1514 Silver.com

The Official Website of 1514 Silver Avenue SW, Albuquerque, New Mexico

Menu Close

A property for all seasons

ANYONE can buy or builD a house –

A great property must evolve

Note:  Click on the face of any picture to see it larger.
Click on the back arrow of each enlarged picture to return to the post.
The gold type are links to related material.

Copyright 2017

history and connecting is important in the huning castle neighborhood


A heavy metal stake driven deeply into the ground in the backyard of 1514 Silver marks the spot near what might have been the corner of Gold Avenue and South 17th Street had the course of history been different.

In 1928 this stake marked the areas western extent of the city limits of the comparatively new City of Albuquerque, an emerging metropolis located almost entirely within the more ancient five square mile area known as the Town of Albuquerque grant.

Actually the real history is far more convoluted and complicated, but the important thing is that 1514 Silver is both centrally located and is located on a spot of land that has been a dedicated urban area for 312 years and counting.

The Old Town Plaza bandstand is where the Albuquerque grant flagpole once was.

The property is an easy 3/4 of a mile walk to the Central bandstand in Old Town, the exact center of the Albuquerque grant, and less than 1.1 mile to the site of the old Alvarado Hotel and the Albuquerque train depot – the center of the much newer, Anglo inclusive, railroad city.

FRANZ HUNING, His CASTLE and the addition

Franz Huning was a merchant in Old Town. As his financial success in life grew he decided to build a very grand house on his property along Railroad Avenue, the main street between Old Albuquerque and the new Albuquerque, a street later renamed as Central Avenue.

Castle Huning postcard showing arched openings and entry fountain.

Central Avenue had a streetcar line running down it in Huning’s day, first horse-drawn, then electric. Huning’s house had electricity of course, but it was made of adobe, actually ‘terrone’, which is actually a mud sod. The exterior covering, and design, made it look like a castle, and Huning called the place Castle Huning – almost everyone else called it Huning’s Castle.

A great civic, even regional plan, created the MRGCD, the Middle Rio Grande Conservancy District circa 1925. The idea was to ‘drain the swamp lands’ of Albuquerque, meaning mostly the forested area of the meandering river, making it possible to control floods and create a vast downstream reach of new farmlands, including near the Bosque del Apache.

For Huning the result of the MRGCD efforts was to leave his property high and dry. This new high and dry land was soon sold to the Keleher and Hebenstreit families who formed the Huning Castle Addition Company, a New Mexico corporation, with the intention to sell lots. The property was platted in 1928, and by the late spring of 1929, the ground had been leveled, streets graded, and the sale of lots finally began. An Albuquerque Journal ad boldly proclaimed the vision.

On March 1st 1928, Block 15, Lot 8 and Lot 7 were created, laying the groundwork for what was to become the property at 1514 Silver.

the hard work of a depression

Some might say that the Huning Castle Addition, or the Country Club neighborhood as some people started calling it, was ill-timed. Just six months after its founding the stock market fell.

The new 1927 Albuquerque Country Club clubhouse at Park Avenue and Laguna, just over 1/4 mile away from 1514 Silver.

The reality is that the neighborhood that was built would probably never have been built without the stock market crash and the Great Depression that followed.

What the depression did was create a disciplined force of very hard working and talented people that could, and did, work very hard for comparatively little money. This simple fact made remarkable houses in the Huning Castle neighborhood possible. The best of these houses were made of brick, the best of the brick houses were made by skilled craftsmen trained in the Arts & Crafts tradition.

Other remarkable houses in Huning Castle were made of hollow brick, and a few special houses imitated the spirit of Huning and were made with adobe. The choice of materials was driven by an effort to create both attractive, and fireproof, durable structures.


All houses have a history, but not all house histories are recorded or storied. Special houses keep their memories, especially when the memories are pleasant.

The Langs bought Lot 8 in 1938. The 60 foot lot width was not what they needed to build the custom house that they wanted, so they then purchased the west 15 feet of Lot 7 to complete the land purchase for the house, walls, and gardens that they were planning to build.

The objection can be raised that gardens are not “built,” but are planted. That’s the difference between landscapes and hard-scape. The point is best illustrated by the term “garden wall.” Even the most ancient gardens were marked by their walls.

