What is Albuquerque?
Albuquerque is old – 300
years old – and Albuquerque
is new. It’s cutting-edge science and technology
developed in view of the timeless and spectacular
Albuquerque is ancient
pueblos and their living cultures, and it’s computer
chips made a few minutes away.
is color. It’s the color of nearly a thousand
hot-air balloons rising in crisp, morning skies, the
color of the Sandias at sunset, the color of flying
skirts of traditional Mexican and Spanish dancers.
is light. It’s 300-plus days of sunshine, it’s the
growing number of movie makers, and it’s the
decades-old optics industry harnessing laser light.
Albuquerque is people. It’s
the original Pueblo
people of the valley. It’s the descendants of
Spanish explorers and settlers and of American
soldiers and railroad workers. And, for many
generations, it’s a place that welcomes immigrants
and newcomers of all kinds.
1000 A.D. (approx.): Tiwa people migrated to the
Rio Grande Valley.
1200-1325 (approx.): Pueblos
were founded along the Rio
Grande, including Sandia
1400 (approx.): Athapaskan (Apache and Navajo)
people arrived in the Southwest.
1540: Francisco Vásquez de Coronado’s expeditionary
force of 300 Spaniards and 800 Indian auxiliaries
wintered at Tiguex province, near present-day
Albuquerque, while in search
of the legendary city of
1598: Don Juan de Oñate passed through the Middle
Rio Grande with 400 men, some with families, and 10
Franciscan missionaries. He claimed the area for
1609: Trails leading from
Mexico City were consolidated
to form El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro, the
Royal Road to the
It would become Albuquerque’s
lifeline to the outside world, bringing news,
settlers and trade goods.
1632: Diego de Trujillo established a rancho, the
Paraje de Huertas (“Place of the Orchards”) at the
future site of Albuquerque.
The area was called El Bosque Grande de San
Francisco Xavier (“The Great Woods of Saint Francis
1680: During the Pueblo Revolt, people from
Sandia, Puaray, and Alameda
pueblos attacked 17 ranchos south of Sandia Pueblo,
killing more than 120 settlers. Escaping south were
1,500 colonists and 7 priests.
1692: Captain General Don Diego de Vargas and a
small army marched up the Rio
Grande and reclaimed
1693: Vargas returned with a large group of settlers
and Franciscan priests. Many colonists left the main
party near Isleta to resettle the Middle Rio Grande.
1698: Vargas began making land grants in the
Albuquerque area to new
settlers and returned some lands to descendants of
1703: The village
was founded on the west bank of the
1706: Governor Francisco Cuervo y Valdez founded the
Villa San Francisco de Alburquerque.
San Felipe de Neri Church was built on the
west side of the plaza, facing east.
1716: The Isleta people returned from Hopi country,
where they fled in 1681, to re-occupy Isleta Pueblo.
1726: Alburquerque was a loose settlement of farms.
A few families had homes near the church.
1742: The Sandia people returned from Hopi country,
where they had fled in 1681, to reoccupy Sandia
1779: After the governor ordered settlers to build a
defensible and more concentrated community to combat
Indian raiding, a recognizable plaza took shape.
1793: San Felipe de Neri
Church, which had
collapsed, was rebuilt on the north side of the
plaza, facing south.
won independence from
Mexican control, New Mexico
was permitted for the first time to trade with the
which led to opening of the Santa Fe
1846: During the Mexican-American War, General
Stephen Watts Kearny entered
Albuquerque and claimed it
for the United States.
The army established a supply depot west of the
1848: The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo ended the
1851: New Mexico
was admitted to the
United States as a
territory, and Albuquerque
got its first post office.
Richard Weightman launched
El Amigo del País, a
1862: A column of Texas Confederate soldiers
but after a disastrous loss to Union troops at
Glorieta, they retreated and
Albuquerque returned to Union
was incorporated as a town.
1876: The first telegraph line connected
Albuquerque with the nation.
1880: The Atchison,
Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Co.
Late that year the first gas utility began.
1881: The first Territorial Fair was held.
1882: Park van Tassel rose to 14,207 feet during the
city’s first balloon ascension. And the first
telephone service was offered in
1883: The first electric light utility began
1889: The Territorial Legislature established the
University of New
incorporated as a city with a population of 3,785.
The first public library opened. And the
School system was
1902: The Alvarado Hotel was completed. It was
considered the finest railroad hotel of the time.
And the Sisters of Charity opened St. Joseph
Sanitorium, the first such facility for tuberculosis
would subsequently become a haven for health
1912: New Mexico
was admitted to the union as the 47th
1923: The nine-story First National Bank building at
3rd and Central
Ave. became the city’s
first sky scraper.
1925: Clyde Tingley became
chairman of the Albuquerque City Commission.
He would serve as chairman and ex-officio
mayor in 1925-1935, 1939-46, 1947-48 and 1951-53.
1927: The KiMo Theatre opened at
5th Street and
Central Avenue, and the
Rio Grande Park
and Zoo were established. Route 66 was completed
passing north to south along
1928: KGGM, the first radio station in
1930: The Middle Rio Grande Conservancy, organized
in 1925, began building dikes and conversion
channels to control the Rio
1931: Tingley Beach opened in
Rio Grande Park.
1936: WPA projects included the
Coal Street overpass,
underpasses at Central
Avenue and Tijeras, and
the new Albuquerque
1937: The Tingley Field Stadium was completed, and
the Albuquerque Cardinals began playing baseball. A
realigned Route 66 now passed through
Albuquerque east to west
along Central Ave.
1938: The New Mexico State Fair, built with WPA
funding, opened at the new fairgrounds on San Pedro
and Central, two miles east of the city limits.
1939: The Army Air Force leased land to open a
flight training base. By 1940 it would have 110
buildings. In 1942 it was named Kirtland Army Air
telephone system was converted to dial phones.
1945: Los Alamos National
Laboratory moved its Z Division to
Albuquerque’s Sandia Base; it
was renamed Sandia Laboratory in 1948 and became
independent in 1949.
1947: R.B. Waggoman completed the
the city’s first shopping center.
1948: KOB-TV was Albuquerque’s
first television station.
1949: The City of Albuquerque
Town, joining the two
1952: Construction began on the
at Fourth and Gold, the largest, and most modern
office building in Albuquerque.
celebrated its 250th anniversary, called
And freeway alignments for I-25 and I-40 were
1957: Civic Auditorium was completed.
1959: Arthur Bonnette opened
McDonald’s franchise at Menaul and San Pedro.
1961: The $9.7 million
opened. And the 16-story Bank of New Mexico Building
became the city’s tallest building.
1963: Work began on the new
1966: The Sandia Peak Tramway, the longest of its
kind in North America,
opened. And the I-25 and I-40 interchange, The Big
I, was completed.
1967: The Museum
opened near the Old
resident Bobby Unser won the
held a balloon rally with 13 participants. The next
year the Albuquerque Balloon Fiesta launched with
1974: MITS Inc., an Albuquerque company, made the
first practical, affordable home computer – the
balloonists Maxie Anderson, Ben Abruzzo and Larry
Newman become the first to cross the
Atlantic Ocean in a balloon, the Double
1981: Ben Abruzzo led a balloon flight from
longest balloon flight in history.
1985: Route 66 was decommissioned as a national
1991: Col. Sidney Gutierrez piloted the
Columbia on its 11th
flight from Kennedy
at Cape Canaveral, becoming
the first native-born Hispanic astronaut.