Albuquerque Neighborhood Walking Tour Series

Last fall I took us on a ramshackle tour of Central Ave/Route 66 and said that sometimes I just want to walk around. Sure, I like nice, relaxing hikes out in nature. But I also enjoy wandering down back alleys, through vacant lots, and along drainage ditches. What can I say? It’s always been the case. That’s why I’ve been so impressed with the Albuquerque Neighborhood Walking Tour Series. A couple years ago, I stumbled upon the brochures/maps for these tours, which I think were created in 2006, at the downtown library. Last I saw, they still had some by the newspaper racks.

There are five tours and last Sunday I figured I should make an effort to polish them off by visiting the Pat Hurley Neighborhood. What’s great is that these tours don’t have you strolling around Old Town or following a well-trod trail near the Sandias. Instead, they send you on something closer to a wild goose chase, dropping you in neighborhoods you might never otherwise visit. Even the Nob Hill tour takes you off the beaten path and down Tulane Dr. to see Colonel Sellers log cabin, then through some alleys and over to Campus Blvd. Only for a short time do you actually find yourself on Central.

I’d never been to the Pat Hurley Neighborhood and passed very few people as I roamed mostly residential streets, occasionally consulting my brochure to make sure I didn’t miss anything. One thing immediately became clear: If you take this tour, you’re going to meet dogs. There’s just no way around it. While the pups I encountered stayed behind their fences, they all seemed to have a lot on their minds. A few were happy to see me; most were not. That’s something else—these tours put you in some places that might make you uncomfortable. Of course, when you’re uncomfortable, you’re often learning something. Or, if you’re not paying attention, maybe you’re going to learn something. I guess that’s probably worth remembering.

Since you won’t be blending in with the hustle and bustle, you might also meet some residents. The woman that owns the Manuel Sanchez y Aranda Home, a designated historic landmark built in 1895, wondered why I was taking a picture of the 104-year-old cottonwood in her yard. I produced my brochure and showed her that the house was described within, as was the tree. She was surprised and asked where she could get a copy. Trust me when I say I’m rarely so well alibied.

I have a sad suspicion that not many people take these walks. But if you want to see a telephone pole decorated in shoes, the Bachechi “Compound,” a house made of sod blocks, the ca. 1940 Albuquerque Motorcycle Club building (shown above and reportedly made with stone from the West Mesa volcanoes)--or if you’re just looking to learn a little more about your city--I highly recommend them. Luckily, they’re also on-line RIGHT HERE!

Happy trails!

John Mulhouse is an Albuquerque-based frequenter of gravel roads, ghost towns, and empty buildings. His blog, City of Dust, features photos and hidden history from all corners of New Mexico and beyond. He publishes a NM-ghost-town-photo-a-day on Facebook.

Views: 308

Tags: Albuquerque, Albuquerque Morotcycle Club, Pat Hurley Neighborhood, dogs, hikes, walks

Comment by Johnny_Mango on January 29, 2014 at 8:48pm

Wow.  You know, I think that Bachechi compound would be a great story all by itself!  I wonder if someone could get inside and do a piece.  Also, rumor has it that the compound is somehow connected to the local raccoon population in Nob Hill.  :-)

Comment by John Mulhouse on January 29, 2014 at 9:33pm

I admit to having looked over the wall at the Bachechi Compound, but that's about as close as I've come. It would be really cool to get inside and do a story. Someone read this piece and told me that their grandfather built the ABQ Motorcycle Club. That is very interesting...

Comment by Dee Cohen on January 30, 2014 at 5:39am

Thanks so much for these links. I had no idea there were tours mapped out. I usually just drive until I'm lost. I also love alleys and back roads, especially in ABQ. But talk about your dogs! 3 dogs chased my car in the South Valley, even getting under it as I drove. Then they calmly waited for me to discover it was a dead end so they could chase me in the other direction...

Comment by John Mulhouse on January 30, 2014 at 9:16am

Geez, those were pretty wily dogs. Maybe they just wanted a ride!?! Even with a soundtrack of barking, I do highly recommend the tours. They were clearly put together with love and care...and maybe a wink and a nod, too. Thanks for your comment!

Comment by Phil_0 on January 30, 2014 at 9:33am

The Bachechi Compound is fascinating...I've peeked over the wall too. There seem to be 3 or 4 cabanas in addition to the main house. When I win the lottery, I'll fix it up and open it as a boutique mini-hotel, something Nob Hill could really use...

Comment by John Mulhouse on January 30, 2014 at 10:03am

Everything I know about the compound I learned from the walking tour! (I'll paste the piece from the Nob Hill brochure below for people that might wonder what all this is about.) Phil_0, if you're going to open a boutique hotel in Nob HIll, don't forget that you're going to want a brewpub, too. Maybe in the gardeners' shed?

"This Spanish-Pueblo Revival style compound is hidden behind a wall on Wellesley, but is partially visible from the alley between Tulane and Wellesley. It’s composed of a main house, with a pool and pool house, a gardeners’ shed and three other residential units. A barn behind the pool house was occupied in the late twenties by Carl VanHossler, an artist that the Bachechi family brought from Germany to paint the Kimo Theater. The Bachechi family owned the Kimo Theater in downtown Albuquerque until 1968 when it was sold to the City of Albuquerque. They occupied this compound between 1934 and 1959."

Comment by Phil_0 on January 30, 2014 at 12:53pm

Sounds like an awesome spot for a hotel, doesn't it? I like the brewpub idea, but hey, Tractor's such a short walk...

Comment by once banned twice shy on January 30, 2014 at 1:50pm

Not to mention that Nob Hill is going to be awash in brewpubs here pretty soon.  You won't be able to swing a dead locust without hitting one. 

I have always been deeply curious about the Bachechi Compound and whatever might go on in there.  Who lives there now?  What do they do?  Why don't we ever see anyone come and go from there? 

Comment by John Mulhouse on January 30, 2014 at 2:00pm

I must admit that I was being a little facetious in my brewpub comment. Once banned twice shy has alluded to the situation. On the other hand, have you tried to squeeze yourself into Tractor or La Cumbre lately? There does seem to be great and growing demand. Still!

As for what goes on in the Bachechi Compound, that is indeed a mystery. It looked a little unkempt last time I glanced over the fence, but there did seem to be people living there. Perhaps they'll leave a comment and let us know!

Comment by Phil_0 on January 30, 2014 at 4:49pm

I think they rent the remaining casitas out, OBTS, It does seem to be in a state of disrepair, though - at least one structure has collapsed and man is it overgrown. I wish you could get a better sense from the street of what the main house looks like.

John, did you hear about Bosque Brewing opening a new taproom in the old Hollywood Video? They'll be a very welcome addition to the neighborhood...good beer, but who wants to drive all the way out to the corner of San Mateo and nowhere for a pint?

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