This “curtiledge” has long been legally defined as the enclosed space of ground and buildings immediately surrounding a dwelling-house. The “enclosed space” refers to the gates and walls. The concept has roots in the notion of a home being a castle. A castle within a castle is a “keep.”

The property at 1514 Silver can be seen, or viewed, as a castle within a castle, a “castle keep.”

The original walls of this castle were built for the Langs in 1938, at the time the house was built and the first gardens planned and planted. At first they had no next door neighbors. The Lang House on the south side of Silver was the first house on the block, or at least the part of Block 15 that faced Silver, not Park.

Mr. Korber

After about 14 happy years in the house the Langs moved away, literally going off to see the world. Happily the house was then bought by Mr. Korber, legendary merchant and department store owner with locations in the bustling downtown of postwar Albuquerque.

Mr. Korber was a more modern type person. He wanted air-conditioning not just a swamp cooler. He wanted a private bath, not just a bath down the hallway. He wanted modern forced air gas heat, and not the old boiler with all the brass fittings connected to steam.

And most of all Mr. Korber wanted room for his very large car, so it could be parked in the garage, out of sight and out of mind, like most everyone does with their cars in Huning Castle.

And also, since everyone else seemed to be doing it, he decided to create a new room, a sun room, where the back porch used to be. He made many of the walls with glass and imported internal cherry wood doors from Japan to hide family storage. His idea of a family kitchen was bright yellow formica, but he kept the old green linoleum floor.

With his choice of colors its not surprising that his ‘claim to fame’ in the neighborhood was his generosity to the neighborhood children. He gifted each child, every Easter, with a small basket of real chocolate candy.

The o’Connells

O’Connell is a good Irish name, and the O’Connells were good Irish Catholics. They bought the house after the Korbers, and after they retired and their children had moved away.

Their eldest son was Michael O’Connell rector of the Basilica of St. Mary in Minneapolis, Minnesota. Mrs. O’Connell loved cooking and entertaining, especially for neighborhood friends. Mr. O’Connell was one of a large group of neighborhood Rosarians, and the O’Connells also planted rare patented Iris’s in the 1514 Silver gardens, where they still grow today.

The beautiful wood burning fireplace was a burden to Mr. O’Connell in his later years, so he had the fireplace fitted for gas. The gas logs have now been replaced by a very efficient, enamel, wood burning stove.

the claytons

The Claytons purchased the house in the summer of 1999. Paulette Clayton was a teacher at Manzano Day School, so the location enabled her to walk to work.

Her daily passages passed by the beautiful parks of the neighborhood, and various architectural wonders, on her way to the original house near Old Town, now the site of the school, where Confederate troops were fed and quartered during their ill-fated effort to make New Mexico a part of that long-ago lost cause.

The house and grounds of 1514 Silver were updated and enlarged under Donald Clayton’s careful eye for design and building and engineering background tutelage.

The house itself, and its furnishings are in large measure a reflection of Donald Clayton’s numerous residences and earlier far-away travels.

moving on and moving in

It’s time for the Clayton’s to move on, to be closer to family, if not to very dear old friends. And after eighteen years as stewards of this remarkable property they are looking for new stewards, new owners, to replace them.

They hope it could be you, if you are a match for what this property is, and for what it represents.

In order to help with that decision this web site has been created.

Begin the Journey HERE.

the 1514 silver front yard

“COMING” Means making the property ready

There’s a lot of work to do at 1514 Silver, work that needs to be done to ‘make it ready’ for the right buyer. Don’t get me wrong, the right buyer will happily pay the right price, that’s what “priced-right” really means. We’re not just going to give away this property – no property in Huning Castle should ever be just given away – the quality of life, the beauty in the neighborhood is just too special.

It’s a good sign when a great property has a good sign. The ‘Coming’ sign was custom built by the owner.

We’re starting (my wife and I) at the curb and working our way forward, meaning from the front of the property all the way back to the back wall. It’s a journey, and involves not just a bit of work. But we want any buyer to be happy, and it takes hard work to make a good buyer happy, but in the end it is probably worth it – on that day when the property sells.

Curb appeal begins with the curb

There is so much that people often don’t know that really affects them. This fact is especially true when it comes to properties and houses. It begins with knowing a little about the street which is the basis for the street address – in this case 1514 Silver.

