With a rich and exciting past that offers cultural diversity and opportunities for personal, family and business growth in the future, it is no surprise that Albuquerque continues to draw people into its warm embrace.
Initially, the area surrounding Albuquerque served as a home to early Native American tribes. The city was originally founded as Alburquerque in 1706 as a Spanish colonial outpost. Primarily a farming community and military outpost along the Camino Real, the town was constructed in a traditional Spanish village pattern which is comprised of a central plaza surrounded by government buildings, homes and a church.
The village received its name from the provincial governor Don Francisco Cuervo y Valdes in honor of the Duke of Alburquerque, viceroy of New Spain from 1702 to 1710. This name was later changed to Albuquerque at some point in the 19th century.
When the Railroad arrived in 1880, it bypassed the Plaza, locating the passenger depot and rail yards roughly two miles east in what quickly became known as New Albuquerque or New Town. Old Town remained a separate community until the 1940s when it was absorbed by the City of Albuquerque.
New Albuquerque quickly became a thriving community and by 1900 boasted a population of 8,000 and all the amenities of a modern city including an electric street railway connecting Old Town, New Town, and the recently established University of New Mexico campus on the East Mesa. In 1902 the famous Alvarado Hotel was built adjacent to the new passenger depot and remained a symbol of the city until it was torn down in 1970 to make room for a parking lot. In 2002, the Alvarado Transportation Center was built on the site in a manner resembling the old landmark.
When Route 66 appeared in Albuquerque in 1926 it brought dozens of motels, restaurants and gift shops along the roadside. Route 66 originally ran through the city on a north-south alignment along Fourth Street, but in 1937 it was realigned along Central Avenue, a more direct east-west route.
As Albuquerque spread outward, the downtown area fell into a decline. Many historic buildings were torn down in the 1960s and 1970s to make way for new plazas, high-rises and parking lots as part of the city’s urban renewal phase. Only recently has the downtown area come to regain much of its urban character, mainly through the construction of many new loft apartment buildings and the renovation of historic structures like the KiMo Theater, in the gentrification phase.
The central plaza area, now known as “Old Town”, has been preserved and is open to the public as a museum, cultural area, and center of commerce. The city has many other galleries, museums, shops and other points of interest that can be enjoyed by residents and visitors.
Albuquerque has seen a large influx of new businesses in the area during the last decade and also has attracted the film industry, which has helped to stimulate the local economy even more.
First ranked by Forbes in 2006 in The Nation’s Best Places for Business and Careers, Albuquerque remains a solid city for doing business. Today, Albuquerque is a metropolitan area of approximately 907,000 people with one of the country’s more stable metro economies.
Albuquerque is the county seat of Bernalillo County and has been part of the New Mexico Technology Corridor since the dawn of the atomic age. The blend of old and new can be seen in the city’s architecture and businesses and attracts thousands of tourists each year.