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   Place Names

One way we remember our finest citizens, our highest achievers, our greatest spirits is to name something after them.


Who’s Who in Old Albuquerque

            The first Europeans to see the Middle Rio Grande Valley were soldiers led by Captain Hernándo de Alvarado. They were the advance guard for the explorer Francisco Vázquez de Coronado. Because Alvarado is our version of Columbus, his name is on many things, including the city’s transportation center and an elementary school. The Alvarado was also the name of a fabulous, historic hotel next to the railroad tracks; the Santa Fe Railway tore it down in 1970.


            The Candelaria family was one of the first to settle in Albuquerque in 1706. The major arterial, Candelaria Road, is named for them. On the other hand, nobody seems to know who Juan Tabo was. According to one account, he was a shepherd who grazed his flock in Tijeras Canyon. The name may also relate to the Toboso Indians of Texas or to Jemez Pueblo.


Another early settler was Juan Griego, or John the Greek, who accompanied Don Juan de Oñate’s party of colonists to New Mexico in 1598. (The Spanish word for “Greek” is “Griego.”) His descendents settled in the North Valley, and the community Los Griegos was named for them, as was Griegos Road.


In 1712 the governor gave 70,000 acres to Captain Diego Montoya, who then gave it to Elena Gallegos, widow of Santiago Gurule. (In colonial New Mexico women often took back their maiden names when they were widowed.) The Elena Gallegos Land grant stretched from the river to the base of the Sandias, where today a recreation area bears her name.


Elfego Baca, a Socorro candidate for sheriff who survived a one-man stand against dozens of Texas cowboys in 1884, became a lawyer and district attorney. In 1907 he moved his law practice to Albuquerque. Even as an old man, he always wore a gun. Walt Disney Studios created “The Nine Lives of Elfego Baca,” which showed from 1958 to 1960. And he has a street in the Atrisco neighborhood named for him.


            Dr. Elijio Osuna and his wife came here in the 1890s from Monterey, Mexico. He not only delivered many babies, he was also a coroner. His oldest daughter, Anita Osuna y Martínez de Carr, was the first Hispanic woman on the UNM faculty. In 1945 Osuna Road was named for the good physician.


When the railroad entered New Mexico in the 1870s, town boosters understood that it would change Albuquerque’s fortunes forever if it could be routed our way. Merchant Franz Huning, grocer Elias Stover and attorney William Hazeldine formed a real estate firm that quietly bought up all the land in or near the right of way and deeded it to the railroad for one dollar and a share of profits from sale of lots. They prospered in the deal, but they also guaranteed the railroad would come to Albuquerque in a period after the railroad had bypassed Santa Fe and Bernalillo.

Soon after, Huning began building Albuquerque’s first suburbs, the Highland Addition, east of the tracks, which came to be called Huning Highland. The streets south of Coal and Iron were Hazeldine and Stover.


Edmund G. Ross in 1869 was the U.S. senator who cast the deciding vote in Congress against impeachment of President Andrew Johnson. Ross resisted enormous pressure to impeach Johnson because he believed it would cause permanent damage to American government. But voting his conscience was political suicide. He came to Albuquerque in 1882 to escape but soon was dabbling in politics and in 1885 was appointed territorial governor. He signed the legislation creating UNM. An elementary school is named for him.


            In 1889, as a member of the Territorial Senate, attorney Bernard S. Rodey was the driving force behind legislation to create the University of New Mexico and was also instrumental in securing its land. He was also a leader in the push for statehood and represented New Mexico in Congress. Rodey Theatre at UNM is named for him.


John Milne served as the Superintendent of Albuquerque Public Schools from 1911 to 1956 and is credited for establishing a modern, professional and progressive school system. The district’s first football and track stadium, Milne Stadium, is named for him. (Wilson Stadium is named for F.M. Wilson, a long-time educator and principal.)


Clyde Tingley came here in 1911, accompanying his sweetheart Carrie Wooster and her mother. Carrie had tuberculosis and they were looking for a city with a warm, dry climate. Tingley ran for City Commission in 1916 and thrived in local politics. He was commission chairman (the de facto mayor) three times and governor of New Mexico from 1935 to 1938.

During the Depression, the flamboyant Tingley cultivated a friendship with President Franklin Delano Roosevelt and proved extremely resourceful in getting Works Progress Administration and other relief funding into the state. In this way the first airport terminal, the State Fairgrounds, schools, UNM’s library and administration building, Monte Vista Fire Station, Roosevelt Park, and many other projects were built. Tingley Beach, Tingley Coliseum and Tingley Drive are named for him.

His wife, Carrie Tingley, was known for her personal generosity and attention to the sick, the dying and to children. Carrie Tingley Hospital is named for her.


Dr. William Lovelace came here to recover from tuberculosis and started his Albuquerque practice in 1916. His multi-specialty practice, Lovelace Clinic, grew steadily until 1940, when he had 16 doctors. In 1946 his nephew Randy Lovelace joined, and they organized the nonprofit Lovelace Foundation for Medical Education and Research. The clinic built a new facility in 1949 on the Southeast Mesa, and Randy Lovelace persuaded the Methodist Church to build Bataan Memorial Methodist Hospital next door in 1952.

In 1975 the clinic and hospital merged with Lovelace Medical Foundation and evolved as Lovelace Health Systems. In 1991 the medical center and health plan were sold to a private health-care provider, and the foundation spun off The Lovelace Respiratory Research Institute as a nonprofit.