Silver Avenue is one of the traditional streets in Albuquerque named after the natural resources so abundant in New Mexico; Silver, Gold, Copper, Marble, Slate, Lead, Iron, Coal, Granite, and arguably Orchard, Fruit, Mountain, and even Summer.

Silver is a dedicated, city owned right-of-way (R.O.W.) with a width of 60 feet. The 33 feet streets are composed of cement curbs and gutters and intervening asphalt paving. The in-curb heavy cast steel gutter openings “drain to river.” In the Huning Castle neighborhood the asphalt paving is in good repair.

Work at 1514 Silver starts at the curb and moves both forward and ‘back’.

To get 1514 Silver ready for sale we are literally starting at the edge of the asphalt, repairing and replacing small bits of missing asphalt as we work our way to carefully fixing things between the curb (including the curb) up to the front edge of the house, which is actually the front of the very special attached “two-car” brick garage. We call this area the front yard, but to understand this area it takes a bit of explaining.

the front yard

The front of the property is 75 feet wide per plat. Surveying errors over the years typically lead to a give and take of a few inches or feet (very rarely) in regards to the real property lines in the neighborhood, but the clear and long demarcation, ‘set in cement’ by long existing walls, at 1514 Silver makes it special, and almost unique.

THE “free land” ROW

Many cities and towns have a dedicated non-street area adjacent to each roadway that is reserved for sidewalks, street trees, street furniture, and the location of public infrastructure like fire hydrants, water meters, and even little libraries.

On Silver this city owned, tax free, off-street right-of-way is 13.5 feet wide. The area looks like it is “part of the house,” and because of the way things are done in Albuquerque and in Huning Castle it is and it isn’t. Let me explain.

The cities perspective is that maintenance of the sidewalks and trees “in front of a house” “in the right-of-way” is the property owners responsibility. How this is done constitutes “owner discretion.”

Keeping the ‘sidewalk ROW under good repair. Street trees and good fences make for good neighbors.

The result is that many home-owners in Huning Castle have done away with all their sidewalks and replaced them with mounded landscaping, plants and flowers. Several owners have “taken” the entire area, or part of it, and enclosed the area with walls, sometimes even very high walls. Other owners have built or maintained very lovely six foot wide ADA compliant sidewalks, often removed a respectable and comfortable six feet from the curb of the street.

In other areas the sidewalks have been left in a state of “deferred maintenance” as ancient tree roots gently lift circular sidewalk portions toward the low lying limbs and the beautiful New Mexico sky. This diversity is the charm of the neighborhood. One never really knows what to expect. And much of it really doesn’t matter, because nearly everyone walks very safely out in the street, because virtually no one ever parks on the street, unless they are construction workers or maintenance or delivery gals or guys.

At 1514 Silver this “free land – public ROW” is an untaxed 1,012 square foot addition to the property. Not bad, considering that in a place like downtown Philadelphia the average $600,000, three story, 1,200 square foot brick house only comes with a 465 square foot lot. Free land is good, but to get it you have to buy the rest of the property at 1514 Silver.

25 foot front yard setback

Most of Albuquerque was built under Zoning laws that required a 20 foot “front yard setback” from the front property line, which as we discussed is 13.5 feet back from the curb.

Huning Castle was special in that houses had a 25 foot setback, allowing ample front driveway parking for the longer and bigger cars that so many people used to have back in the 30’s, 40’s and fifties. Another nice thing about a 25 foot property setback is that you don’t have to stand in the street to get thing out of the back of the hatchback, or the trunk of the car. It’s called room and ambiance. I call it common sense.

The theory of the city is that no fences or walls higher than three feet, unless they are “open” can be built in the front yard setback and no part of any house can be built in the setback. The idea is that this 1,875 square foot area (75′ x 25′) at 1514 Silver is used as a front yard and as a driveway for the garage.

Making it special

Many houses have landscaping. Some houses have xeriscaping, a water authority (ABCWUA) program that cashes out your lawn for money with your promise that the greenery will never come back.

The large lawns of neighbors make professional ‘mower & blower’ help necessary.

At 1514 Silver we haven’t cashed out the lawn.  The neighborhood is famous and beloved for its beautiful lawns. Sure a lawn can be expensive, and water isn’t always cheap, and the “mowers and blowers” that it takes to maintain them are not ever cheap either.

