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Old Town, circa 1970s

 File — Box: 2, Folder: 3

Historical Background

From the Collection: The Albuquerque Photograph Collection emphasizes points of interest from the city’s history, and presents images that reveal the distinctive geography and culture of the city. Founded in 1706 as a Spanish colonial settlement, Albuquerque continues to reflect these origins in its architecture, culture, and diverse demographics. The Church of San Felipe de Neri and Old Town Plaza date to the original Spanish-village style layout of the town around a central plaza. After the United States gained control of New Mexico, and the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad arrived in Albuquerque, another central commercial and business district grew up around the railroad station, in what is now downtown Albuquerque. During the twentieth century, Albuquerque was part of the culture of motor tourism along Route 66, and also played a major role in the Atomic Age, due to the presence of the Kirtland Air Force Base, Sandia Base, and Sandia National Laboratories. In recent decades, Albuquerque has experienced a growing population, and a period of urban renewal in the downtown district.
Scope and Content From the Collection: This collection consists of pictorial works depicting specific structures, cityscapes, aerial views, mountain landscapes, events, and people of Albuquerque, New Mexico. These works notably include a stereoscope of the interior of San Felipe de Neri Church prior to the 1881 addition of a pressed metal ceiling and arches. Street scenes date from the early 1900s, and there is also included a 1908 image of a Gas & Electric Co. wagon.

Other early 20th century images include photographs from Los Padillas Elementary School and the Albuquerque Indian School, a Native American standing by a Santa Fe Railroad car with businessmen (1910-1920); and Wright's Trading Post (1920s).

Images of businesses include Enchanted Mesa Shop (1930s), Goodyear and Wilger Tire Companies (1950s), Nob Hill Business Center (1940s); and Sandia Indian Bingo (1986).

The collection also contains photographs of Albuquerque families farming and gardening (1930s-1940s, 1980s). Additionally, several historic events are depicted in the collection, including a crowd greeting the first flight into the Albuquerque Airport (10 August 1934), the dedication of Person Station, an electric generating station (1951), parade views from "Enchantorama," a celebration of Albuquerque's 250th founding anniversary (1956), and National Guardsmen during the Albuquerque Race Riots (1971).

Images of important governmental institutions include the old and new Bernalillo County Courthouse (1908 & 1960s), a courtroom (1960), plans for a City-County Government Complex (1960s) and an Army Air Forces Advanced Flying School tower operator.

The collection includes pictorial works depicting particular domestic structures, including the home of notable Albuquerque journalist and writer, Erna Fergusson (1951), and a dome-shaped wind and solar-powered home near Albuquerque (1973).

A final series was added to accomodate photographic sets or composite views which overlap the designated subject groupings. It includes a small booklet from 1905 of 24 labeled photomechanical prints assembled as a souvevir titled "Miniatures Albuquerque, N.M."


  • circa 1970s

Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.


From the Collection: 186 items (3 boxes) : 116 prints, 44 slides, 25 negatives, 1 booklet

Language of Materials

From the Collection: English

Repository Details

Part of the UNM Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections Repository

University of New Mexico Center for Southwest Research & Special Collections
University Libraries, MSC05 3020
1 University of New Mexico
Albuquerque NM 87131