In 1940, famous war correspondent Ernie Pyle made Albuquerque his home – in between his assignments. He died on a Pacific island in 1945 from a sniper’s bullet. He’s remembered with the Ernie Pyle Memorial Library, Albuquerque’s first branch library, created at his home on Girard in 1948. And a middle school is also named for him.


Street Names


Many of Albuquerque’s major streets were named for local individuals.

  • Menaul Boulevard originally led to Menaul School, named for Irish-born James A. Menaul, who came to Albuquerque in 1881 when the population was 2,200.  He organized First Presbyterian Church. In the late 1800s a Presbyterian training school was named for him.
  • Eubank Boulevard was named for Lt. Col. (later general) Eugene L. Eubank who was commander of the 19th Bombardment Group here. He led 100 bombers on a flight from California across the Pacific during World War II.
  • Montgomery Boulevard was named for Eugene Montgomery. His family homesteaded on land near what is now Carlisle and Montgomery around 1909, when there were 7,000 people in Albuquerque. 
  • Spain is named for Dr. Charles R. Spain, APS school superintendent from 1957-1965.
  • On the West Side, Taylor Ranch and Taylor Ranch Road were named for Joel and Nina Mae Taylor. In 1939 the Taylors, then living on his father’s homestead in Chama, bought 800 acres of land west of the river and lived in a two-room adobe house where the La Luz subdivision is now, near Montaño Place and Coors Road. This place became their winter haven away from snowy Chama, and there is now a street called Winterhaven there. In 1973, the Taylors sold 300 acres to Bellamah Corp., which created the Taylor Ranch subdivision.
  • Dale Bellamah, son of Lebanese immigrants, built thousands of houses east of Eubank and left the symbol of a bell imprinted in the concrete. A park and street are named for him. He called his wife Princess Jeanne, and a shopping center, a subdivision and a street have that name.
  • You might think Coors is named for the Colorado brewing family, but it’s not. It was named for Henry G. Coors who was a district attorney and judge in the 1940s and early 1950s.


Modern Albuquerque


A number of facilities are named for public servants. U.S. Sen. Dennis Chavez served from 1935 to 1962 and was instrumental in initiating the San Juan-Chama Diversion Project that will deliver water to the city in 2008. A park near I-25 and Gibson bears his name as well as an APS elementary school.

U.S. Sen. Joseph Montoya served from 1964 to 1977. The Northeast Heights TVI campus, the Montoya campus, is named for him. U.S. Sen. Pete Domenici was recently honored by having the new downtown Federal Courthouse named for him.

State Sen. Z.B. Moon served in the 1930s. The street is named for Moon or his family, who were long-time residents.


            Alice K. Hoppes, the long-time president of the NAACP in Albuquerque, was instrumental in getting Martin Luther King Jr.’s birthday made a state holiday and in getting a state Office of African American Affairs.. She died in 2004 at 64. The Alice K. Hoppes African American Pavilion at the State Fair is named for her.


The world of sports gave us a number of names. In the 1940s the Unser family operated a wrecking service at Unser Garage on 7700 Central SW. The family has raced in every Indianapolis 500 except one since 1964 and won nine times. The small dirt street adjacent to their family home was named Unser.


APS schools take their names from a variety of sources. 

Many elementary schools are named for local educators. For example, Susie Rayos Marmon, was one of the few Indian girls of her time to pursue an education. She was educated at Menaul School in Albuquerque and Carlisle Indian School in Pennsylvania, graduating from Bloomsburg State Teacher's College in Pennsylvania in 1906. For nearly 50 years she taught in a one room building behind her home in Laguna Pueblo and often served as an advocate for higher education. She died in 1988 at age 110.

John Baker, a champion runner at both Manzano High School and UNM, won so many races against heavily favored opponents he was dubbed “Upset John.” He became a coach at Aspen Elementary School. Training for the 1972 Olympics, he collapsed one day and learned he had terminal cancer. Baker kept coaching and gave the Duke City Dashers, a girls team, the last of his energy. He died in 1970 at age 26. The same week the Dashers won the AAU national cross-country championship in St. Louis. His life inspired a book, “The Shining Season,” along with two movies. He was so revered that, at the request of his students, the school was renamed in his honor.

Other schools are named for anthropologist Adolph Bandelier, soldier and trader Kit Carson, New Mexico colonizer Juan de Oñate, and artist Georgia O’Keeffe.


Most of UNM’s buildings honor former presidents, faculty, and coaches: Hodgin Hall for Charles Hodgin, the first APS superintendent; Zimmerman Library for President James Zimmerman, who expanded enrollment and constructed facilities throughout the Depression; Popejoy Hall for President Tom Popejoy, who led the development of UNM’s schools of medicine, pharmacy, nursing, law and business in the 1950s and 1960s; and Johnson Gym for Coach Roy Johnson,  who coached every sport at UNM from 1920 to 1959.


Some names are familiar because a well known business carries the name of a founder. For example, Louis Galles came to New Mexico in the 1880s as a soldier and in 1900 bought one of the first automobiles in the state. In 1908 he started Galles Motor Co., the city’s first car dealership.

Or Mr. Powdrell’s Barbeque House, started in 1969 by Pete Powdrell and passed to his sons.

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