An Overview: r R tU uch
Departmen of Architecture
Iniesitrutr Pofessor Ca l es
. . 32
. . 33
. . 39
. . 47
. . 65
. . 72
. . 75
. . .77
. . 78
. . 85
. . 87
. . 98
LIST OF ILLUSTRATION ... ... ..
INTRODUCTION . .. .. .. .. . .. .
HISTORIC OVERVIEW ..............
PRESERVATION CASE STUDIES ..........
Maps . . . . . . . . .
Old Town . . . . . . . .
Progress: 1953-1976 ..........
The Alvarado Hotel ..........
The Downtown Neighborhood Association .
The Huning Highlands Neighborhood
1975 Housing Market and Policy Survey .
The Charles Ilfeld Building ......
The Historic Landmarks Survey of Albu-
querque . . . . . . .
REM~ARKS AND CONCLUSIONS ...........
REFERENCES . . . , . . . .
BIBLIOGRAPHY . . . . . . . ..
APPENDICES . . . . . . . . .
Appendix A: Local Chronology, 1540-1961
Appendix B: Existing State and Local
Appendix C: City Urban Areas Policies
Appendix D: Revised Zoning Plan--
Downtown Neighborhood Area
Appendix E: 1975 Housing Market and
Appendix F: Albuquerque Historic Landmarks
Survey Grant Proposals
Ap~pendix G: Tentative List of Sites--
Historic Landmarks Survey of Albuquerque
LIST OF ILLUSTRATIONS
1. Map: State of New MFexico, 1970 ....
2. Photograph: Albuquerque's Main
Street, 1870s ... .. ... ...
3. Drawing: San Felipe de Neri
Church, 1880s ...........
4. Drawings: Early Views of Albu-
querqjue, 1857-1885 ........
5. Map: Bird's Eye View of Albuquerque, 188
6. Photograph: Albuquerque Townscape, 1883
7. Drawings: Views in Albuquerque, 1880s .
8. Drawings: Views in Albucjuerqrue, 1880s .
9. M'ap: Historic Growth of Central
Albuquerque, 1706-1960 ......
10. Map: City Limits of 1898 and Points
of Interests ...........
11. Photograph: Metropolitan Buildings, 1880
12. Photographs: Albuquerque Churches, 1890
13. Photographs: Albuquerque Street Scenes,
1890 . . . . . . . .
14. Map: Form and Development Pattern of
Central Albuquerque ........
15. Photograph: Aerial View of Albu-
querque, 1930s ..........
16. Photograph: Aerial View of the
Albuquerque Heights Area, 1929 ..
17. Photograph: Typical Subdivision
Housing, 1940s ..........
6 .. .. 9
s .. .. 16
. . 21
. . 22
. . 24
18. Photograph: Aerial View of Albuguer-
que, late 1950s ... .... .....
19. Photograph: Aerial View of Winrock
Center, 1961 . . . . . . .
20. Photograph: Albuquerque Cityscape,
early 1960s . . . . . . .
21. Photograph: Grand Plaza, 1975.... ..
22. H~ap: Albuquerque Public Renewal
Areas, 1970 . . . . . . .
23. Map: Orientational Sketch of Albu-
querque, 1976 . .. . ... .. .
24. Map: Location of Study Areas.......
25. Map: Old Town and Downtown
Neighborhood Areas, 1976 .......
26. Map: Huning Highlands Neiborhood
and Proposed Railroad Era Historic Zone
27. Photograph: Old Town Plaza, 1908 .....
28. Photograph: Old Town Street Scene, 1940s .
29. Map: Old Town Historic Zone, 1958 .....
30. News Article: San Felipe Hotel
Razed, 1960 . . . . . . .
31. News Article: Changes in Old
Town Plaza, 1971 ...........
32. Photograph: Huning Castle, 1881-1955 ...
33. Photo News Articles: Albuquerque
National Bank Building Demolition, 1956
34. News Article: Noa Ilfeld House to
be Demolished, 1957 ..........
35. Photo News Articles: Old Bernalillo
County Courthouse Demolished, 1959 ..
36. News Article: Whiting Building
to be Demolished, 1962 .....,,.
37. Drawing: Elevation of the
Alvarado Hotel, 1901-1970 .....
38. News Article: Huning Highlands
Neighborhood Needs Help, 1969 ...
39. News Article: Franciscan Hotel to
be Demolished, 1970 ........
40. Photo News Article: Demolition
of the Franciscan Hotel, 1972 ...
41. Photo News Article: Demolition of
the Downtown YMCA.Building, 1974 .
42. Photo News Article: Partial Demolition
of the Charles Ilfeld Building, 1974
43. News Article: "Korber Building Doomed,"
44. Photographs: Alvarado Hotel, circa 1903
45. Photographs: Demolition of the
Alvarado H~otel, 1970.......
46. Drawing: Elevation of the Alvarado
Hotel, 1901-1970 .........
47. Photograph: Entrance of the Charles
Ilfeld Building ..........
48. Photographs: Charles Ilfeld Building,
Exterior and Interior, 1974 ....
49. Photo News Article: Southwest Brewery
and Ice Company, 1969 .......
50. Photograph: Occidental Insurance
Company Building, 1971 ......
51. Drawings: Representative Significant
Extant Structures, 1976 ......
52. Photo News Article: Kimo Theater
Ornamentation, 1976 ........
53. Photograph: University of New Mexico
Administration Building, 1909 ...
975 .. 63
. . 66
. . 79
. . 84
. . 88
. . 89
. . 90
. . 91
. . 92
54. Photo News Article: WPA Fire Station
No. 3, 1975 ... .. ... .. .. .. 93
55. Photo News Article: WJPA Architecture in
Albuquerque, 1966 . ... .. .. .. .. 94
56. Map: Neighborhoods in Central Albu-
querque, 1965 .. .. ... ... .. 96
AC KNOWL;EDGMENT S
Special thanks to Sue Dewitt, executive director of the
Historic Landmarks Survey of Albuquerque; Deryl Dick, archi-
tect; Jacqueline Francish, executive director of the Neigh-
borhood Housing Service, and Ted Pocter of the Albuquerque/
Bernalillo County Planning.Department for their interest and
assistance in this study.
This study marks the beginning of a new personal awareness
for me concerning the history and future of preservation
activity in Albuquerque. Having lived in Albuquerque, New
Mexico for twenty-four years, I was embarrassed at how
little I knew about the city when I began this study. After
a period of five years away from the city, my initial re-
collections of preservation activity in Albuquerque, aside
from the development of the Old Town historic area, were of
one frustrating defeat after another for a courageous few
preservationists as the urban renewal machine rolled on to
the tune of an apathetic majority. On my return to the city
in September of this year, my initial impressions coincided
with those recollections.
It was not until discussions with Ted Pocter, of the Albu-
querque/Bernalillo County Planning Department, and Sue Dewitt,
of the Historic Landmarks Survey of Albuquerque, that I
realized that things have changed. Although much of the
city's cultural heritage has been lost, the opportunity for
a dynamic preservation program exists if the trend toward
cooperation between the preservationist and the city govern-
ment, and the growing awareness and support of the general
public, as revealed by this study, continue.
The information gathered will be presented in a chronologi-
cal series of case studies, beginning with the first organized
preservation effort in Albuquerque and the creation of the
Historic Old Town Zone. Before investigating individual
cases, a brief look at the city's history will help to place
in perspective the influences which have shaped the develop-
ment of Albuquerque (see Appendix A).
Albuquerque, located near the geographic center of the
state of New Mexico, lies on the inner river valley and
adjacent bluffs of the Rio Grande River, halfway between
Isleta and Sandia Pueblos (see map, p. 4 ). The original
settlement, Villa de Albuquerque, was founded in 1706 by
Spanish settlers who had moved south from Bernalillo.1
Early Albuquerque was characterized by low squat adobe build-
ings of Spanish Colonial and Pueblo design, grouped around
a rectangular defensible plaza. San Felipe de Neri Church
(on the National Register of Historic Places), constructed
on the north side of the plaza by Franciscan priests in
1706,2 has served as the nucleus of tevlafroe w
hundred years (see plan, p. 43 )
For much of its early history the villa was merely a stopping
place on the El Camino Real. By the 1870s Albuquerque had
developed into a freighting center of local importance, due
to its location at the intersection of the El Camino Real
and the east-west trail through the Sandia and Manzano moun-
taisto the east.
The coming of the railroad was the single most important
development in Albuquerque's late nineteenth and twentieth
* --r ~ I .~ .1. ,n,
sp at----r-.-~. -n -s..
~llon Lr nLIrI r ), .
17~~n 4 + .
un~~~~~*U Swns ler Lq b e
--E --CI Ai-;1
u b ~ r -r
ord~n rgI UN, .. ~
Y~~~ ~ M, (0 (uded n 1 ~~u n~fr
Figure~c 1 A ofNw eic.MwMxc SaePln ngOfcHsoic'~'
Prsrvatins Pan fo e eio .3
II !.k~AC~..~.~trYk~i; ~5.::;;1~:~,1:
'This photograph, one of a series of stereoptican view~s, w~as labeled as thie main
street of Albuquerque by the photograp~hers, Centennial Photographic Co., of
Philaldelphia, who made it in the 1870's. They noted that "Mlain Street has several
quaint old adobes which have probably stood a century. Many oxicams are
constantly on this street." The picture w~as made for the 1876 Centennial.
Figure 2 Fitspatrick, Albuq uerq ue a 100 Years in Pictures,
ico State Planning Department,
SPreservationl a Plan for New
*Sanr Felipe de Ner-i Chulrr ch,? A~lbuqeru elrc~ l Belna~lillo
County.. Builr in 179,3 uponl the site of an erarlicr
17(,(i church anid possibly ilc~orporating somec of
the walls of that structures,, Saln Ferlipc die NerIi
Chulrh has been in ontinuous use since that timeic
but has1 b~een frequellntly alteredc to? satisfy) new~i
co ndi tionis asul( preferences.~''~ Conside~rud I epaLraLtcl,
each pha~se of` ccnstruction prlovides~ as line an11
architectural exampllell of` its period as cain be found(
in N~ew Mexsico. Th~le manssive aIdobe walls wvith
w~ood vignis andtl clubloraitely culrVedt Cu~rbe~ls datlingL
fr-om the 18th rcntulry arle I~~represetative of' tlat
Periodl as ar~e thle single nlave, pol!-gona~l apse. New M~xJ
pro~jecting transe~t anid choir loft ox er the ma~inl Hi~storic
entralnce. Th`~e mnid to Ilate 19th~ century- extrcior. MEIxico,
including two bell towevrs, shiows the decvelopmentl r
of New~ Mexsico fo~lk art. T'he chanrcel and sacristic~s
contain some of thec finest existing examples of
New Mxc~ican inlterpretations of Grecek Reviva; l
and Victorianl cabinet work andi decoiraion..
Figure 3 San FBlipe de Neri Church, Old Town,
Albuquerque, New Mlexico. Sources s Hrper's
reprint poster, n~d.
One of several old hanciendans in Alb~uquerque. (Hanrper's, April. 1885.)
Figure 4 Views of E~arly Albuquerque. Gregg, New 1%xico
in the Nineteenth Century, p.109*
',:j~;~.S-'~"~i2~;92i;l_ .r cr9~;3
11 r i'
r I, la
ii:ikvl ;. r;s'Ij.L~.f~t~-;~-
Sleepy plaza of A~lbuquerque inl the 1850s. This
plaza wans actually to the w~est of today's Old
Town Plaza. (Davis, 1857.)
