Skip to main content

Old Town Albuquerque and Old US 66

One of the best things about our blog is having the chance to resurrect or completing unfinished pages/projects from the old gribblenation site.  My 2007 trip to New Mexico is an example.  This is the first of a series of posts covering that enjoyable trip.

I landed in New Mexico on a spectacular October afternoon.  Since I had some time to kill before checking in Albuquerque, I headed south a little bit to get myself accustomed to the New Mexico terrain.  The inn I stayed at was the Casas de Suenos - "The House of Dreams" - which is a former artist colony right on the edge of Old Town Albuquerque.  After checking in and exploring the grounds of what I would call home for the next four nights (a photo of my casita is below), I went across the street into Old Town.

 
Old Town, also known as Old Town Plaza, dates back to the city's founding by Governor Francisco Cuervo y Valdez in 1706.  Old Town covers approximately ten city blocks and includes numerous restaurants, shops, art galleries, museums, and small bed & breakfasts.  Amazingly, Old Town did not become a part of the City of Albuquerque (referred by some as 'New Town') until the 1940s.

 
Like many Spanish settlements of the day, Old Town Albuquerque features a central town plaza and church.  The plaza - which is the center of activity throughout the day - features a gazebo, replica cannons from an 1862 Civil War battle, but also street vendors and musicians.  On this Monday afternoon, a local mariachi band was entertaining visitors to the Old Town Plaza.


The centerpiece of Old Town Albuquerque is San Felipe de Neri Catholic Church.  For over three centuries, San Felipe has been part of the Albuquerque community.  The current church built with five foot thick adobe walls has stood since 1793.  The beautiful church - which saw the addition of two bell towers in 1861 - is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. 




After spending the afternoon in Old Town, it was time to get something to eat.  So why not explore Central Avenue, which is an old alignment of US 66.  Albuquerque's Central Ave. is home to a lengthy section of the old Mother Road.  East of town, Central Avenue still has the feel of its Route 66 days.  After passing the campus of the University of New Mexico, six lanes of old 66 heads east towards the Sandia Mountains.  Along the way is a tapestry of neon signs, vintage motels, gas stations, and restaurants that give modern day travelers a taste of what Route 66 was like in the 1940s, 50s, and 60s. 
 

Of course at many places along Central, Route 66 is the theme.  This may be the most apparent at none other than a little restaurant called the 66 Diner.  The diner, which includes numerous artifacts from the glory days of Route 66, is a popular stop to tourists, Route 66 enthusiasts, locals, along with college students at UNM.  The 66 Diner is a step back in time, and you can't go wrong with the malts, burgers, and sandwiches.  (Some of which include the extra kick of green chile peppers).
 
After dinner, I headed back to Old Town and retired for the evening and prepared for a very eventful Tuesday.

All photos taken by post author - October 2007

Comments

Popular posts from this blog

California State Route 58/Old California State Route 178 west of CA 43

This past week I drove California State Route 58 west of CA 43 in Kern County over the Temblor Range and La Panza Range to US Route 101 near Santa Margarita of San Luis Obispo County.


CA 58 west of Bakersfield and CA 99 in general is a mostly two-lane highway that traverses some very remote territory of Central California.  I chose to cover CA 58 west of CA 43 specifically due to the changes in the alignment that are to come when the West Side Parkway connects to the Centennial Corridor project.  The Centennial Corridor will connect CA 58 west of CA 99 to the already completed segment of Freeway on the West Side Parkway.

Westside Parkway and the Centennial Corridor; Future California State Route 58

CA 58 from Barstow west to Bakersfield was carved out of what was US Route 466 during the 1964 State Highway Renumbering.  CA 58 west of Bakersfield to Santa Margarita was carved out of what was part of CA 178.  The change from CA 178 to CA 58 west of Bakersfield to Santa Margarita can be ob…

California State Route 118

This past month I drove the entirety of California State Route 118 from Ventura County east into Los Angeles County.


CA 118 is a major 47 mile State Highway which begins in the City in Ventura County and traverses east into Los Angeles County by way of Simi Valley and Santa Susana Pass.  From Santa Susana Pass CA 118 continues eastward through San Fernando Valley within the City of Los Angeles and terminates at Interstate 210.  CA 118 contains within it's right-of-way some of the most historic highway corridors in California history.

The precursor route of CA 118 was Legislative Route Number 9 which was first added to the State Highway System during the First State Highway Bond Act of 1909.  The original definition of LRN 9 was from San Bernardino westward to LRN 4 in San Fernando. LRN 9 was extended westward to LRN 2 near Montalvo (modern day Ventura) in 1933.

In a August 1934 Department of Public Works Guide the Signed State Highways were announced.  CA 118 was announced to be a…

California State Route 225; the Zombie Highway of Santa Barbara and presently shortest in California

This past month I visited the Santa Barbara Area and drove the many short State Highways located there.  The shortest and the strangest is the 0.081 mile California State Route 225.


As noted above CA 225 is presently only 0.081 miles in length and is located completely on Castillo Street in Santa Barbara between Montecito Street and US 101/CA 1.  Fortunately the Caltrans Post Mile Tool illustrates that CA 225 still exists despite almost being relinquished to death.



At present moment CA 225 is the shortest State Highway in California.  By the definition of actual field mileage the following State Highways are the five shortest in California:

1.  CA 225 at 0.081 miles
2.  CA 275 at 0.14 miles
3.  CA 283 at 0.36 miles
4.  CA 77 at 0.40 miles 
5.  CA 153/CA 265 at 0.50 miles each

The origin of CA 225 was back in 1933 when Legislative Route 150 was added to the State Highway system as a loop of US 101/LRN 2 between Santa Barbara east to near Montecito according to CAhighways.org.  As orig…