Albuquerque, New Mexico
March 6, 2020
Above is the view as I drove into Albuquerque from the East this morning on State Route 333, the old US 66. That’s the first time I recall being on Route 66. 😁
It is not the Chamber of Commerce entrance. Lots of closed or rundown businesses and a number of what appear to be homeless people. ☹️
Overall it is not pretty (but I apparently have very high standards). I have not ventured into Old Town which apparently has a lot of character. It is a much bigger (sprawl) city than I expected.
The weather is pretty great - 65 degrees and partly cloudy.
i stopped by the minor league baseball team’s park. Their name is the Isotopes 🤪 and their logo is basically an atom with baseballs instead of electrons. I was disappointed that this year they have changed the name of the ballpark to a generic Isotopes Park. It had been named “The Lab.” 🤪
I might have avoided Albuquerque but the Sequoia needs a new windshield and new tires. So I’ll combine that with a hotel room for the night and knock out some laundry. Two and half weeks of sleeping in the truck - a bed will feel good.
I took advantage of being near a Whole Foods and grabbed a nutritious lunch of three of my favorite foods. Yum! A very busy Whole Foods but with a different clientele than in Charlottesville. This was more of an everyman/woman grocery store.
Here is some more detail about the city.
Albuquerque is the most populous city in New Mexico, and the 32nd-most populous city in the United States. The city's nicknames are The Duke City and Burque, both of which reference its 1706 founding by Nuevo México governor Francisco Cuervo y Valdés as La Villa de Alburquerque, named in honor of then Viceroy the 10th Duke of Alburquerque.
Since the city's founding it has continued to be included on travel and trade routes including Santa Fe Railway,, Route 66, Interstate 25, Interstate 40, and the Albuquerque International Sunport.
The population census-estimated population of the city as 560,218 in 2018, it is the principal city of the Albuquerque metropolitan area, which has 915,927 residents as of July 2018.
Albuquerque serves as the county seat of Bernalillo County. The Sandia Mountains run along the eastern side of Albuquerque, and the Rio Grande flows north to south through its center, while the West Mesa and Petroglyph National Monument make up the western part of the city. Albuquerque has one of the highest elevations of any major city in the U.S., ranging from 4,900 feet above sea level near the Rio Grande to over 6,700 feet in the foothill areas of Sandia Heights and Glenwood Hills.
The economy of the centers on science, medicine, technology, commerce, education, entertainment, and culture outlets. The city is home to Kirtland Air Force Base, Sandia National Laboratories, Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute, Presbyterian Health Services, and both the University of New Mexico and Central New Mexico Community College have their main campuses in the city. Albuquerque is the center of the New Mexico Technology Corridor, a concentration of high-tech institutions, including the metropolitan area being the location of Intel's Fab 11X In Rio Rancho and a Facebook Data Center in Belen, Albuquerque was also the founding location of MITS and Microsoft. Film studios have a major presence in the state of New Mexico, for example Netflix has a main production hub at Albuquerque Studios.
The city is the location of a horse racing track and casino called The Downs Casino and Racetrack, and the Pueblos surrounding the city feature resort casinos, including Sandia Resort, Santa Ana Star, Isleta Resort, and Laguna Pueblo's Route 66 Resort.
Each October Albuquerque hosts the International Balloon Fiesta, the world's largest gathering of hot-air balloons at a venue referred to as Balloon Fiesta Park, with its 47-acre launch field.
Albuquerque was founded in 1706 as the Spanish colonial outpost of Villa de Alburquerque. Albuquerque was a farming community and strategically located military outpost along the Camino Real. The town was also the sheep-herding center of the West. Spain established a presidio in Albuquerque in 1706.
After 1821, Mexico also had a military presence there. The town of Alburquerque was built in the traditional Spanish village pattern: a central plaza surrounded by government buildings, homes, and a church. This central plaza area has been preserved and is open to the public as a museum, cultural area, and center of commerce. It is referred to as "Old Town Albuquerque" or simply "Old Town". Historically it was sometimes referred to as "La Placita" (Little Plaza in Spanish). On the north side of Old Town Plaza is San Felipe de Neri Church. Built in 1793, it is one of the oldest surviving buildings in the city.
After the American occupation of New Mexico, Albuquerque had a federal garrison and quartermaster depot, the Post of Albuquerque, from 1846 to 1867. During the Civil War, Albuquerque was occupied in February 1862 by Confederate troops under General Henry Hopkins Sibley, who soon afterward advanced with his main body into northern New Mexico. During his retreat from Union troops into Texas he made a stand on April 8, 1862, at Albuquerque and fought the Battle of Albuquerque against a detachment of Union soldiers commanded by Colonel Edward R. S. Canby. This daylong engagement at long range led to few casualties.