---~----- ~ I_----
---g--' --~; I II
-- -, 1
1~ 1 ;tl
Except for sulr-
Churc I oks
much the same
Wa'll around the plaza wcas
adlded later. (Sw~eetser, 1891)
iis building housed the St. Elmno and the
bite Elephalntl saloons. It wa-s w\here thle
nshine Buildin" ol .Secondl and Central
today. (Ritch, 1885.)
century history. The Atlantic and Pacific Railroad, the
forerunner of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad
(ATSF), following the natural topography of the valley, laid
its tracks one-and-one-half miles east of the villa in 1880.4
Overnight a new town developed, physically separate and self-
contained. The new town's development (see map, p. 9 )
typical of that of railroad towns of the period, was in a
rigid pattern of short blocks and grid-iron streets which
were surveyed and plotted to the east and west of the rail-
yards.5 The shops constructed by the Atlantic and Pacific
at the new townsite were the largest on the line.
Commerce activity in New Albuquerque was clustered around
the passenger depot, in pitched-roof wooden structures, on
the west side of the tracks. Residences, many in the Vic-
torian manner, were built to the south and east of the depot,
around the railroad shops which became the primary employment
center of the new community.6 The main line of the railroad
became the spine along which all early industrial and ware-
housing development occurred (see map, p. 15 ).
Between 1880 and 1882 the population of Albuquerque increased
from 1,307 to over 12,000 as a real estate boom swept over the
land between Old and New Albuquerque (see map, p.14 ).7
In the 1890s, larger and more permanent buildings were con-
structed as Albuquerque became a major regional commercial
A "Bird's Eye View~" map, of Alb~uqulerquee in 1886,, drawn by Augustus Koch
"'aws .Albuquerque had seven churches, three sc-hools, water, gais and elctiri works,
planing mill, railroad shops, five hotels, soda and bottling works, Albuquerqlue
oundry, two flour mills, and a brewerry.
Figure 5 Fitzpatrick, Albuguersue s 100 Years in Picturess P* 39*
-.-i i-'i~L, ~
~ : .~~t~
.~:TCeZs=r;~b7~;4i~~\~?- .~ *~,;J;
~rS ,~T ~I
~ ':.,~ I;
~f* ;~. -; ~,;;
R'O ~ ~P ..,.. ~:;:I;;... ..C'''
: .'LFI~ '
'6~ ~-- ~ r'e
- . r
aar t~- r rl
-"'`" ~ \7~F,,~
-~3~~C -,;rrs~:a~i;L~,~,: -FT~ --
;::' .. i~-C'~.~:
,c?'~p~' ~A~,.y-.. -,.-~t~~C_.un24
i~-" ~59~ it
C3r.. ~ i-
~ij3a -a t.-i.
~CL~ ~I-v-; n
,-3 r r"'_~I~t'EV \r -
;..F ~ "
S~F' ~L ----~'tl.-.
CI~. ,-A u, .~
~r: ''~ '""'
~; p--~U ~.sl~ Cd(: .4i~LI-
T ~IC~ r
~* - :~CLA
.~ii- -I .n;~c~~ ye
~lrr ~ ~P-t~C,~an: f..
'.;%~~" -r :-1 iiP~L:it~:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::~
r.s!'V--Y' + I 1'U C-
A -e ;: ~..
--3.._. fS. .1. .L~: -:Ti~i~j:
In 1883 Alburquerque looked like this from the sandlhills. The three-story
building wvith th~e towe.r at left was the San Felipe Hotel at the corner of Fifth and
Gold where the U.S. Courthouse is now located.
Figure 6 Fitspatrick, Albuquerqluet 100 Years in Pictures, p. 17.
..~.~aY,.; i..; .-.-
Figure ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ --~-~ 7 iw nNw luuru, e eio
1. ilrad vene (ental Aveu) ot sie looking ast
---~ ----;s 1~~:L-'-le~- II -, -1..~
.It1.....,. .r E:
I:~ ,~ -T~i Llr
-t -=-----~- ~C1
Figur 8 Views in New Albuguer ue, New Mexico. 1.Ha~rsch Block, 2.Ikilroad
Avenue, southside, looking east, 3.Yiew of Front Street and
Railroad Avenue. Sources a Hrper's reprint poster, n.d.
and distribution center. By 1900 Albuquerque had a number
of architecturally significant buildings, many due to
former New York architect, Edward Buxton Cristy, who designed
several churches and many of the finer residences in the
One of the most significant structures of this era was the
Alvarado Hotel, built by the ATSF for the Fred Harvey Company
in 1901. Designed in a unique blend of the early California
Mission Revival and the local Spanish-Indian Revival styles,
by Charles F. Whittlesey of Chicago, the Alvarado was con-
sidered by many to be the finest railroad hotel in the coun-
try.9 The case of the Alvarado's loss marked the saddest
chapter in Albuquerque's preservation history.
Albuquerque became a crossroads town in the mid-1920s with
the completion of intersecting U.S. Highways 85 (north-south)
and 66 (east-west) at Fourth Street and Central Avenue.1
With the increased popularity of the automobile, this inter-
section greatly influenced the development of commercial land
use as the business center gravitated toward it. The result-
ant development reached its peak at the intersection with
strip development lining the four major approaches to the
central city (see map, p. 19 ).For many years the two high-
ways provided the only crossing points on the Rio Grande in
_ ~ _ I~_ _
Figure 9 AIp of the Historical Growth of Albuquerque
New J~lxico. Albuquerque City Planning Dept.
Albusuerque Central Area Study, p. 21.
g ggg - 1706
F l1706 1890
E 'ES"7~ 1893 1940
~i:1;r1~: 1940 1960
CITY LIMITS OF 1898 AND POINTS OF INTEREST
Albuquerque City Planning Despartment, Albuquergrue Centr~al Area Study, p. 22.
A & P HOSPITAL
BANK OF COMMERCE
C. E!RC:AL CLUB
ELECTRIC LIGHT STATION
FIRST NATIONAL BANK
GLOR IETA HALL
GRAND CENTRAL HOTEL
GRASS BLACKWELL CO.
HUNING'S EARLY RESIDENCE
JAIL & CITY HALL
M. E. CHURCH
OLO GR IST MILL
OLD TOWN COURT HOUSE
AND COUNTY OFFICES
PRESBYTER AN CHURCH
SAN FELIPE CHURCH
SAN FELIPE HOTEL
SANTA FE SHOPS
SOUTHWESTERN BREWERY & ICE CO.
SPANISH PRESBYTERIAN CHURCH
ST. MARY'S ACADEMY
ST. VINCENT ACADEMY
THE G0LD STAR
WOOL SCOUR NG MILL
Theli Metroplitann B~uilding on ther northwest coroner of F-ir~s ;rtl andcentral in the
80's. O)n the scoucnd floor wa;s a1 hotel aIndl a saloon on th1e first floor. Ou\ri the clears thei
buiildling hloused mny~n kinds of businesses -- in more recec~nt yerar-s a dlrug st ore aInd
thecn a7 pmv\~n shop' until it w~as demolished aIs p~art of the L'rba,;n llRenwall
Figure 11 Fitzpatrick, Albuquerque a 100 Years in Pictures,
Some of .-Albugrclucr lle's c~hurchels and school bulildings ass they! ;Ippearer~d in a
pamph')let issued in 1890O. Street scecnes that ;I~~apered in ther same 1890 hooklet are
slio\n on the Tfacing r,;ge.
Figure 12 Pitzpatrick, Albuquerqlue a 100 Years in Pictures,
Figure 13 Albuquerque street scenes, 1890. Fitzpatrick, Albuquerque a
100 Years in Pictures, p. 23.
/ . ,,
r-~ ~ i Ut,
S ~ ~ it
..., ! 9
(1 ;3 ii '-~ ~ji
PHY818AUL OrMnr AnD
DEVELOPMENT PATTERN OF
1. RI C RANDE
2. VALLEY BLUFFS
3. HISTORIC 010 TOWN
4. A.T.and S.F.R.R. MAlN LINE
5. OLO CROSSROAdS
8. OLD BRIDGES
7. NEW CROSSROADS
8. BUSINESS CORE
~7 9. STRIP COMMERCIAL
,' 10.MAJOR RESIDENTIAL DISTRICTS
11. TRANSITION AREA
12. INDUSTRIAL AREA
13. MAJOR OPEN SPACE
Figure 14 ABp of Aevelopment Pattern of
Central Albuquerque. Albuquerque
Planning Ikpartment, The Aw~n-
towrn Plan, p. 5*
jri[~: j Ir,,
During the 1920s and early 1930s the downtown area business
district enjoyed boom development, with a high level of new
construction. In 1922 the horizontal character of the city
was altered dramatically with the construction of the nine-
story First National Bank Building at Third Street and Cen-
tral Avenue. The next year the eight-story Franciscan Hotel
was completed at Sixth Street and Central Avenue.11 In
these years the area northwest of downtown was fixed as a
large industrial district with the construction of the city's
first industrial spur (see map, p.19 ).12
Albuquerque's development slowed markedly as a result of the
Depression, though the city did not suffer to the extent
that eastern cities did. Full advantage was taken of Depres-
sion-born federal programs, such as the CWA, WPA and PWA, to
develop parks, a major governmental center, a new airport
complex, expanded educational facilities at the University
of New Mexico, and many other improvements.
In the years immediately following the Depression, there had
been only a tentative expansion onto the mesa to the north-
east of the city.13 Most business activity was still con-
fined to the valley and along East Central Avenue (U.S. 66).
The few scattered subdivisions which were developed beyond
the valley's bluffs, to the east of the river, became known
as the Heights.
..~i C~ .~
" r i:.a's16 vlr;. -
c- -~":'' .c .,ur
-' iti ~r LD.
,. , .'.. ;i '~3~%
.L. jifl~y~:.L ii ---ix-^~^-L~~~- i~
..i" ~ ~~~_ _~ _ii,. .~...,~i:' r.r:s?-- --~r
., _.lj s;=p'r!
c .i- C'.C -". ""--'r" ~-i~~9~~
r_ .. ~~C~Iu
z:f -.- :~:?a~t:-'~* :.Z;~.~;~C;zj,7."' ~~,~; vt~t ----;-'-
, .,r -4 .~~-LI \r*J~iL~:.ii-~~2dr.-CL~I~~
-.~~ .~-'W-"'. ~r Lil~
,, ,- rr
1Zll~f~C~;iCI~CPCI- ~C~-~rE~:~j~J-i~i~)' ~~~C~L~iJ~j~7;1~2CKiSL~
In the early 1930's Albuclucrclue had madce onily a tentaitive expannsion onito thec
northeast mecsa. Business and residecnces wvere mostly confined to the V'alley and along
ast Central with a few scattered subdivisions in the H-eights. T'he farthest east
sidential street was Solano.
Figure 15 Fitclpatrick, Albusuerqlue a 100 Years in Pictures, p. 101.
A~n aerial photograp-h of the H-eights area of Albuquerque in 1929 shows the
ca mpus of t he University i n the center of the photo. WVhere the paved road branches to
form~ a Y, upper right, is the corner of Central, Girard and M\onte Vista.
