Elizabeth Anne VanderPutten - Albuquerque


Albuquerque is an old and historic city, with splendid climate, scenery and future. It is a growing metropolis of 448,607 (2002) that is located in the heart of New Mexico at the crossroads of I-25 (Pan-American Highway) and I-40 (which replace the storied Route 66 (Main Street USA). On the east are the Sandia and Manzano Mountains; the legendary Rio Grande river lies on its west (See Map)

Albuquerque was founded in 1706 under a grant from King Philip of Spain. It soon became and remains New Mexico's largest city. Covering more than 132 square miles, the city ranges in elevation from 4,500 feet in the Rio Grande Valley to 6,500 feet at the base of the Sandias.

The climate is world renowned, with azure skies and sunshine 300 days a year, 12 inches of rain annually, low humidity, and average high temperatures that range from 49 to 91 degrees. How many other places can you ski in the morning and golf in the afternoon?

For me, one of Albuquerque's most attractive features is its cultural diversity, with a blend of Spanish, Anglo and Native American peoples. It is also the home of the University of New Mexico, the state's largest institution of higher education (student body 30,000). Intel Corporation, the computer giant, is in the suburbs a few miles north of the city.


The Church of San Filipi de Neri,
Old Town Plaza

The most widely photographed church in Albuquerque is San Felipe Neri in Old Town. Guided by Fr. Manuel Moreno, it was built about 1706 on the west side of today's plaza to serve the needs of the original 252 settlers. It was originally named San Francisco after Francisco Cuervo y Váldez who established the "villa of Alburquerque" (note the extra R in the original spelling).


September 12, 1999


September 12, 1999


At the Entrance to
the Church of San Filipi de Neri

This early church -- the third oldest Spanish church in New Mexico -- was impressive for its day. The roof of this thick-walled adobe church were almost twenty-five feet high and an adobe arch holding two bells, gifts of King Felipe V, reached upward for another six or eight feet.

After years of Comanche raids and heavy rains and floods in the mid-1770s and the lack of maintenance, the old church began to crumble. Governor don Fernando de la Concha called for a new church to be built, which was completed in 1793 in a new location on the north side of the plaza.

We are standing beside the main entrance across from the plaza.


Pueblo Cultural Center
2401 12th Street NW
Albuquerque, New Mexico 87104

One of the unexpected joys of my trip was the Pueblo Cultural Center. The central area is an open plaza with 12 impressive murals by 11 Native Americans painted on the walls where dances are performed on weekends. The performance was just ending when we arrived.

The museum gave me the feeling of being inside a pueblo. As I moved from display to display, it was like moving from pueblo to pueblo. Along the way were exhibits of pottery, painting, sculpture, weavings, and other artifacts. Another section was like moving through the history of pueblo culture from the Anasazi to first contact with the Spanish to the present.

One of the highlights for me was a film showing the world famous Maria Martinez actually making pottery.


September 12, 1999


September 12, 1999


My New Mexico Family

My step-daughter Kati , grandson Stephen Kimo Martinez, and I are on the front patio at their home just off Yale Avenue near the University of New Mexico where Kati works.

The next Sunday, we met with my uncle Bob and aunt Doris at a restaurant near their home in Rio Rancho north of Albuquerque.


My Grandson in Old Town

We were sight-seeing in Old Town, and Stephen, typical of a young man, was a bit shy about having his picture taken.

Stephen is one handsome young man, isn't he!


September 12, 1999


Photo courtesy of Sandia Peak Tramway


Sandia Peak Tramway

We took flight # 27 on the Sandia Peak Tramway just at sunset. Unfortunately the glass in the cable car, while fine for viewing, was too smudged for us to take any useful pictures.

The Sandia Peak Tramway is 2.7 miles long and rises almost 4,000 feet with two towers. The ride is about 15 minutes.

Animals commonly seen from the Tram include mule deer, black bear, raccoons, bobcats and squirrels. Golden eagles, turkey buzzards, ravens, stellar's jays and hawks are also regularly seen.


Lodging and Restaurants

We stayed at the Barcelona Suites at Lomas and Louisiana NE three nights. Rates were competitive, and included a sitting room plus a full breakfast each day.

We enjoyed lunch with Stephen, Kati, and her friend Phil at the El Patio Restaurant on Harvard SW (which MSN touted for its tortilla soup and chicken mole and pork chops), but were not impressed with dinner in Old Town at the La Hacienda.



Sunset Over Albuquerque

This is a view from the High Finance Restaurant on Sandia Crest where we had dinner. The cuisine was adequate but this vista of Albuquerque and the Rio Grande valley at nightfall and of the desert stretching to the far horizon from an elevation of 10,687 feet was spectacular.

September 12, 1999


Email: Elizabeth Anne VanderPutten