When the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad arrived in 1880, it bypassed the Plaza, locating the passenger depot and railyards about 2 miles east in what quickly became known as New Albuquerque or New Town. The railway company built a hospital for its workers that was later a juvenile psychiatric facility and has now been converted to a hotel. Many Anglo merchants, mountain men, and settlers slowly filtered into Albuquerque creating a major mercantile commercial center which is now Downtown Albuquerque.
Due to a rising rate of violent crime, gunman Milt Yarberry was appointed the town's first marshal that year. New Albuquerque was incorporated as a town in 1885. It was incorporated as a city in 1891.
Old Town remained a separate community until the 1920s when it was absorbed by Albuquerque. Old Albuquerque High School, the city's first public high school, was established in 1879. 8]
By 1900, Albuquerque boasted a population of 8,000 people and all the modern amenities, including an electric street railway connecting Old Town, New Town, and the recently established University of New Mexico campus on the East Mesa. In 1902, the famous Alvarado Hotel was built adjacent to the new passenger depot, and it remained a symbol of the city until it was razed in 1970 to make room for a parking lot. (“Big Yellow Taxi by Joni Mitchell)
In 2002, the Alvarado Transportation Center was built on the site in a manner resembling the old landmark. The large metro station functions as the downtown headquarters for the city's transit department. It also serves as an intermodal hub for local buses, Greyhound buses, Amtrak passenger trains, and the Rail Runner commuter rail line.
New Mexico's dry climate brought many tuberculosis patients to the city in search of a cure during the early 20th century, and several sanitaria sprang up on the West Mesa to serve them. Presbyterian Hospital and St. Joseph Hospital, two of the largest hospitals in the Southwest, had their beginnings during this period. Influential New Deal–era governor Clyde Tingley and famed Southwestern architect John Gaw Meem were among those brought to New Mexico by tuberculosis.
The first travelers on Route 66 appeared in Albuquerque in 1926, and before long, dozens of motels, restaurants, and gift shops had sprung up along the roadside to serve them. Route 66 originally ran through the city on a north–south alignment along Fourth Street, but in 1937 it was realigned along Central Avenue, a more direct east–west route. The intersection of Fourth and Central downtown was the principal crossroads of the city for decades. The majority of the surviving structures from the Route 66 era are on Central, though there are also some on Fourth. Signs between Bernalillo and Los Lunas along the old route now have brown, historical highway markers denoting it as Pre-1937 Route 66.
The establishment of Kirtland Air Force Base in 1939, Sandia Base in the early 1940s, and Sandia National Laboratories in 1949, made Albuquerque a key player of the Atomic Age.
Meanwhile, the city continued to expand outward into the Northeast Heights, reaching a population of 201,189 by 1960. In 1990, it was 384,736 and in 2007 it was 518,271. In June 2007, Albuquerque was listed as the sixth fastest-growing city in the United States.
On April 11, 1950, a USAF B-29 bomber carrying a nuclear weapon crashed into a mountain near Manzano Base. On May 22, 1957, a B-36 accidentally dropped a Mark 17 nuclear bomb 4.5 miles from the control tower while landing at Kirtland Air Force Base. Only the conventional trigger detonated, the bomb being unarmed. These incidents were classified for decades.
Albuquerque's downtown entered the same phase and development (decline, "urban renewal" with continued decline, and gentrification) as many cities it’s size did. As Albuquerque spread outward, the downtown area fell into a decline. Many historic buildings were razed in the 1960s and 1970s to make way for new plazas, high-rises, and parking lots as part of the city's urban renewal phase. As of 2010, only recently has Downtown Albuquerque come to regain much of its urban character, mainly through the construction of many new loft apartment buildings and the renovation of historic structures such as the KiMo Theater, in the gentrification phase.
During the 21st century, the Albuquerque population has continued to grow rapidly. The population of the city proper was estimated at 528,497 in 2009, up from 448,607 in the 2000 census.
The passage of the Planned Growth Strategy in 2002–2004 was the community's strongest effort to create a framework for a more balanced and sustainable approach to urban growth
Urban sprawl is limited on three sides—by the Sandia Pueblo to the north, the Isleta Pueblo and Kirtland Air Force Base to the south, and the Sandia Mountains to the east. Suburban growth continues at a strong pace to the west, beyond the Petroglyph National Monument, once thought to be a natural boundary to sprawl development.
Because of less-costly land and lower taxes, much of the growth in the metropolitan area is taking place outside of the city of Albuquerque itself. In Rio Rancho to the northwest, the communities east of the mountains, and the incorporated parts of Valencia County, population growth rates approach twice that of Albuquerque. The primary cities in Valencia County are Los Lunas and Belen, both of which are home to growing industrial complexes and new residential subdivisions. The mountain towns of Tijeras, Edgewood, and Moriarty, while close enough to Albuquerque to be considered suburbs, have experienced much less growth compared to Rio Rancho, Bernalillo, Los Lunas, and Belen. Limited water supply and rugged terrain are the main limiting factors for development in these towns..