Figure 16 Fitzpatrick, Albuquerque a 100 Years in Pictures,
cI. ~4~h; I,
.~I ' ;~4~f
During World War II private development slowed in Albuquer-
que, but, as a result of the -recent completion of the city's
WPA municipal airport complex, Kirtland Field was established
and three thousand Army Air Corps personnel moved in to
train B-17 flight crews.14 Today a combined Kirtland Air
Force Base and Sandia (Army) Base research and testing com-
plex, with an annual payroll of over 180 million dollars,
employes sixteen thousand .personnel.15
It was the expansion of Sandia Base and its tenant research
organization, Sandia Laboratories, into peacetime nuclear,
laser and energy source research that triggered the boom which
sent Albuquerque's population doubling and redoubling in the
late 1940s and the 1950s. The resultant residential building
boom gave rise to numerous, quickly-built, leapfrog subdivisions
in the area to the north of the bases. This uncontrolled
expansion resulted in the city's first comprehensive zoning
ordinance in 1954. When all the figures were finally in,
over 385 million construction dollars were spent during the
The shopping center, in the years immediately following
World War II, began to emerge as a major decentralizing ele-
ment, in direct competition with the city's traditional busi-
ness center. The first of these early centers were located
in the Heights as were the regional shopping centers of the
During the w\ar boom of the early 40's homes wecre in great demand, andt
numecrouss small, quickly built subdivisions w~ere startedl in nort~heast A\lbucquerque.
Figure 17 Fitepatricc, Albuquerqlue a 100 Years in Pictures, p. 119.
A~ir \iew of Alb~uqurque-c~l in the late 1950's. T~he residential alreas we-re sprearding
ca;-st, but1 \ with the ecepcltion of the Simms B~ldg., fo~r of thc large dolyntow~n buildings
ha~d let beecn const ructecd. InI 1959, the Bannk Of Ne\ir Mexcico went u~p o~n the southwest
corner of Fourth and G~old. ~Then followed such others as the tw~o new~ Federal
buildings, the National Building, City Hall1 aInd others of less mangnitude.11~'ith thec in-
augural.;tionl of theC I'rba~n Dev\elopme~nt P'crogrm. the dowmnoisn areca bcgaln to aIcqcuire
a co~mplete newi look.
Figure 18 Fitspatrick, Albuquerque a 100 Years in Pictures, p.134.
1960s and 1970s.1 The development of the shopping center
left downtown to follow the nationwide trend of transition
of the last twenty years from the city's primary market
center to a metropolitan financial, business and governmental
The freeway system which crisscrosses the city (north-south
Interstate 25 and east-west Interstate 40), completed in the
1960s, helped to alleviate the traffic problems brought
about by :the city's phenomenal growth (see map, p. 34 ). The
continuing influx of new residents kept the construction boom
going as the city's population increased from 97,012 to 201,189
from 1950 to 1960.1
As a result of the threatening encroachment of freeway align-
ments and related industrial development on Old Town, the
city's historical center, the legislation of a historical zone,
as part of the city's zoning ordinance, was proposed in 1956.19
The following year the H-1 Historic Old Town Zone became part
of the Albuquerque Comprehensive City Zoning Code (see map,
p. 43 and Appendix B).
In 1961 Albuquerque's first regional shopping center, Winrock
Center, was completed. Winrock Center, the creation of
Victor Gruen Associates, with its original 450,000 square feet
of retail space, was the forerunner of the multitude of cen-
rr~` -~P~l~mrY+LLjiYUP~)~9Z~~~=i~B- 16~ ~~d~~h '*-
j~iir .* o I
EP~1; P. r
.dY ,J r,~bL;.
~:,,, .~i' 1
tll E I :"' '''''' "'
..CE~~J~.~; I; fl:Sl
~ jr - r:~?CJl ~; :'~'
1s. ~faC,' : .-.= ...~~,.rr~-. ~~J~j
;;;-: ii~aYssi~B~c: i *-1 -i1(hS ;C~:;:
2' ..~..' 1. ~. I
On .\larch i, 1~G1, ~Vinrock Center Albuqucrque's first big shopIing center
~~ss opened Mith -1j0,00O squnre feet of retail space. Since this photogialh uas
matle on ol""ing da), the Center has had additional construction that doubled the
retail sl'nce. In addition, a thcnter, hotel and apartn~ents have been built and also the
rcc~va~ along the south side of the property. The road at bottorn left is Louisiana
Fi~relS Fitzpatrick, 1Ubuquerque ~.00 Years in Pictures, pr 137
ters which now line the east-west segment of the city's
With the character of downtown rapidly changing as its com-
mercial stability deteriorated, the first public action move
toward physical revitalization of the area began with the
creation of the City Building Removal Team (CBRT) in 1962.
The team, made up of personnel from the city's Fire, Build-
ing, Planning and Environmental Health Departments, surveyed
over 90 of the oldest structures downtown. Many of these
buildings, lying between First and Third Streets, parallel
to the railroad line, were of the railroad era. Of the
ninety buildings surveyed, 31 were condemned and, by 1963,
24 had been removed.2 It was the CBRT that ushered in the
reign of the wrecking ball in Albuquerque.
Between 1964 and 1966 the Albuquerque Metropolitan Develop-
ment Committee (AMDC) attempted revitalization downtown with
its "sidewides" program of sidewalk development, planting
and a general face-lift of the commercial development on
Central Avenue, between First and Fourth Streets (see map,
p. 31 ).2During this same time period the AMcDC established
a plan for a monumental governmental, business, convention
and banking center for the area north of the Central Avenue
Commercial Development, between Tijeras and Lomas Avenues.
The center, Grand Plaza, is a reality today while Central
...... II '''''"'~' ~''~:
--- r ~`*
jy IlY1-- C_-
Figure 20 TIhe S~imms B~uilding on the southwest corner of Fourth and Gold, got a high-rise
neighbor in 1959 when the B3ank of Newv M\exico was built on the southeast corner, on
the location known to old-tim-e Albucluerqueans as WVright's T'rading Post.
Albuquerque's downtown area~ was beginning to take on a high-rise metropolitan
Eitzpatrick, Albuquerque s 100 Years in Pictures, p. 135*
Albuquerque Civic Ploaza
left, and nearby city govern-
ment buildings form part of a
renewal project in downtown
Albuquerque. The plaza re-
placed a number of run-down
I~ :: ---
Ji i~lh-~fl ~ id
; ~ I
I I I-111
Figure 21 Woolston, "Albuquerque, p. 317.
Avenue, only two blocks to the south, still suffers from
the blight that "sidewides" Couldn't cure.
In 1969 the area directly east of the ATSF main line was
included in Albuquerque's Model Neighborhood area. The major
accomplishment of .this program was in the upgrading of area
public utilities (see map, p. 31 )
The Albuquerque Urban Development Agency (AUDA) took over
the downtown "revitalization in the 1970s. More old, famil-
iar storefronts disappeared, with entire blocks of buildings
being razed to make room for parking lots and new construc-
tion of all kinds: a library, police complex, city hall,
banks, office buildings, convention center and a major hotel
...creating a totally new look in downtown Albuquerque, or
is it downtown Omaha, or...
~4 IL; I:I
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-irJ~ 7-~ ~Z L_-~i3s~i
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~L~U 1~1 1OI
,i , rl
00WNTOWN \N RATION
TO PUBLIC RENEWAL
ABp of Public Renewal Areas, 1970.
Albuquerque Planning Department,
The Dobwntown Plan, p. 17.
PRESERVATION CASE STUDIES
Erlv~ ~I~~lrl~~ltjoyt-CL~ --d
Figure 23 Albuquerque: Orientational Sketch, 1976.
Figure 24 Location Map:
A. Old Town
B. Downtown Neighborhood Area
C. Grand Plaza
D. Proposed Railroad Era Historic Zone
E. Huning Highland Neighborhood Area
F. University of New Mexico
G. Kirtland/Sandia Military Reservatio
Source of base map: Albuquerque/Bernalillo
County Planning Department.
Albuquerque and Vicinity January,1976
Location Key for Figures 25 and 26:
a. Alvarado Hotel
b. Downtown YMCA
*c. Charles Ilfeld Building
*d. Kimo Theatre
*e. Occidental Insurance Company Building
f Korber Building
*g. Old Albuquerque High School
*h. San Felipe de Neri Church
~~~i3:- II MTl(ir a ~~
"' . i' i-
.li- : i-
...,, : 7 L~~i I/ i -i
C ~ )' hl! ~7
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Figure 25 Map of Old Town and Downtown Neighborhood Areas, 1976.
Source of base map: Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Planning Department, Zoning Atlas
r :J ii Ir-l 2r
r~77I~cIt~-t: ::I i, a
s I: iii
~~ ,-; i
,C~7'iiri4, i r.pl !I
.-f .. :I-.
~7~11" pII I~
II:: : 1:'11 ii ,,~,I, ,.
i I ~I ..~i c.;
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1~7iZ.~7;7153iriniI i-iii B41$H
Figure 26 Huning Highland Neighborhood Area and Proposed Railroad Era Historic Zone.
Source of base map: Albuquerque/Bernalillo County Planning Department, Zoning Atlas, K-14Z.
It was with Old Town that Albuquerque's earliest preserva-
tion efforts began. Old Town or Villa de Albuquerque was
left as a slum after the coming of the railroad in 1880.
During the 1940s the old plaza's businessmen began to promote
the economic development of the villa as a tourist attrac-
tion. As a result of these redevelopment efforts, the Plaza
Business Association (PBA) was formed in 1947.23
Major concern over the preservation of Old Town was aroused
in 1952 as a major truck line proposed the construction of
a freight terminal on the east edge of the villa's perimeter.24
In acting to prevent the terminal's construction, the PBA's
stated goal was "not just to protect the plaza for local
businesses, but for its historic value to the whole city
.. "25 The PBA's efforts only delayed the terminal's
construction until the city's east-west freeway alignment
was set just blocks north of the plaza (see map, p. 35 ). With
the rush of industrial and warehousing development along the
freeway, many others became concerned about the future of Old
Finally, as the culmination of many years of work by the PBA,
the Albuquerque Historical Society and concerned citizens,
A~ view~ of the O)ld 'Town p~laza, w\ith San Felipe c~hurch in the blc-kground,
p'hotograp'hed in 19)08.
Figure 27 Fitzpattrick, Albuquerque 100 Years in Pictures,
3~"1~ ~ s
A\s late as the 1940's, Old TIow\n still lookedl like a quiet rurral village.
Figure 28 Fitepatrick, Albuquerque a 100 Years in Pictures,
the City Commission created the H-1 Historic Old Town Zone
as an addition to the city's three-year old comprehensive
zoning ordinance (see Appendix B) in September, 1957.26
The historic zone was established to preserve the general
character and appearance of Old Town and the city's Board
of Adjustment was charged with insuring that new development
in the area was of "the same unique historical and archi-
tectural character as the present establishments."2 In 1968
the Old Town Architectural Review Board was created to ad-
minister the H-1 ordinance.28
In the early years of the Historic Old Town Zone, sign con-
trol, demolition and public education proved to be the most
difficult problems. Trashy signs continually threatened to
destroy the architectural features which created the unique
atmosphere of Old Town. The destruction of the 100-year-old
San Felipe Hotel, in June 1960 (see p. 44 ), demonstrated
another of the ordinance's shortcomings as it failed to ad-
dress the problem of demolition control.29 Through experience
and influenced by the Santa Fe Historic District Regulations,
these difficulties have been dealt with.
The most difficult problem, in the early days as well as today,
is the lack of awareness and support of preservation activity
by the general public.30 The meaningful preservation of any
cultural property, without the support of the people, is al-
'A/b~uquerque,~ /ew Mnex~co
Figure 29 ABp of Old Town Historic, Zone. Albuquerque
I Planning Depa~itment, "Old Albuquerque Historic
Zone"(Arch 1958). (Pamphlet.)
