Plaza Vieja- The Old Town Square

Wednesday, March 13, 2019

Route 66 Sign- New Mexico Style

Our Lab Megan had to endure thunderstorms yesterday- she was a mess. Today the wind event began at 0600 hours and is now blowing a steady 35 miles per hour and gusting at 50+. So windy that we decided to pull our slides in to protect the slide toppers. Neither of our mutzos enjoy that kind of wind. As a matter of fact neither do we. Gads, what happened to nice, mild sunny days?

Today we are going to plow through all of the wind and visit Albuquerque’s Plaza Vieja.

But first, a little history supplied by Wikipedia:

Albuquerque was founded in 1706 by Governor Francisco Cuervo y Valdes. Cuervo reported that the new settlement was home to 252 residents and had been laid out with streets, a plaza, and a church in accordance with the town planning regulations set forth in the Laws of the Indies. It later emerged that much of Cuervo’s account had been exaggerated and the original “villa” was just a scattering of farms along the Rio Grande rather than a centralized settlement. Despite a formal investigation, the villa was allowed to keep its title and a more legitimate town was soon established. Possession of Albuquerque along with the rest of New Mexico passed to Mexico in 1821 following the Mexican War of Independence.

Mexico didn’t own New Mexico very long. In 1846 during the Mexican-American War, U.S. forces took control of the territory without resistance. A U.S. army post was established in Albuquerque. In 1860 the population was 1608, a third of which was made up of the army garrison. The town was captured by Confederate troops in 1862 but they were forced to retreat as they lost their supplies at the Battle of Glorieta Pass.

The Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad reached ABQ (Albuquerque) in 1880 building a depot about two miles east of the plaza. That led to the creation of “New Albuquerque (now downtown) which quickly boomed and was incorporated as the City of Albuquerque in 1891.The Old Albuquerque quickly declined as businesses moved to New Town. By the 1930’s hardly any businesses were still operating around the plaza. The 1940’s was the turning point for Old Town as people began to notice the historic value of Old Town. It was annexed into the new city in 1949 bringing improvements like paved roads and sidewalks for the first time. Old Town has developed into a popular tourist attraction with most of the adobe houses repurposed into shops, restaurants and galleries.

Old Town is about 15 minutes away. We arrive before most of the stores, restaurants and galleries are open. No matter, we are more interested in the historical buildings more than shopping or eating. We walk around the plaza, then go into the gift shop/museum. Our luck holds- the museum is closed but the gift shop is chock full of great religious items. We ask if the church is open and it is.

The Cross, and All Statuary Shrouded in Purple Cloth
Hamming It Up – Still Lousy Selfie Takers

San Felipe de Neri Church was started in 1706, the current church built in 1793 after the old church collapsed a year earlier during a very rainy summer. The church is cross shaped with walls 5 feet thick. Except for the tin ceiling, the brick floor and south entrance the church is the same structure as in 1793.

We enjoy walking around the plaza and the historic buildings that surround it. We might not be history buffs as such but we do appreciate the history and the historic buildings of places like Old Town Albuquerque.

Other than doing some shopping at Walmart we are hunkered in here at the RV park. The wind is atrocious. Hopefully it will subside enough to allow our westward movement in the morning.

New Mexican Sasquatch? Hmmmm…………..

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