Shortly after I moved to Barelas, I discovered Tingley Park
. With two little ones, Tingley Park was a far enough walk away from home to feel like an adventure and close enough for us to make a quick dash for home in case we needed to.
There was also the bonus of Tingley Park’s location across the street from the Rio Grande Zoo
– some afternoons we headed to the zoo first for a picnic and a peek at some animals, wrapping up our excursion with a turn at the swings or gliding down the plastic slides that made everyone’s hair stand up on end from static electricity.
As my kids got older and outgrew weekly trips to the park, I continued to visit Tingley Park. Since it was across the street from the Barelas Community Center (my gym at the time) I would use the track and par course to vary my workouts. (The track around was .48 of a mile before they renovated the park).
One day, while working out in the Barelas Community Center
weight room, about ten women from the Barelas Senior Center
exercise class stopped by to use the weight room. It was a bit more crowded than usual, with lines forming at a few of the weight machines.
I struck up a conversation with one of the women, remarking that I had just run a few laps at Tingley Park, when she politely interrupted me, telling me it was called Tingley Field
. I very politely replied that the sign above the track read Tingley Park, and then another woman, a lifelong resident of Barelas, jumped in, stating that the sign was wrong!
These senior citizens of Barelas, most of them lifelong residents, plus a few who had moved to Barelas after marrying husbands from the neighborhood, started to regale me with tales of the baseball games at Tingley Field, the dances with live bands held at the very Barelas Community Center where we were exercising, and the boxing matches that took place at the Barelas Community Center.
It was all interesting information, and I tucked it away, thinking that maybe it would make its way into a story or an essay some day.
In 2006, Barelas was flooded by the heavy monsoon rains. Floodwaters damaged many homes, and we newcomers learned that the low point of Barelas was not Tingley Park, as I had thought, but some streets bordering Tingley Park.
To its credit, the city of Albuquerque (after some good reporting
and vigorous lobbying
by Bareleños), decided to address this issue by turning Tingley Park into a drainage area for the neighborhood of Barelas.
After more than a year of construction, the renovation of Tingley Park
is now complete.
In the meantime, having been displaced by the construction, I changed my running venue to the bosque
. Each time I went past (on foot or on wheels) Tingley Park, I checked the progress, and thought about those women from the Senior Center and the tales they told.
Around the same time, I started blogging for Duke City Fix.
One day, I decided to see if I could track down any photos of the old Tingley Field. I started at the Rio Grande Main Library and also the Special Collections library
across from the Artichoke Café, but had no luck there. I also visited the library
of the National Hispanic Culture Center, and found reams of material for future blogs, but no pictures of the old Tingley Field.
I even contacted the offices of a former player for the Albuquerque Dukes, Senator Domenici
, for assistance, but did not even get the benefit of a form letter response to my inquiry. (Constituent services apparently are less important when a member of Congress is soon approaching retirement?)
Finally, on the suggestion of a friend (and a few librarians), I struck gold at the Albuquerque Museum archives
. The museum staff members were quite generous with their time, and quite helpful in letting me go through the images in their database.
Here’s the result. (Profuse thanks go to the staff at the Albuquerque Museum who were kind enough to share these with me - muchas gracias!)
Note the flag at half mast, the advertisement for Offense Bonds (perhaps WWII era?) and the flagpole and utility pole INSIDE the outfield! You can also see the old Sacred Heart Church towers...torn down some time ago.
I can't tell which direction this view is facing or when the photograph was taken, but the car on the left may be a clue...