Riob Grgand BouLcenrel
oning LayJ~ Fakils to Save Londowrk
2 960._ lbrac- ce
The century-old San Felipe A
Hotel nerOdTw sa pile
of broken adobes and crumb-.l .
ling boards, probably because '',1
of legislative oversight by~the ;
City Commission. :r
The landmark, on Central .I ?~
between San Pasquale and Rio ,7
Grande NW, which was a social "
center in Albuquerque during G
the Civil WTar, is being. razed. c..rx j~.-4--- ~--J- T pr ~~e~
The city's historic zoning ord- r:;
finance doesn't forbid the de- c,,Lr CfJ~ l1IVn P'.;-LFf
SThe building is owned by the .
Mildred M~ichelson Estate. Sat- ; - I
urday afternoon the adminis- ;.j :P I
trator, Leonard Bell, said the
building is being torn down r~-
because the city has~ classified .r .
it as a building hazard. ir a '1
The city's historic zoning law
requires all alterations and ad- ..U,~
editions to buildings in the his-
taric zone be approved by the
zoning board. But it doesn't I
mention destruction or de- r
Historians and some Old
Town~ Plaza business men re-
gard the demolition as "a i
tragic loss to the city." i
The building was first erect- AW~TER 100 YIEARS: This is how the San months ago, showing that the building, al-
ed in about 1858 or 1860 on the Felipe Hotel near Old Town looked after just though damaged, was still standing. It is
site of another inn. Its early about 100 years. This photo was taken a few being razed because it is a hazard.
history is a bit clouded, but
according to a report by Alan
M~inge, an Albuquerque hiss-'
torian the building may have.
served as a military post prior
to the Civil War. It w~as a .~. .r
hotel in the early 1860's, and '"
also served as a stage coach -
station. .- ."
"It is believed to heav been .' 3 `
visited by such notables as Kit -c h iL ~i..5~~e.~
Carson, Gen. Phil Sheridan I r; r
and Gov. Lew Wallace, author .. ,
of "Ben Hur," and many oth-
ers,'' a recent report by Minge ;*.
3 ~ 2p~l`
r 5 r :Tfi
-i: I i.. ... ii 1 L1. ?(I
r I '-r
j.'.-L. I .I r;
/- ';'s ~) - '
.1- r r $ --
-, r. ,
c ;~ r r c;
r 1 '' "- J:bL i-
5 ~ .-i-. . -.
4. .. r
l.d- ? ~n.,~: .~-1
n"b- ~ - ~35:~._
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F'1 r:. r- r i;jCLC:;c:~i 4r..-I
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;Fi .-..L~- iLi-i~-:
Figure 30 San Fblipe
Albuq nerg ue Journal,
12 June 1960.--
SAN FELIPE TODAY: This pile of bubble is
all that remains today of the century-old
San Felipe Hotel The landmark is being
razed because it is a hazard.-The structure
once served as an Inn, a meeting place for
Civil War soldiers and a theater.
(. (Journal photo)
1 4 .
'I 001Year-Old SanMlipe
A se 0 cangesurr~ounds~ -
is e of y~~ tesheday in Plazias
v TIIOWARDP BRYAN~~
Tribune Staff Writer
A2lbuquerqlue, largest city in
New Mlexico, began life more
than twro' and one-hnalf cen-
turies ago as a small village of
Spanish settlers in a wooded'
area "to musket shots cast of-
the Rio Grande."
Time has brought many
changes in the size and ap-
pearance of Albuouerque, in
its grow-th from 30 families to
more than 200,000. inhabitants,
but the scene of the city's
founding in 1706 remains little
THTE SCENE IS the Old:
Towal Plaza, a quaint and:
charming island of historical
interest surrounded on -all
sides by the hustle and bustle
of the metropolitan city of
which it was the nucleus.
Old Town, designated and
protected as a historical zone,
is situated less than a mile
wecst of the city's main
business district and only a
block north of busy Central
Ave. (Hwry. 6).
OLD TOWIN buildings and
bomes which once served as
the center of AI'ouquerque's
business and social lif'e remain
intact, retaining their old ex-
terior a~pparances to .some
extent but transformed inside -
int~o colorful restaurants, gift
and curio's op and arts' and
In the center of the district
is the. plaza isla
landscaped square with a
band stand in the center, con-
taining bronze plaques com-
memorating some of~ the
highlights: of ~Albuquerque's
school. It now houses a sneak~.
Facing the pl~aza rom the
oftemo t dan 60s eps amd
restaurants of Old Town1, many,
of them wvith portals-shading
brick sidewalks. ,
OTHER SHIOPIS, restaurants
and turqluoise jewelry for sale
streets, or surround sniall pa-
tios which are reached by
sidewralks or lanes. -
Pueblo Indians display silvecr
and tulrquise jew-elry for sale
on brick sidewalks east of the
plaza and usually sell Indian
bread on weekends.
Spanish and folk guitarists
entertain diners at some of the
SOMIE OF THE OLD .Tofn~
shops and restaurants are-
owfned and operated by
descendants of Albuiquerque's
original founding families.
As one of the bronze tablets
on the plaza notes, here is an:
"island of yesterday surround-
by a sea of .change and prsJ
dead whEo lay buried in un-
known graves near the plaza.
The roofed bandstand is the
scene of periodic and
sometimes spontaneous enter-
The plaza is illuminated at
night ~by the soft glow of gas
lamps. : 1
Landmark,' the tw~in-steepled
San Felipe de N'eri Catholic
FOUR BRiONZE PLA~QUES. Church, faces the plaza from
flush w\ith the ground in the the north,
wfest edge of the park, provide The adobe-wralled chtirch
a brief outline of Albuouerque dates from the city's founding
history under the flags of 1880, joins the Chturch on the
Spain, M~exico, the Con- present proportions in the
federacy and the UCnited States. 1790's. The doors are usually
Tu-o Civil W'ar cannons, open. .-
buried by retreating Con-.
federate troops in 1852 and THIE SISTER~ BLAN~DINA
later unearthed a short Convent, dating from about
distance northeast of the 1880, joins the hurch on the
plaza, are mounted on un- west, while the even older
dercarriages on the east: side chdlurch rectory stands just to
,pfthe plaza._.,-. .`.:.. L .. .the east: '
Bronze plaques on the Just behind the' convent,
bandstand commemorate the -. facing Romero NW, is.a one-
cit's ouningin 706andpaystory adobe structure whlich
tribute to Confederate war ..housed .Abqeqesfrt
most impossible. The public must be made aware of the value
of its heritage to today's~world, both culturally and economi-
Old Town R~Eain Faces.
hrnvY.~:iirCmwsR-BU U Q HISTO;
SThe threat of heavy industry is cannot be a piecemeal proposition.
bolting close again to A4lbuquer- Ther'efore, If the city stands on
qu' vwo an a half-century-old eaereua aNvapr
*itpac-l -o good case for stut.
Unless the City Commission Association President Dick Ben-
iescinds an action of..]ast year, nett, restaurant proprietor, said
be courts may have to decidehi rcswltyto"rgnz
wheter avao Feigt Lnescanevery group in town" to fight the
Locate a truck terminal at the east terminal locrition.
j:dge of historic- Old Town. Association representatives. said:
Wh nen, Nav-ajo announced its they want to protest the plaza,
plans last year, the commission not just for its local .businesses,
in sym:pathyd with Plaza Business but for its historic C alue to the
c Assn.voe to ~deny the firm a whole city. They said~the plaza'
building' permit for the'terminal. draws 600,000 or more visitors a
SLast week Navajo filed its plans y~ear to Albuquerque.
with the city building division. The Navajo terminal, to cost an
Clhe ,association promptly asked estimated $200,000, is to replace
and w~as granted a hearing before N~avajo's other locations here.
the commission next Tuesday City Building Supervisor WTil-
night. ' jliam T. Stevens said no action
F' Some observers, say, however, will be taken to grant a building
p phat there is no kegal grotind for permit for terminal facilities
Refusing the N'avajo permit. Zon. pending a move by ~the. commis-
e ing might preirent it, but the slo~n,: -_~
a drafting of a zoning ordinance is
six months from completion, ac-
cording to City Planner: I. Dale
IDespain. Furthermore, z on n'g
Hi PIor Ic Zone Crehld3
l'hor City Commission ap- "non-conformingi uses" :of
C~provedrt two major additions to buildings and~structures.
thel city's zoning law Tuesday Under the revi. on, excpan-
mp~ht. slnm`ocae'o extceed 25
.One creates an "H."-historic- per cent--ot" tose' building
zoms dcsignled to preserve the uses whicl' do; not presently
rgeneral character an~d appear- comply with i;oning will be
!nce of the Old Town area. permitted upon approval by
T.:he actuall boundaries of the the adljustment board. Expan-
newIo~ H-zone will b~e Mlountain sion, however, is in no way to
l td. on thle north, Lomas and delay the termination date for
SCe~ntral on the south, Rio nlon-conformingf uses, which is
~randle on the west and San based on the life of the origi-
Pasqluale on the east. I lal, building. ..
o The amendment gives the
Board of Adjustment the task(
aol seeing that new develop-
mrents inl the area~ are of the
somlie "unliaue and historic
,z rchitecturall character" as the
,oThe second zoning ordinance
amendments permits for tihe
first time limited expansion of
HUNING CASTLE Albulquerque, New Mexico, 1881/3--1955. The most pretentious nineteenth-centuIry
house in New Mexico wvas buiilt for a wealthy merchant. It was constructed of adobe, but the exterior walls
were veneered with wood, framed at the corners by boards beveled to look like stone quoins. Inside, the
ground floor featured a ballroom, off which opened a7 bathroom said to be the fir-st in New Mexcico to be
supplied with running water. Demolished, although at the time th-ere were no plans to build on the site.
Figure 32 Greiff, Lost Americas P* 95.
Albuq~a~lpue Jounza~l 5 ~Srch 1955
r~;;l r i..-_ -r Tl~-~?.j~-' I~y~C ~~ ~.liLCil- .r~
r:'C~ ~~. ..
~C-!C-- II Iiii Pld~Wr I 1 )'Cr~lT~l~n,,
~ ~ .~ "-''"3~'
~-~t~T~S-C, IJlt I
r.- ..: ..775C~~~
A ulig hc asoeh
llbuiding ,, ,
'' Thopae taigdw of the preatSou
'-' ~ : ent old re brionckfe buidng ata
I~ r Centrhall West ndScond NWwnto
makCe room for a biger bank on
1:~jthe saestean dwi llmr the pend
. . -of a structure which was in its
:.,Ci. .. ."r-e
.. .. .
''I UTURE, HOMIE OF1 ALBUQUERQUE NATIONAL BANK(: Second NW. This view emphasizes the 205 foot-long side view
Th~is is the architect's drawing of an $800,000 new main Albu-' along Nortb Second. The Central-Copper alleyway will run
r nlerque National Bankl building to be completed in two years. through the first floor. The front will be 75 feet wide, 25
it will be built at thle bankc's Dresent site at Central West and feet more than.at Dresent
AlbUuBqueru Tribund 20 .oJune,1- I. lF95cr
... -! '
I ,.. .