1514 Silver has a lawn, a front lawn, no back lawn. The lawn is a resounding 375 square feet in area, one of the smallest and easiest to mow in the neighborhood, however the design of the lawn makes it appear to be much larger.

Further, the lawn is totally flat, made that way by short elevated walls along the sidewalk. The purpose of the design is to conserve water by eliminating that troubling runoff that always goes along with lawns built on a slope.

Eliminating the ‘runoff factor’ is also helpful when considering the ‘water police’ – that ABCWUA Albuquerque institution that actually runs around in unmarked cars equipped with cameras to catch ‘water wasters’ that allow unrestrained water to flow into the streets and down the gutters as the gutters ‘drain to river’ – the Rio Grande. We can’t say that 1514 Silver is water police perfect, but it comes much closer to that goal than almost anywhere else.

flights of the cranes

the simple joys of living in huning

Generally, beginning in October, the annual pageant of the flight of the cranes can be easily and often observed from the properties of Huning Castle. As the annual event progresses the overhead flocks increasingly get larger, and often linger longer.

For hundreds, if not thousands, of years the cranes gravitate toward the bend in the river, just south of Old Town and north of Downtown, an ancient geographic reference point far more obvious from the air.

Crane watching is easy at 1514 Silver, without craning ones neck. The reason – there is a wonderful 500 square foot second floor deck with chairs and sturdy thick deck walls surfaced with tile. “Up on the roof” there is room for all, or at least a few friends or neighbors, and the tiled railings provide a natural resting place for light food and drink – refreshing refreshment for the body to supplement this annual refreshing of the mind.

The cranes look down, often as they regroup and circle, and the deck denizens, lucky as they are, look up to watch just another remarkable wonder of nature.

After the winter’s sojourn among the fields of grain that permeate the area of the southern Bosque the pageant resumes in the spring as the cranes fly north in their seemingly endless quest for companionship and adventure.

Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge

New mexico

Sand Hill crane

Sand Hill crane

The Annual Festival of The Cranes is held each November  at the Bosque del Apache National Wildlife Refuge, located 17 miles south of Socorro, New Mexico.

The annual Festival of the Cranes takes place both outdoors and indoors.  The Festival is headquartered at the Bosque del Apache Visitors Center.

Images may be enlarged by clicking on the image.
Map locating Bosque del Apache

Map locating Bosque del Apache

From the Center visitors can drive an auto loop around the refuge.  Observation decks are located at various points along the loop route that make perfect stopping places to take photographs, to use viewing scopes, and to learn from volunteer docents.

Map of the Auto Loop and View Points at Bosque del Apache

Map of the Auto Loop and View Points at Bosque del Apache

Click HERE for the Google satellite map of the Bosque and wildlife area.

Sand Hill crane in flight

Sand Hill crane in flight

There are over 100 lectures, workshops, and various hands-on activities, many of which are related to the annual sand hill crane migration.  Hikes and tours take place, including special photography tours.  Many of the events require the payment of additional fees.

The Friends of the Bosque organization is in charge of EVENTS within the larger Festival of the Cranes event.

Sand Hill cranes in repose

Sand Hill cranes in repose


the A.R.T. electric eclectic

the new art articulated electric BUS and

the new central avenue

Note:  Click on the face of any picture to see it larger.
Click on the back arrow of each enlarged picture to return to the post.
The gold type are links to related material.

A citizen’s observations, opinions & beliefs.
Copyright 2017

the best bus ever

On August 8, 2017, the first Albuquerque Rapid Transit (A.R.T.) electric bus arrived in the City of Albuquerque, sporting a clearly visible State of California license plate.

#1701 sporting its original “California plates” livery.

This Albuquerque Rapid Transit (A.R.T.) bus is the first ever articulated bus built by the Build Your Dreams (BYD) bus company, headquartered in China, with a factory located in California. #1701 is a special version of the 20 buses contracted for by the City of Albuquerque (COA).

The buses, still undelivered, are supposed to be “roll-on and roll-off” buses that are compatible with the bus platforms still being built in the center lanes of Central Avenue.

