of woodworking, this spiral structure is entirely self-supporting, without any central column to provide stability and with wooden pegs instead of nails. Legend has it that when the chapel was finished in 1878, there was no way to access the choir loft except by ladder due to space issues. An unknown carpenter came into town and built this miraculous staircase only to disappear without pay. —Lyndsey Matthews

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