I- ~~ii r.,
~~~ ' ~: :--:.*~
.. 1 -q l'
ii~~ ~~~~ ~ ~ ~ -' :r j~~o~, qs: 4
TAKE A LOO ATti eta v.lnmrk uligdrcl ot n eod oke ilsa
yo o' e eii muh10er It ite l eoihn hsstutr n h ulm ote
Albuuerue Ntioal Bnk uildng t Cntra an rigt t mak wa fo thesecnd uit f~th inti~
Secnd As soo ash akoe o-isnw, uins osrcinporm (eggt .o
glory in the 1800s~ and early
SBut the old building still has
about a year to go before its i
To Begin July 1
Construction of the new Al.
'buquerque National Bank build
ing will begin about July 1.~ B3u
it will be built~ in two stages witt
the first section being built nort"
of the Central-Copper alleyway
After this section is completed
the old building will come down
The old building wits corn-
pleted in 1891 and opened in
1892 by Charles Zeiger as Zeig
er's Saloon and Gambling House.
Club and gambling rooms occu-
pied the second floor. The first
floor was the saloon.
The basement of the building
still bears scars made by huge
whiskey barre's once stored
The new home of the bank--a
modernistic three-story building
with full basement will be
constructed of yellow brick,
Granite and aluminum,
President Fred Luthy said.
It will have a 75-foot frontage
'on Central West, 25 .feet more
xen er2 5 teet aong ior
scnd* with an alley running
thrugh the first floor of the
SONAM M R : hseaoat 82b oaIfl.I i ob e
-resdec at S23 Cope NW wsihdb teSrn ein
consider th mos elgnthmei hi ee orepnso~o zCu
Aluqeru following~- its ercto in fclte_ Safpo
dec at 823 Coppe NW onfom BrailqCut
wil be!: bu eoy pahadd te blpse
: Te-ag rc-hmoc i 97 hc ulwdgm
cosdre h m s leatin e Meic ." ela
riv e home:: in.; A~lb urue served asapoae ug ee
hi h hasL bee vaat r De o ition of' th historic i j~:
in cuols Fanc wodcry Ttuto o Testw o
Built in; 189
189 byNoa IfeldRY for his lbrt Sib 'a Ifl. ti'ob~e
brnide rs. Heen mScutz legn 'e i ~i ~e o saso~fFzCu
Mr. Ifeldand a~ brother
the Ilfe ld brohe- center thedec
shee vitran wool b ines witli ug~s lce t h lbqe~e rbn
q Mr.ue and Mrs. Ilfeld occui-Jaed Hueo lpc-naic 1O t 97
th eie ircet82 fo ma ny yeasonlrs, BrailqCu~ n
uilln smr bi~t in Walter-. jrahae th hlnn.s,
:.; T: .~
i: 7 ..e '''' '1 :..i
The old Bernalillo County
courthouse building in .Old
'Iown, which now houses the
San Felipe School, may soon
become a thing of ,the past.
The Rev. Joseph Malldy S.J.
pastor of the,, San Felipe de
Neri Church' on the plaza, said
today that' the old building
may be demolished following
erection of a new elementary
school in thle vicinity..
Rev. Mlalloy said that pre-
liminary plans have been
drawn for erecting a new Sanl
Felipe elementary school build-
ing on Old Town property now,
used by La Hacienda Restau;
rant for a parking lot. It will
be about two months before
these plans' are completed, he~
Wfhen the new school is com-
pleted, Rev. Malloy said, the
old courthouse' building prob-
ably~would be torn dowin and
the site used as a school play-
SThe historic stone building
ivas built in the early 1880O's to
replace a small adobe court-
house near the plaza, and serv-
)ed as Bernalillo County's
courthouse until 1926 when the
present courthouse was erect-
1 rosy 1958
P --' '-
i :, I i, rT i ri
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t d a
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i. r ~L -.' L.
C t~r Ir. ..~.
r .g rl.-Jipa~- *
-n hl gLk~.
ig , :I .-..r. 1-
.I 1 ''
LANDMAI~RK PASSING: Historic San Felipe thle old building. The building, erected ii
School, Lomas and Central W, is being 1886, once served as the Bernalillo Count!
demolished to make room for a play.-ground Cto rthou e --Ctf Poto)
for the new San Felipe School, just north of ..11)N~i~ 9 '90
Albuquerque Journal, 8 June 1959*
SFigure 35 Old Bernalillo County Courthouse
5 .( 1 T -,
May Demo l I
~ n. - -
LANDARKTO SAPEAR Th th sit clare fo posibl fuure
Whitin Buliga eon n od dvlomn.I ne osdofc
SW, an. Aluuru lanmar sic fW l a- ndC.(tf ht)
189 will be de oise ti fl ad
Figure~~~~~' 36WiigBidn.Ab:eqeTiue u.16.
I-- - II -- -
II I '"slrP~spl~sle~*li~~i~W~,;~;~u&; ~O. ~t~b~id;~"~l~,'-~;~LBtr~l~g~~sl~l~i~6;ss Y_~
!o 0 Dsappear Soon
By IIOW.1RD B3RYAN the Whiting Building when it
The- Whitiiing Building, a wvas comrple~ted and occupied
Isn.1m.lk of Downt~rr os.*.n Albu. quasrters at '0; S Secorndl
cluerouc fo~r mo:ire than 701 L.T. Delaney, local mna-I~
,,~ ,I~ ~.* I1 be- Ii.l irn don so~on. Mrr of thle teleerap~h afiiee
Thel~ rl..'o-s tonl-, builldnL' on rnalde the move vastho~:ur cl-~n-
th. outh'.*.est. c.:.arn,-r of Cold sulting his super:Jr3, and :*.asj
.~nl St..~:.:nd Sl'.' Is o -.ned b:, a'most~ fi~redl as a resultl. Hie
,-,,,uc.1sts ntl..!d r Cas~se t.:. Ical) her mnth.qsie
B~lanca Bar on the gr 011n Cl Sui-psun's Pawvn Shop was
floor, and the Selvia Hotel on located on the ground floor of
the second floor, the building at the turn of
The building will be demo-t cnuya20S.S-
lished this fall and the site I a eeta luur
clere fo pssilefutreque gamblers pawned their
development- diamonds after suffering gam-
Started in 1889 bling losses. The business la-
Construction of the building ter was sold to Hlenry Yanow,
wa~s started in 1889 by Calvin who in turn sold it to his
Whiting, a local real estate nephew, Frank Mindlin, who
m~an and Architect who served converted it into a jewelry
on a member of the Albuquer- store and moved it to Cen-
000 Town Couincil* Itral Ave.
When Mr. Whiting ran into a a fie
* financial difficulties, he wvas OfieofteEuabeLe
assisted in the financing and Assurace Soet of the Unitbl it-
Omn~ e n0f el u n bed States were located at the
pulrchased Whiting's interest. nf cnu llg
The Whiting Duilding was Wle akus a h
1herte thanhrs Conra Av.,wa
the orinc I~incal east es Soeaw ficsaoo-
Val~dnn's Dru g Store, orlb- e h a'atrhp fCl
Vann ouccupited part of the Coll h csier and ON M rron)an
groud foorof he uilin eders o aivnd Wilkebson (Ed
at~e that tie..alAv. ward;" L.:" Mele a ho
WellsSom Farg Ofices IN.o Wikeso)
years ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ue one thegrond floor ofCrctn prmnet h lu
the bufildingr adth 211 te SSeofiltnd. querque autor .h t
SThe Wey' bstner Und ion tele- etuy heeinld
graph' ofie whic originally ie a'prerhpso Cl
hadin be locatped acr oss the/CliradON rarn n
streetd fon the shen fulinjloor of ilesn E
If the AlvaradolIlotel comnplex Raskob, Frank A.4. Mapel, O car
is demolished, it will be don Love, Dr. E'ldred Halrrington,
only after Albuquerque has ex- Richard G. Worthen, George
hausted all efforts to save the Pearl and M~rs. Huth Armstr-ong,.
historic structures. They w~ill meet with city
Seven Allbuquerqucans have commissioners at 4 p m. M~on-
been appointed by the City lday to discuss procedures, and
Commission to study ways to elect a chairman,
save the Alvarado. They arel Santa Fe Railwvay officials
called the Committee for the have announced that the
Preservation of the Alvarado- Alvarado will be closed
Santa Fe Complex. Thursday, but have indicated
Memribers Listed that they are at last willing to
Appointed wecre ~Be~n~G, discuss possible ways of keeping
it in existence.
Part of Future
The City Planning Department
Albuquerqlue Tribune, 20 Dec. 196 qs been toiling for months over
plans for making the historic
hotel a part of downtown Albu-
M~rs. Maria Blachut, stresses
the importance of maklhing the
A4lvar-ado a "living part of the
downtown business com-
M~rs. Blachut sees the central
structure which now contains
dining facilities and some guest
rooms as the focal point
around which any plan for
preserving the Alvaradog must
Preserve Central Panrt
";It is a must to preserve this
cc-ntral part," M~rs. Alachut
said. "Then w~hatever new
stlructur~e is tied in with it will
have so~mething no other
business in this tow\n can have."
One plan she suggests is that a
now hot d also tobhe named the
Alvaraldo be built on the site
now occupied by the Young
Mo~n's Christian Association and
connected to the old Alvarado by
a covered wralkwcay over Central
Whether it is this or so~me other
plan that the committee finds
attractive, they w'ill confer with
Santa Fe officials, represen-
tatives of the Albuqluerque Goals
Program, the City Planning
Department, Model Cities Pro-
gram, Urban Renewal Agency
and other groups, to try to keep
the sentimental landmark a part
The Commission auibhor-ized the
city manager to draft a letter to
the president of Santa Fe
Railwray announcing appoint-
ment of the committee and ask;-
ing the Santa Fe to work wfith its
By LAUZTRA JAMlITAIAN
Tribune Staffl Wlriter .
Thle officials of the Santa Fe
Railway tak~e the position that
Albuquerque's Alvarardo H~otel is
not w'orth saving, that it is a
"fire trap" sind "somebody is
wasting a lot of people's time"
in trying to save it,
Th~ese comments from Santa
Fe vice president George V.
Cox drew the ire of some mem-
bPess f the prestigious Narado
including Oscar M~. Lo ve w-ho
argued w~ith Mir. Cox over the
amount of money mentioned as
a sales price for the land on
wtich the Alvarado stands.
s1.5 Mlillion Valule
Cox mentioned a figure of
$1.5 million as being aboutt
right" for the land and Mir. Love
said the price had gone up
$500,000 in the past week.
Lov~e said that Santa Fe
president John Reed had told
"one of my close friends" that
the price would be 51 mlillionn. He
identified the friend as Lobert
O. Anderson of Roswefll w-ho at-
tended last wreek's meeting of
Cox disputed this statement>
saying, "I don't believe th:at Mlr.
Reed quoted a price." Bult he
offered to "take back an offer of
'Not That Crazy'
"'I don't know anyone in
Albuquerque that's that crazy,"
Richard Worthnen, who heads
the interior decorating depart-
rnent of American Furniture
Co., wras appointed chairman of
the A 1 arado Pre'servation
Committee and presided at
yesterday's session in City H~all.
M~r. Worthen called for a
report by committee member
George Pecarl, wiho headed an
American Institute of
Architects' (AIA) investigation
team which did a hurried
inspection and appraisal of the
Alvarado last week.
