Downtown Albuquerque Walking Tour- Central Ave
This short walking tour takes users to a number of landmarks, museums, and historic buildings along Albuquerque's Central Avenue.
The Skinner Building, built in 1931, has been considered the city's best example of Art Deco Style architecture. It was owned by the J.A. Skinner family as a grocery store for ten years. Since then it has been used as home to various firms and local headquarters for Pepsi Cola Co. Owned by the city of Albuquerque since the 1970s, the building was sold to a private owner, who had a second story balcony added that has caused a lot of controversy; even leading to a city councilman to resign in protest.
Opened in 2001 by Holocaust survivor, Werner Gellert, the Holocaust and Intolerance Museum of New Mexico showcases exhibits, regarding about genocide and historic discrimination of people around the world. Exhibits include the Holocaust, Native American cultural genocide, the Armenian and Greek genocides, Slavery in America, and the Rwanda genocide. These exhibits illustrate historical conflicts caused by local, national, and global prejudice through artifacts, memorabilia, pictures, documents, videos, and books. In addition, there is a mini-theater where visitors can watch lectures, panel discussions, film screenings, plays, visual art exhibits, and dance performances. Visitors can also go the Silvian Library & Study Center where they can read books that cover the museum’s exhibits. The main purpose of the museum is to educate people about these historical atrocities and advocate against racism and violence. To achieve these goals, the museum has several outreach programs to teach people how to encourage empathy for others.
Perhaps the city of Albuquerque's most famous downtown building, the KiMo Theatre was built in 1927. The name "KiMo" was selected from many suggestions and can mean either Mountain Lion or leader in the Tiwa language, which is still spoken by the Pueblo people of New Mexico. The building design combines stucco with modern art deco styles, a blending that was meant to symbolize the ideal future of New Mexico as a blending of old and new. This short-lived architectural style is known as “Pueblo Deco.” A large fire in the early 1960s nearly destroyed the stage while urban sprawl eroded the nightlife in the city's core-- a common trend in urban history throughout the United States. The theater fell into disrepair in the 1970s and was nearly demolished until community activists raised awareness of the building's historic significance and beauty. Several renovations have made the theater the center of Albuquerque's downtown once again.
Constructed in 1910, this was Albuquerque's first reinforced concrete building, and was designed by Henry C. Trost. It served as the flagship for the Rosenwald's department stores. In 1927, the McLellan company opened a store in the building's bottom floor and stayed in operation for 50 years. Renovated in 1981, the building house some offices before being completely owned by the city of Albuquerque. Upon opening, it was considered one on of the best department store buildings in the American Southwest.
Constructed in 1917, this building has served as the headquarters of the Occidental Life Insurance Company for the past century. The building suffered severe damage following a fire in 1933. The building was not completely renovated and reopened until 1939, when all of the damage was repaired. The building has been renovated several times since that fire and in 1981, a second story was added. The building is a landmark in Albuquerque where it is known for its unique terra cotta facade and a Venetian Gothic Revival architectural style.
Now known as the historic Hotel Andaluz and as one of the best boutique hotels in the nations, this structure was originally Hotel Hilton when it was completed in 1939. From there to 1969, it was a famed Hilton hotel in the southwest before it was sold and became the La Posada de Albuquerque. It would become Hotel Andaluz in 2008. "Andaluz" is short for "Andalucian," an historic and picturesque area of Spain. Andalucia would influence the architecture of the building. The hotel was New Mexico's first building with built in air conditioning.
The Sunshine Building is one of Albuquerque's most recognizable and active entertainment spots. This six-story building was done by the famed Henry C. Trost in 1924. Until the 1970s it held offices, jewlwery stores, and a theater palace (920 seats); the theater palace being Albuquerque's first. By 1980, the offices and jewelry store closed down and the theater was converted into a venue for concerts. The first film played in the Sunshine was "Scaramouche" in 1923. Now the building houses some offices and used for concerts. It's famed neon sign which attracted tourists was unfortunately taken down and moved elsewhere. In television, the exterior of the building was used to designate the site of a fictional US Marshals Witness Protection service building for the show, "In Plain Sight."
Established in 1904, the Albuquerque Electric Streetcar System quickly supplanted the network of companies that offered horse-drawn trolleys. This historical marker located near the fountain at the Alvarado Transportation Center shares the story of the creation of the electric streetcar system and its relation to housing patterns and urban sprawl as Albuquerque was becoming a suburban city. The trolley system and later streetcar network were significant to the expansion of the city and development of residential suburbs because workers no longer had to live within walking distance of their workplaces. Even though the streetcar system was a major advancement in Albuquerque, gas-powered buses replaced the streetcars starting slowly at the end of the 1920s. Although gasoline-powered buses did not replace the streetcars as quickly as the cars had replaced horse-drawn trolleys, the end of World War II saw an end to gasoline rationing and the rapid expansion of buses as the primary mode of intercity and intracity public transportation.
This was the third building that housed Albuquerque's high school students starting in the early 20th century until the 1970s. As Albuquerque grew, more and more students were enrolled into the education system, thus newer, bigger buildings were needed. Constructed between 1914-1917, this building was the largest in size and lasted the longest as a school. Until 1949, it was the city's only school when another was completed. In 1979, a new building was completed to house Albuquerque High students. From 1979 to 2001 the school building was largely empty. Now it has been renovated for lofts, which have helped usher recent economic growth to this area of the city.