Since the required platforms have not been built for 5 of the 14 mile-long Central Avenue and Louisiana Boulevard A.R.T. bus line this “platform slide” bus, with its unconventional ramps, might be totally necessary, not just useful.

catching up with the bus

Yesterday I was able to catch up with the bus after an ABQ RIDE driver informed me that the BYD company had delivered only one bus to the City (COA) and that the one bus had “flip-out” ramps at all 5 doors so that the platforms being built on Central were not even necessary for roll-on and roll-off  loading and unloading.

Admittedly I was a bit confused by this statement, as I thought (last summer) that the whole really cool thing about the A.R.T. project (according to the City) was that the roll-on and off platforms were key to the whole point of centered Central Avenue “stations.”

PNM and the bus charger

When the last electric streetcar in Albuquerque stopped running up and down Central, between Old Town, through new town, with a final stop at where the Frontier Restaurant now is for the University, it was a loss to the city owned electric utility. The last car ended its last run on December 31, 1928, just about 89 years ago.

The model 400 Power Pack that appears to be necessary to keep the bus going.

So, to me it seemed fitting that the new electric buses are powered by the new electric company – PNM. The only problem is that if the new buses are just “plug & play” into the PNM grid, why was it that the first thing that I saw was a giant electrical charger, mounted on wheels no less, like a trailer?

No, I didn’t notice a trailer hitch on the back of bus #1701. So, I guess that this is like a portable charging station in case the bus runs out of “gas” and a PNM outlet is just not available at the stations – just hook-up the trailer, reach the bus, recharge, and everything is “good-to-go.”

The question that nobody asked last summer during all the A.R.T. hoopla was actually how long are the electric bus extension cords used for the PNM charging?


When I got to the front of the bus, after working my way around the electrical charger, I couldn’t help but notice that the new buses license was expired.

Expired NM vehicle registration that replaced the California plates.

On August 8th the bus arrived in Albuquerque sporting California plates. On August 28th the bus was temporarily registered in New Mexico. On September 27th the temporary registration expired.  Dare we ask the question why?

If this bus is destined to ply the route along Central Avenue why hasn’t the bus received its permanent NM plates? Why isn’t the bus already snuggling up to the loading platforms so that ABQ RIDE drivers can learn how to serve passengers without scratching the paint off the sides of the beautiful new buses?

Look closely, you may easily see the answer. #1701 is not a new bus at all, it is apparently just an old bus that has been reworked and repainted. Do you see it? The bus was manufactured in 2016. It seems that this was an old bus that had its back chopped off and the articulated trailer was then added.

In the industry they call it a “mock-up” or a prototype model. No, this bus is not apparently a production model, it is a “presentation” model, it’s probably good for a show, but not really good for the road.

So, “back-it-goes” when the real buses start to roll in, but the real buses have yet to roll in. It’s not really “smoke & mirrors,” but the situation could really cause tears if the real buses are not soon in arriving. One may ask, “what’s the rush?”

A good look before it goes back

Sit back, buckle-up, you’re in for the ride of your life.

The electric BRT bus is rather good looking in a street-rail sort of way. It’s said to be streamlined, like the Airstream trailers, but unlike the trailers it is not really streamlined in a real science sort of way. And yes, it is really just a bus, and not really a bit like rail or even light rail.

The bus has 5 doors, 3 on the right, 2 on the left. An accordian fold connects the bus and the bus trailer, creating the articulated effect.

Straps, high chairs, and bars – ART has something for everyone.

Unlike the Rapid-Ride buses there is no advertising covering the outside, but then again, there is no guarantee that that situation won’t change.

Like the “Last Train to Pottsville.”

The buses are silver, as if they were destined for use in the Silver State – Nevada; they are not the red and green with the chile motif that one might expect in New Mexico. There is no nod to Route 66, but then again, the old Route 66 is now long gone with the newsy noise of the new buses and the new Central.


The big deal associated with the electric bus set is being ready when the final ribbon is cut. Politicians are always into photo-ops and ceremonies. It looks bad when one politician really worked hard and the new politician gets all the credit.

I worked very hard last summer to point out the madness of this very big bus boondoggle, but, until now, I had little to show for it. In the opposite corner Mayor Berry probably feels the same way.

Wheelchair lock-down location, the high shoe-shine seats are further back.