M~r. Pearl said the Albuquer-
que chapter of AIA, w~hichn
donated its time to the appraisal
effort, found the building to be
"w~ell designed and well con-
This opinion is not shared by
Santa Fe architects who Cox
said had~ Dronounced~ thp
Alvarado unsound and not worth
"There's g oin g txo be a fire
there the likes of which has
never b-en seen in Albulquer-
que," Cox said in discussing t~e
MIr. Pearl agreed that there is
a fire hazard bcuause of some
dead end halls, but offered the
opinion that the central building
is structurally sound and can be
me eaur satten a club'eorasoma
other similar use -
He said the.architects do not
recommend use of the Alvar~ado
as a residential structure, either
as a botel or as an apartment
ire s~howred committee mem-
hers sketches sh~owijng sturdy
braces. w-hich the architects
discovered in ex:amining the
chming roomn portion of the hotel.
n is this "railroad trcstle
i~e" brngo uhch ans th
S a Square Foot
Ile estimated that the co~st of
making the Alvarado safe for
continued use at $10 a square
foot. Pear1 said there are 46,000
sauare feet in thle central struc-
ture, built in 1?102.
Cox opposed a deilay in maki-
ing some decision on purchasing
the Alvarado land, but ap-
parentlJ: agreed to consider a
requelst for a "reasonable"
delay if Albuouerqlue fill
assume the burden of fire and
police protection, and agree to
pay a prroportiornate amount of
some lease rate which "would
probably be about 10 per cent of
thle purc~hac prices annualUy."
Top Staff People
City Commiss~Fion Chairman
Pete Domecnici a~ssurecd Cox that
the committee w~ill "have the
help of top city stlaf people" and
speed up dlecisions on the pro-
posed course of action Albu-
querque will take writh regard to
Albusuerque Tribune, 20 June 1970, p. Al.
.\ if ij q n Bll I ?t 6 hl-
~r"a, r Is~ ia
I, u .j
O o Tj), a ij ~r~\ li~ no ._ e ~_ ir _
Sa:.~vo rt i g,.Ra ~
Thee Passing of thle gAlv/agdo
It is always sad to lose a ban k s. .. Mlary Pickford...
friend. : Gloria Swanson. ..Caesar
Romenro. .names fading swiftly
And Albuquerque will lose a now in the mists of time
friend of long standing when the
For many years the "in" thing
venerable Alvarado Hotel closes to do in Albuquerque was go
its doors early next year. down to the brick w~alk and see
The handsome old hotel has who got off the trains.
come to be as much a part of And meanwhile, Albuquerque
Albuquerque as Old Town or the society dined in elegance in the
Sandia Mountains, a monument Alvarado Dinling Room, and once
of aristocratic grace. a year danced the varsoviana at
From the very day it opened, the Montezuma Ball. Proof that
on May' 11, 1902, the hotel the Alvarado still is the city's
became a center of Albuquerque social center is the fact that
social life. It still is. w~hen the Montezuina Ball w5as
revived a few years ago, the
"I'll meet you at the setting. was the same the
Alvarado," has become a stan- Alvarado.
dard phrase among Albuquer-
queans over the years. And at the 1969 ball, no less a
It: Y ~personage th~an Conrad Hilton
himself did the varsoviana in its
Those gray stucco walls are ballroom.
most surely haunted by history. 4 4 4
In the early days the black- But with all of that, it appears
skirted Harvey Girls were still that the passing of the passenger
very much a part of the era on the railroad has also
Southw-estern landscape. And in ended t~he economic reason for
the Alvarado dinling room and such hotels. It is significant that
Jun~ch room-, on spotless linen, the Alvar~ado is the last H~arvey
they served up thousands of House on the Santa Fe still
delicious meals to hungry rail operating to serve train
SThe hotel witnessed the rise It was only last year that wve
and also the fall of passenger witnesses' the death of The Chief,
trains in America. And as the one of the Alvarado's great
great black locomotives roared companions over the years.
West with crack trains like the
Chief, they brought with them Both were symbols of an ora
the great and near great of the swiftly passing, both victims of a
era. people's passion for speed in the
A lot of them stepped off those
trains to stroll the "brick walk" We mourn the passing of the
by the hotel, or to spend an hour Alvarado.
or a day enjoying the comforts at Albuquerque will never see her
the hotel. like again. Her death will leave a
The names read like a Wh~o's yawning gap that the jet age can
~Who. Names like Douglas Fair- never fill.
Figure 38 Victorian home in the Huning Hlighlands area. Albuquerque Journal,
25 hriy 1969, p. Ai.
Arno, WalterT, Edith -
all are streets narrged after
children of Arno Huning
and all, in th~e 1890's, were
in Albuguerque's' niost elite
section. ~ :. ' .- I.;6:I
Today these streets are part
of the Model Neighborhood, the
area wpith the city's highest
concentration of ~substandard
housing, poor public facilities;
dropouts and the unemployed.
"IN THE BEGINNING it was
the elite' part. of town," says
Walter Bambrook, who was
born at 718 Arno `SE. "Mly
grandfather built this bouse in
1890 and most of the houses
around here belonged to
M~rs. Ruth Armstrong, a
member of the Albuquerque
Historical Society, said Huning,
who owned much of the land
east of the railroad tracks,
began to subdivide it, but was
told "The town'll never grow
east of the tracks.- it will grow
toward Old Town." -
The advice proved \roong and
the section east of the tracks
became the'hoine of such peo-
ple as Tom Hugbes, a
newspaperman and onetime
owner .of the Journal, former
Gov. Tom Mabry, former Con-
gressman E.S. (Johnny) Walker
and the Schifani family.'
HOUSES IN*- THE area
represent various styi~es -of
Victorian architecture, ac-
~cording to Joe McI~inney, a
member of the University of
New Mlexico architect's staff.
"The Victorian' era lastedd
from the Civil War to 1893,"
blcseinneatureed turts, gable
and gingerbread. We know of
one architect, a man named
Wheelockr, who designed many
'Continued on A-12
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B~J~i CISIg~~~q- ~~-f ~qi~_~~l~~Cr .
VICTORIAN ERA: Home~s like thisl.;i vias 01i~e most elite in' the city then
in the Albuquerque Model Cities area :and featured hornes with turret-s like
were built in the Victorian era of this one, gables and ginger~bread
the late 19th "century. The section .. 'tirir. (Journal photo by Ray Cary) .
Qg. 5 closIin
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The Franciscan H-otel, (I
Albuqluerque's plush hokc
a bygone era, will closed
business Oct. 5.
Demolition of the buildhl
Sixth and Central NWm w0i
gin after the first of the ye
.Once the home awray
home for many of the w.
celebrities, the Frane
was once considered "thle
w:tlcring hole" bcet
Ok~lahoma City, and
'Place to Go'
It vied with the Al~v
Hotel, demolished earlier
year, as "the place to
w-hen passing through
Built in 1925, the Fran!
Hotel reserved a sui
rooms for the Duke of
querque, Spaiin, for a noi
Mlany of the greatest
bands of the "big band'
played music for Albi
que's social set id' the
ballroom, said H. B. (W!
od forme'" r managr Ioe
M~r. Wood said many
querqucans will rem
dcng gto ehe musi j1
Dorsey brothers, Guy
bardo and Glenn Gray's
"It's quite sad to so
passing of the Francis-
day still remember
their w-edding receptior
gra ndparents' annive
parties at the botel," be i
` Saloon Opens
~ ' rr.
I. Fi,: ;
5. '''5 ~. ri .:.:: ~ 5:
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Y j4ii.- ''
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~LI~L)-- ---~-L: r-~ .-r~:1- rd ~g_
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.. . ... .
SYMBPOL OF ~IUBYPGON DAYS: The lFrnciscan
Hotel, once a. home awray from hlome for the
famous s and not so famous, has weathered the.
!cst of time. But now the hotel at Sixcth and
Central NW, a plush hostelry in it~s heyday, is
coming'down. .H-otel offiCials say the hotel will
close for business Oct. 5 andl the Indian pueb~lo-
, style edifice will be torn down after t~he first
of t~he year.
Figure 39 The Franciscan Hotel. Albuquerque Journal,
5 Sept. 1970, P* Ai*
or early 19
By RAP H OIT
ue"llribu~ie r3 June\1972.
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ofoptp and naster aRnd another section of the?- Sixth NW~T iC: binrr demolishedl after beinor declared~' des-tnrution.
'~ ~' '''
The Y.MI.C.A. at First and Central was a popular domicile for young
Albuquerque newcomer-s for many years. T`he photo was made in 1943. This building
has been razed and is being replaced by a newv one at Broadwvay and Tijeras.
Fitepatrick, Albuquerqlue a 100 Years in Pictures, p. 111.
8.4 ALBUQUERQUE~ JOURnNAL Thu sday, October 3, 1974 '
:: i CN*
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: Demolition crews, over the weekend, leveled the old downtown YMCA\
building at First and Central N'E a building that served Albuquerque
more than 60 years. Built as a result of a $75,000 fund drive in 1914, the
r .32,000-square-foot structure was first known as the A~tchinson, .Topeka
and Santa Fe YMCAZ because of its wide use by railroad crews. The first
~H~n~ ~ng-cornerstone was laid in 1915 resulting in a gym, swimming pool, bowling
11alley and 65 residence rooms. On Sept. 13, the YMCA moved from the
building to the old Albuquerque High School so as to allow Urban Renew-
p al.to demolish the structure. A~lbuquerque H-igh School's old gym and
-Le e~el* 'locker rooms and a new 10,000-square-foot building under construction
at Broadway and Tijeras.NEI will serve as the new quarters for the
YMCA. (Journal Photo by Ray C~ary)
Figure 41 Downtown YMCA Building. Albuquerque Journal, 3 Oct.1974C, Bll.
Figure 42 Charles Ilfeld Building. Albuquerque Journal, 15 my 1974, p. A2.
SALBUQUERQUE JOURNAL ::Wednesday, May; 15, 1974 : : ;
'" 1. "'' ' ')
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er~~~~~~~~~~~~~~ etA atd o.sseweseomsoeIesevewomiteeees
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Figure 43 The Korber Building. Albuquerque Tribune, 31 Jan. 1975, p. At6.
.C ~ The Albuluerq~u TLr~ibune, Frida~iy, Januaiy 31, 1975
Korber5~ Bulig oma
S By SANDY GRAHAM
Tribune Staff W~riter .-
An Albuquerque landmark since the
turn of the century, the Korber Build-
ing, Second and Copper NWY, will be
torn down Saturday, a First National
Bank official announced Thursday.
David G. Livingston, chairman of
the First National Bank board of direc-
tors, announced here that although
the bank hoped to save the historic
structure renovation would cost more
than 51.3 million. -.:,-
"THE ONLY REASON the 'Kor~ber ~
Building wasn't torn down long ago -
along with other buildings on First and ,
Second Streets as part of the Urban
Reneival project -was because we
made the effort to save it,"~ Mr. Liv-
"Hiowrever, every repdrt to us and
the Urban Dev~elopment Agency says
the building is structurally unsound,"
Livingston cited a study made by
Dale I. Crawf~ord, an ,Albuquerque
architectural,' planning ~and design
consultant, which said the building "is
in such poor state of repair, is struc-
turally unsound in many areas, and
would require such extensive renova-
tion. . that the building is not worth
the high cost of saving and rendovat-
ing.'.'. .- . 1 E
THE BOARD PRESIDENT said the
Crawfiord report w~as received by the
bank about a year ago and still wrays to
save the building wiere sought.
"W5e have probably the nation's out-
standing restoration architectural
firm in Harry Wieese and Associates
.but we still had to face the hard
facts of reality that because of its sad
condition and poor structural sound-
ness, the cost would be prohibitive to
just bring the building back to mini-
mal standards, let alone try to develop
it as originally planned," Livingston
SKYROCK;ETING construction costs .
have pushed the estimated costs of
renovating the building to minimal
'standards to more than $1.3 million,
and costs are still rising, Livingston
said. ; .
