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Louis G. Hesselden architectural drawings and plans collection

Identifier: SWA-HESSELDON-Drawings

Scope and Content

The Hesselden collection contains drawings and plans for construction of new buildings, and renovations of existing structures. These drawings include construction documents, as builts, plans, sections, elevations, perspectives, concept studies and process work. There are also several original renderings including drawings and perspectives in pencil, ink, charcoal, colored pencil and water color. Most of the renderings were created by Hesselden, although there are several works of Delmar G. Wallerstedt whom Hesselden commissioned. They are typically colored pencil perspectives on a black hard board.

Some significant projects represented in the collection include: Nob Hill Shopping Center, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1948 (Drawings and Photograph); Excelsior Laundry Building, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1946; Mountain States Telephone and Telegraph, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1972 & 1978; College of St. Joseph Campus (University of Albuquerque), Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1962; New Community of Tyrone to replace the 1917 town of the same name for the Phelps Dodge Corporation, Tyrone, New Mexico, 1965; Bernalillo County Courthouse and Hall of Justice, Albuquerque, New Mexico, 1965.


  • 1918-1975


Language of Materials


Access Restrictions

The collection is open for research.

Copy Restrictions

Limited duplication of CSWR material is allowed for research purposes. User is responsible for compliance with all copyright, privacy, and libel laws. Permission is required for publication or distribution.

Biography / History

Louis Gilbert Hesselden was born near Wendel, Oklahoma on February 10, 1895 to Annie (Peltier) while she was visiting her parents. Hesselden was raised in Albuquerque with his two older sisters and one older brother. He graduated from Albuquerque High School in 1913.

In 1917 he enlisted in the Army, was promoted to Lieutenant and resigned in 1918. He returned to work at Superior Lumber and Mill Company as manager for six years. During this time he took courses at the College of Engineering at the University of New Mexico. In 1924 he moved to Pennsylvania and attended the College of Fine Arts, Department of Architecture of University of Pennsylvania where he received his Bachelor of Architecture in 1927. Hesselden then held a position with the Department of Architecture of the Bureau of Home Missions for the Methodist Episcopal Church. In 1929, he worked for Paul Phillip Cret, a leading American Classicist, with whom he had studied at the University of Pennsylvania. He simultaneously studied landscape painting at the Chester Springs School of Pennsylvania Academy.

During the Depression Hesselden returned to Albuquerque and began his own practice in 1932. He married Mary Lou Gresham on June 10, 1943. They had no children. He held a number of civic positions, including being a member of the New Mexico Board of Examiners for Architects (1936) and the AIA (1946-1978). He began working for the Albuquerque Board of Education to research national trends in school construction and design, and to supervise the repair and recondition all of the existing city schools. With John Milne as Superintendent, Hesselden retained the position of sole architect for the school system until the 1950’s. During this time he designed seven elementary schools, two junior highs, and several additions. The buildings have a variety of regional styles, although several common features. The use of stucco is a common feature, along with brick and cast stone as decorative detailing to evoke Spanish Colonial Revival or Territorial Revival styles, and sloping tiled roofs emulating both Mediterranean and California Mission Revival styles.

Hesselden enlisted in the Navy was accepted into the SeeBees and made a Senior Lieutenant in the Engineers Corps during World War II. He then returned to Albuquerque and began his architectural practice again. With the expanding population of Albuquerque other architects were hired to design schools which enabled Hesselden to work on projects for other clients. Some of his most innovative commercial designs were realized at this point in his career. He began experimenting with new forms and materials taken from the vocabulary of the Moderne Style including rounded massing, tile banding, glass block, and banded windows. Hesselden continued his practice until 1978 when he died. He is buried in Albuquerque.

Source: The Directory of Historic New Mexico Architects, compiled and edited by Boyd C. Pratt with Carleen Lazzell and Chris Wilson, October 1988, pg 44-46.


15 drawers (3 linear ft.)


The Hesselden Architectural Drawings and Plans Collection contains architectural drawings and plans for new construction, additions, renovations and interior architecture located in Albuquerque, Grants, Los Lunas, Tyrone, Santa Fe, Los Alamos, Belen, Canoncito, Taos, and Corrales, New Mexico, as well as one project in Princeton, New Jersey and another in Window Rock, Arizona. These structures include: schools, churches, single-family residences, apartments, town developments, public service buildings, banks, commercial buildings, offices, mausoleum, laundry buildings and restaurants.
Finding Aid of the Louis G. Hesselden architectural drawings and plans collection, 1918-1975
Elena Marguerite Agustin
© 2012
Description rules
Describing Archives: A Content Standard
Language of description
Script of description
Language of description note
Finding aid is in English

Revision Statements

  • Monday, 20210524: Attribute normal is missing or blank.

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