For example, it would cost at least
S300,000 to strengthen the foundation
just to keep the building from collaps-
Culby Keene, vice president of J.
Korber and Company, said he "felt
rather bad"' from a nostalgic point of
views about the K~orber Building's
BUT, HIE ADDED,, "I realize it's an
older building and i~t's probably more
expensive tosave itthan totear it
down and build something new."
Mh~r. Keetne said the origins of the
building are difficult to trace. Hle at-
tempted to do so w~hen asked for infor-
mation several years ago, "but records
just weren't too good back thien."
He estimated the first part of the
Korber Building the part still stand-
in g was built be tween 1900 a nd
A912BOUT 10 YEARS later, tw~o other
additions were built, connected to the
Original structure by hallw~ays in the
A real estate mann in Albuquerque
estimated that the building wvas con-
structed around 1904 by a sheep
rancher from Los Lunas and an Albu-
SIt wr~as called the Luna-Strickler
Building, he said, and its earliest ten-
ants were a skating rink, a life insur-
ance office and the Internal Revenue
After that, the real estate agent said,
Korber's business mov~ed in.
The Crawford report, also hampered
by incomplete or nonexistent records,
estimated the first part of the building
was constructed between 1890 and
1900, with additions coming in 1920.
K~eene said Jacob K~orber, great-
grandfather of the coinpany's cur-rent
president, "w~as involved from the be-
ginning"? with the Korber B~uildinji.
JACOB'S GRANDSON, Jack, told'
The Tribune his father did not build
the structure, but bought it from
someone else. At one time, he recalled,
the Veterans Administration wraS
housed there. '
Through the years, the first floor of
the building housed the Korber fami-
ly's furniture, hardware and house-
wvare and sporting goods businesses as
wvell as its Dodge car dealership,
Iene 1956, lgS~the~ family closed out all but
its hardwFare and electrical supply
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For over twenty years articles like those on the preceding
pages have been common in Albuquerque's newspapers as one
downtown revitalization plan after another demonstrated its
prowess at progress by pulverization, and landmark after
landmark has been eliminated.
The Alvarado Hotel
One of Albuquerque's finest architectural treasures of the
past was the Alvarado Hotel, built by the ATSF in 1901. The
Alvarado complex possessed many of the characteristic fea-
tures derived from the California Mission Revival style and
the Spanish-Indian Revival.style which was just becoming
popular in New Mexico.31 The adjacent depot, offices, gift
shop and restaurant were joined together in design by arched
arcades at ground level and were further unified by their
rough stucco wall surfaces, plain uncluttered decoration, and
projecting parapets and towers.
In May, 1969, only months before its demolition by the ATSF,
the Alvarado was placed on the New Mexico Register of Cultur-
al properties and recommended for inclusion on the National
Register of Historic Places.32 At that time, the State Cul-
tural Properties Review Committee (CPRC) noted the building's
importance as a "landmark in the development of New Mexico
architecture .. [and was] closely representative of the
attitudes and times in which it was built."33
The story of the loss of the Alvarado is another tale of too
little, too late.' Although the Alvarado Hotel and its adjacent
station were long considered a vital part of any revitalization
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ALVARADo HOTEL Albu-
querqueC New Mexico, 1902-19)70,
Charles F. Whittlesey. One of the
greatest of the country's railroad station-
hotels was planned in the Chicago
office of the Atchison, Topeka and
Santa Fe, with the management turned
over to the ubiquitous Fred Harvey.
In a suitable gesture to the Southwestern
setting, the style was Spanish Mission,
comnbin~ed with elements of the more
regionalized "Pueblo" or "Santa Fe"
style. The complex included not just
dining rooms and sleeping accommoda-
tions, but landscaped courtyards and
shopping arcades, including a famlous
salesroom for Indian artifacts. When
plans to destroy it were announced, the
local chapter of the AIA offered to do
Ictural evaluations without fee, as
II as studies aimed at determining
future uses permitting retention of the
building as an integral part of
Albuquerque's downtown. The site is
now a parking lot.
Figure 44 Alvarado Hotel, circa
1903. Greiff, Lost
of downtown Albuquerque, no program had been instituted to
insure the building's preservation. Further, when it became
apparent, in mid-1969, that the Alvarado, still owned by
the ATSF but lying in the path of Albuquerque's latest urban
renewal proposal, faced probable demolition, the city made
no move to negotiate to save it.
As the reality of demolition loomed closer, more and more
people realized the importance of the Alvarado. Not only was
its location, at First Street and Central Avenue (see map,
p. 38 ), the heart and focus of Railroad Albuquerque, but it
was in itself an indispensable architectural source for the
unique sense of place which Albuquerque has inherited.
A group of concerned citizens and civic leaders asked ATSF
officials to postpone demolition until it was determined what
role the Alvarado might play in the redevelopment of down-
town.34 The local chapter of the American Institute of Ar-
chitects performed a structural evaluation of the structure,
finding the building to be structurally sound; prepared cost
estimates for repairs, and formulated recommendations for the
adaptive use of the facility.35
City government finally got into the picture when, in Septem-
ber of 1969, the Chairman of the City Commission reiterated
the earlier plea for the ATSF to hold off demolition plans
until it was determined if the hotel could fit into the
downtown renewal plan.36
The ATSF offered to sell the property, appraised at 600,000
dollars, to the city for 1,500,000 dollars or to delay
demolition at a cost to the city of 5,000 dollars per month.37
It became obvious that, even though the ATSF had no plans
for the site, other than a parking lot, the railroad was
not willing to cooperate in any attempt to preserve the struc-
In December of 1969, the City Commission appointed the Alvar-
ado Preservation commission (APC) in an attempt to find a way
to save the building. The APC's first suggestion was that
the railroad donate the building to the city in exchange for
a sizable 1.5-million-dollar tax write-off.3 The railroad
was not interested in such an exchange and soon the ATSF was
being accused of forcing the property and its adjacent prop-
erties into the urban renewal area so that a higher value for
the property could be appreciated.39
Next the APC proposed the establishment of a historic zone
for the area to insure the preservation of the Alvarado as
well as several contiguous blocks of railroad-era structures
in the immediate area. The zone (see map, p. 38 ), as pro-
posed, would have included land one block west of the rail-
road tracks, between Central Avenue and Lead Avenue, and
two blocks west of the railroad tracks, between Gold Avenue
and Lead Avenue.4
Opposition to the establishment of such a zone came from
many directions. The railroad's attorneys argued that the
proposed zoning would constitute the taking of property
without just compensation.41 Potential developers argued
that the restrictions of such zoning would impossibly encumber
any development of the property. The most devastating blow
to the proposal came from the city's Urban Renewal Director,
who urged against the establishment of the historic zone
because such a zoning change would delay approval of the
city's pending urban renewal project by the federal govern-
ment, as the blocks adjacent to the Alvarado were slated
for inclusion in the renewal project.42
G. W. Cox, Vice President of the ATSF, contended through the
whole Alvarado nightmare that his engineers had found the
building to be structurally unsound and that it was "a fire
trap and somebody is wasting a lot of people's time in try-
ing to save it."43
Even after demolition began, in February of 1970, the city
attempted to rent the complex's central structure but, by this
time the ATSF had withdrawn its rental offer.
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Figure 45 Demolition of the Alvalrado Hotel. p. 19
"The Alvarado Hotel, New Mexico Arichitecture (Vay-
Figure 46 Elevation of the Alvarado
Hotel. "The Alvarado Hotel,f
New Mexico Architecture
Ofa Y T PT
The APC, in a last-ditch attempt to save the building,
called a public meeting, appealing to the entire community
to show their support of the preservation effort. Only 200
of the city's 350,000 citizens answered the appeal.4 One
of the members of the APC remarked, "If there ever was a
building in Albuquerque worth saving, it was the Alvarado."45
To us who knew the Alvarado, its loss was like the passing
of an old friend.
The Downtown Neighborhood Association
The city's Policies Plan (see Appendix C), adopted in April
1975, states in part that "selected buildings and areas,
which explain our past and give Albuquerque identity, indi-
viduality and cultural richness, should be preserved."46 The
attitudes in city government, which gave rise to this pol-
icy, owe much to the preservation activity of the Downtown
Neighborhood Association (DNA).
Few sections of Albuquerque can compete with the DNA neighbor-
hood which lies between downtown and Old Town (see map, p.37 ),
with its older homes, quiet, tree-lined streets, wide side-
walks and generous setbacks. Over the years the mix of
people, occupations, languages and cultures of the neighbor-
hood's residents have been reflected in its architectural
variety. Victorian, bungaloid and adobe structures stand
side by side, each street having a character of its own. The
neighborhood is close enough to downtown offices and shops,
neighborhood markets, and Old Town, that pedestrian and bi-
cycle travel are convenient.
In 1974, four hundred of the neighborhood's fifteen hundred
residents joined together to form the DNA, a non-profit cor-
poration, with their goal "to preserve and enhance the quality
of urban life which seems to be rapidly disappearing in
Albuquerque."4 Many of the homes in the area, though
basically sound structures, were showing early signs of the
lack of maintenance and deterioration. The overall quality of
public services and amenities, from broken sidewalks and
paying to parks, was diminishing as well.
The first major advances made by the DNA were the establish-
ment of a rapport with the City Planning Department and the
cooperative rezoning of the neighborhood in 1975 (see Appen-
dix D). Earlier in 1975 much of the area, mostly single-family
dwellings, had been rezoned for office and commercial develop-
ment. The new area plan, developed by the DNA and the City
Planning Department, is a sensitive scheme which reflects an
effort to promote redevelopment of badly deteriorated areas,
while protecting stable single-family residential areas. In
the scheme, buffers of mixed residential and neighborhood
commercial development surround single-family areas to pro-
tect them from residential/commercial and high-density apart-
A basic handicap to the neighborhood's rehabilitation was
the difficulty residents encountered in obtaining mortgages
and home improvement loans. This obstacle was overcome by
the establishment of the Neighborhood Housing Service (NHS)
in 1975. Part of a nationwide program, instituted by the
Urban Reinvestment Task Force, the NHS is a local, non-profit
corporation, made up of representatives of the DNA and local
Conceived as a means to increase lending by financial insti-
tutions in neighborhoods in the early stages of decline and
deterioration, the NHS provides rehabilitation loans, at
flexible rates, to residents not qualifying for loans from
traditional lending institutions. The loans are made from
a High Risk Loan Fund, established through contributions and
grant money from the city of Albuquerque.49
The Huning Highlands Neighborhood Association
The Huning Highlands neighborhood recently began to organize
its own rehabilitation program. This area (see map, p. 38 ),
including the residential development on Arno, Walter and
Edith Streets, was Albuquerque's most elite neighborhood in
the 1890s, with houses belonging to railroad workers and busi-
nessmen.50 Now the area has one of the city's highest con-
centrations of substandard housing and deteriorating public
facilities. Most houses in the area were built in the 1890s
or early 1900s, in various styles reflecting the Victorian
influence of the day. Many of these residences, with turrets,
gables and gingerbread, are in sound structural condition.
In 1969, with the neighborhood included in the Albuquerque
Model Cities Program (see map, p. 31 ), the local chapter of
the American Institute of Architects sponsored a Community
Design Center (CDC) in cooperation with VISTA and the Univer-
sity of New Mexico Department of Architecture. The CDC's
goal was to help the people in the Huning Highlands and Mar-
tineztown neighborhoods to develop a successful rehabilita-
tion program. The CDC met with little success and the area
continued on its downhill slide. Today, about 80 percent of
the buildings in Huning Highlands are substandard rental
Encouraged by the progress made in the last two years by the
DNA, the landowners and residents of Huning Highlands are in
the process of forming the Huning Highlands Neighborhood Asso-
ciation in an attempt to pull their neighborhood back together.
1975 Housing Market and Policy Survey
The Albuguerque/Bernalillo County Planning Department is
currently in the process of selecting two sites for an ini-
tial direct public action redevelopment program. One of
the site selection recommendations, made by the consultant
firm of Hammer, Siler, George Associates (HSG) in its 1975
Housing Market and Policy Survey (see Appendix X), has
attracted the interest of preservationists and developers.
The site, now occupied by the old Albuquerque High School,
is located one block east of the railroad tracks, on Central
Avenue (see map, p. 38 )
The Albuqluerque High School site is large enough to accomo-
date proposed new residential development, and the 1920s
Collegiate Gothic school buildings are being studied for
residential redevelopment, with ground-level shops and serv-
The Charles Ilfeld Building
The Charles Ilfeld Building is at the end of a long list
of Albuquerque structures slated for the wrecking ball.
The 1910 Ilfeld Building is not a beautiful building. Many
more impressive buildings have been lost in Albuquerque, but
this railroad era warehouse, located one block north of
Central Avenue on First Street (see map, p. 38 ), is import-
ant for two reasons. First, it is the first major reinforced
poured concrete building in the region and is an excellent
example of early concrete construction.52 Second, the Ilfeld
Building, with its 54,000 square feet of great unobstructed
spaces and two-story galleries, stands in a pivotal position
in the downtown area, only one and one-half blocks from the
city's new convention center, and within six blocks of the
entire downtown business, banking, governmental and hotel
When the Charles Ilfeld Hardware Company announced it was
closing in 1970, after 105 years in business, the Albuquerque
Urban Development Agency (AUDA) acquired the building for
145,000 dollars.54 The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Rail
Road (ATSF) retained ownership of the property and, after
the building stood vacant for three years, the AUDA planned
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Munroe, "The Ilfeld
Figure 47 Entrance of the Charles Ilfeld Building.
Building in Albuquerque, p.11.
to demolish the structure (a requirement for relinquishing
its lease on the building).55. The site would revert back
to the ATSF, to be used as a parking lot.56
When plans for the demolition of the warehouse were announced
by the AUDA, interest was aroused in the structure's redevelop-
ment potential as a commercial center similar to san Francis-
co's Ghirardelli S.quare. After preliminary studies of the
structure's economic potential and revitalization impact on
downtown, the city became interested in the possibility of
Studies conducted by a graduate student at the University of
New Mexico revealed that the structure could be developed for
90 percent utilization as rental space with a yearly income
potential of over $250,000. With a $2.78 per square foot
purchase cost from the AUDA and an estimated $10 to $20 per
square foot renovation cost, the balance favors renovation
against a cost of over $28 for similar new construction.57
The ATSF expressed a willingness, at this point, to negotiate
a long-term lease for the property or even enter into a joint
venture if an acceptable developer could be found. A 30-day
demolition delay was obtained from the AUDA and two prospec-
tive developers were located.58
When the AUDA was asked for the agency's rehabilitation stand-
ards, to facilitate more definitive planning, the agency's
director admitted that no such standards had ever been es-
tablished because the need for them had never arisen.59 It
became obvious at this point that the blocks of buildings
already demolished by the AUDA were destroyed without any
consideration of their possible revitalization.
The most promising candidate for utilization of the Ilfeld
Building was the city-owned Museum of Albuquerque, currently
housed in cramped quarters in the 1939 Pueblo-style Mdunicipal
Airport Building, south of the city.60 The WPA airport build-
ing is itself an exceptional structure and plans are being
developed for its adaptive reuse when the museum finds a new
For some unknown reason, it was at this point that the ATSF
backed out of its lease negotiations with the city. The ball
was now in the hands of the city and the City Administration
Department dropped it by recommending that the city neither
acquire nor obtain the use of the building, due to the exces-
sive cost of any such project.61
With the 30-day demolition delay nearing its end on M~ay 1,
1974, John Frisbee, director of the National Trust's western
field office, was called in. Rating his visit as "one of
the most depressing field trips I have ever been on," he ob-
served that "Albuquerque seems to be loaded with demolition
experts. Downtown is dead (and) there's not an ounce of
character left."6 Frisbee suggested the possible applica-
tion of executive order 11593in the case of the Ilfeld
Building, in that the building possibly qualified for the
National Register. If the building qualified as a National
Register Site, even if it was not yet included on the Regis-
ter, the AUDA, being federally funded, would be in violation
of federal law.
A call from the State Planning Office on May 3, 1974, noti-
fying the AUDA of its possible violation of the executive
order, proved to be four hours late. Sixty feet of the
building's south wall had been smashed.6 The extent of
demolition did not prove to be irreparable and the state's
Cultural Properties Review Committee placed the Ilfeld
Building on its Register of Cultural Properties on M~ay 17,
In June the City Commission voted to pay rent on the building
until feasibility studies for the redevelopment of the build-
ing were completed, and committed 200,000 dollars to bring
the building up to code. The AUDA applied for an additional
90,000 dollars in federal funds for the same purpose.65
In July 1974, the State Planning Office recommended that
the Ilfeld Building be placed on the National Register.66
Although the building has been temporarily saved, its future
is uncertain as it stands with a gaping hole in its south
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Historic Landmarks Survey of Albuguerque67
Perhaps the most significant development in Albuquerque's
history was the establishment of the Historic Landmarks
Survey of Albuquerque (HLSA) as a subcommittee of the city's
Fine Arts Advisory Board in 1973 (see Appendix F). With a
20,000 dollar grant from the National Park Service, the HLSA
set out to compile and publish a survey of Albuguerque's
significant cultural properties. The primary aim of the
survey was to increase the awareness of the city's residents
as to the distinctive and unique character of their city
and the value of preserving that character.
Failing to complete the survey in its first year, because of
organizational difficulties, the HLSA received a one-year
extension of the project's funding. During its short exist-
ence the HLSA has nominated over fifty properties to the
state's Cultural Properties Register. By assuming an ad-
vocacy role, the HLSA has established a rapport with the City
Planning Department and has been actively involved in contri-
buting preservation input to the city's planning process.
In cooperation with local professionals, the HLSA has been
able to provide advisory assistance to home owners interested
in rehabilitation. In addition, the HLSA has contributed
significantly in the fight to save the Ilfeld Building and
other threatened structures.
The HLSA has applied, through the State Planning Office,
for additional grant funds for a four-part 1977 program
which will include: (.a) a feasibility study of the city's
acquisition of the 1926 Kimo Theatre, one of the few sur-
vivors in the country of the bizarre and fantastic movie
palace era, and its adaptation as a repertory theater;
(b) an inventory of the Huning Highlands neighborhood in
preparation for its nomination to the National Register;
(c) the establishment of a revolving fund, in collaboration
with the Huning Highlands Neighborhood Association, for the
purchase and development for resale of properties within the
neighborhood; (d) a thorough inventory of the entire city
in preparation for the development of a comprehensive pre-
servation program for Albuquerque.
Remarks and Conclusions
Albuquerque's heritage of early Spanish and American cul-
tures is unique among large American cities. It is regret-
table that so little has been done to preserve its tradition
and historic character during the city's development into
a complex metropolis.
In the estimation of many, the best of Albuquerque's past
built environment has been lost. Perhaps this is true...
the Alvarado Hotel, the Korber Building, the Franciscan Hotel
and many other significant structures are gone, but there are
significant structures in the city's Downtown which are still
in a position to contribute to the redevelopment of the
area. Among these are the Southwest Brewery, the Occidental
Building, the Kimo Theatre and the Ilfeld Building. There
are numerous significant non-residential structures scattered
throughout the city, including several fine examples of the
Santa Fe School's Pueblo style at the University of New
Mexico and several exceptional WPA structures which should
be integrated into any preservation program developed for the
city (see Appendix G).
The city's phenomenal rapid growth has created many problems.
Merciless speculation and leapfrog development of numerous
1948 Public Service Company of New Mexico becomes an independent operating
1949 Western Electric Comlpany, a Bell Telephone subsidiary, takes over opera-
tion of Sandia Laboratory and establishes Sandia Corporation.
Permanent construction begins at Sandia Base.
Southern Union Gas Company buys natural gas distribution systern from
Public Service Company of New Mexico.
First modern traffic survey of the city is inaugurated.
1950 Population: 97, 012 (Metropolitan Area Population: 146, 013).
City Planning Department opens with Edmund L. Engel as first director.
Mesa Village (City land) is subdivided as a "model plat" to finance the Civic
Census tracts are set up for the city.
1951 St. Joseph Coll~ge on the Rio Grande opens on a 60-acre site on the West
1952 (April) Bataan Memorial Methodist Hospital o~pens.
Turquoise Lodge, State Rehabilitation Center for Alcoholism, opens.
1953 (November) First zoning ordinance (City Comimission Ordinance No.. 880)
Sandia Conservancy District is made legally responsible for flood control.
1954 Bernalillo County Indian Hospi'.al opens.
City Commission Ordinance No. 880, the City's first zoning ordinance, is
1955 Area floods cause $1 million dollars' damage.
Huning Castle is demolished.
Population increases 10%J.
1956 250th Anniversary Celebration.
Freeway alignments through the city are tentatively decided upon.
Six City departments move out of City H-all to nearby office space.
Historic Zone for Old Town is actively considered.
1957 Albuquerque wins "All America City" award.
Civic Auditorium is completed.
1958 Four Hills Village and Country Club are subdivided.
Motels, including 2 Highway Houses, Trade Winds, Ramada Inn, and Capri
New Federal Office Building under construction.
Gas lights are installed in Old Town.
Hearings are held on Sandia Conservancy District assessments, and a re-
examination is ordered by the court.
1959 County Planning Board is formed with the City Planining Department as con-
N~ew Comnprehensive Zoning Ordinance is published.
Los Ranchos de Albuquerque becomes the first incorporated village in the
Ideal Cement Plant opens in Tijeras.
Western Skies Motor H-otel opens.
*Plans for "Hoffma~n City" (now "Snow Vista") are inaugurated.
960 (March) Federal Office Building occupied.
Population: 201, 189 (262, 199 in the County).
.University of New Mexico opens a new stadium.
Fair Plaza opens.
June 30 Kaiser Gypsum plant opens.
June 3'0 Record peak daily water demand of 77.4 MMGPD.
Retail sales doubled since 1950.
"701" contract for outline comprehensive urban plan inaugurated.
Work begins on an urban rehabilitation program in the South Broadway area.
61 Winrock Shopping Center opens.
Bank of New Mexico Building is completed.
Pan-American Fre'eway~ opens as far south as Miles Road.
I Ancient Man
I Hunting, Fishing &r
17, 500 B. C.
Santa Fe Trail
B. Civil War
World WYar II
III Railroa'd Arrives
Modern Period of
EXISTING STATE AND LOCAL LEGISLATION
Source: New Mexico State Planning Office, Historic
Preservation: A Plan for New Hlexico (Santa Fe: New M~exico
State Planning Office, 1971), pp. 157-166.