He did the “done deal” and now he wants the photo-op credit. The new mayor, Tim Keller, takes office on December 1, 2017, just over five weeks away. So Berry has five weeks to finish everything, clean up Central, get the buses, train the drivers, and have everything running on the tight 15 minute bus schedule that he promised years and years ago when he first began to get started.

I imagine that they are giving very long odds on the bet in Las Vegas, but, don’t get me wrong – it could happen.

The accordion is also called a squeeze box. We’ll see if the fenders are really benders at the ART stations.

the new central

The old Route 66 Arch is now upstaged by the ART bus logo sign at the end of the line at Coors & Central. Actually the bus goes another mile or so to the transit transfer station, but no loading ramps have even been started there yet.

The first ART platform sign is up with many, many more to go – just another bump in the road.

Five or six weeks from now, under the Berry plan, all the orange cones and barrels will be gone and a thousand or more ART construction workers will be unemployed.

Note that the “red rock” reinforced concrete pavement ends just east of the station. It’s just a very wide swath of uninterrupted black asphalt to the bottom of the hill, 1.5 miles away. The only break is the station near where the Old Coors intersection has been eliminated.

All the trees, the medians, and the center island light posts on old Central Avenue are gone.

polka dot paint with little shelter

The ART loading platform at Coors features the white polka dot crosswalks that the illustrators promised. In their ‘conceptual illustrative renderings’ the polka dots were much larger and they were plastic inlays, not paint.

Some might say it was “bait and switch” to do this, I think it is more “bus and switch.” Anyway, less than a month and the polka dot crosswalks already look worn and dirty.

Worn and dirty in a project that many say was ‘fast & dirty.’ But the contractors all made money.

The new Denver Airport was probably where most people first noticed the “tent top” stretched material as a substitute for roof coverings. The ART transit platforms leave people substantially exposed to the sun, rain, snow, wind and weather. And all this is while one is stranded in the middle of the street.

ABQ RIDE hated that the Rapid Ride stops provided shelter for the homeless. I guess that is the issue that led to decisions like this:

The ART workers find shelter by sitting on the edge with feet in the bus lane.

The nanny state is always watching you, as if the “watch bird” has replaced the roadrunner as the New Mexico state bird. Every station has multiple cameras recording your every move 24/7. Don’t look up, you might see them while they are seeing you.

So if the police are called, will they use the bus lanes to respond in a reasonable amount of time?

In the next picture you can see the camera watching the painter if you look up. At the stations you always have to “look up” so you don’t hit your head on the “V” shaped metal pipes that provide support for the tent tops.

Real, effective, transportation systems require a lot more than a new coat of paint.

Remember that it is the “two-door” side of the bus that is available at most stations (See featured image above), the “three-door” side of the bus (shown below) is only used downtown and at the extreme ends of east and west Central.  Go figure?

Right side of bus with three doors,

not used at platforms.







The original ART plan sold to the feds and sold to the people of Albuquerque was for a world class BRT (Bus Rapid Transit) system that had, as almost all BRT systems, a system of reinforced concrete “bus only” right-of-ways.

The advantage of this thick concrete slab, reinforced with steel rebar, is that it provides a long-lasting durable roadway that can support the weight of frequent, very heavy, passenger loaded buses in a way that asphalt road surfaces simply can’t.

A simple drive down Central reveals that these dedicated bus guide-ways haven’t been built. In most cases the red-rock red concrete ends just before or after each station.

There is no continuous durable reinforced concrete path on which the buses can tread. I guess that someone assumed that nobody in Albuquerque would really notice this “bus and switch,” this blatant “steal of steel.”

So, the big boys of Central, on Central, are busy painting the asphalt with big “bus only” letters in hopes that the black and white road scheme will keep real people from seeing the “red” that just isn’t there.

I see red lights near the Nob Hill station, but no red concrete bus-way going east.

University station near the Frontier Restaurant has educated people that might notice the missing cement – so the red cement here is not missing.

u-turns and no turns

The Spruce Street (Presbyterian Health Line Hospital) Station already has the bus only lane signs and the bus only pavement paint.

Generally, you make left turns and U-turns at every signal. The idea is that you drive-by a business and then double-back via a U-turn to park fairly near the business. Everyone probably knows that there will be very little walking across the new Central unless you want to be almost literally “thrown under a bus.”

So, in this case the lanes are just 10 feet wide and you have to circle around two of them, both full of buses, to just get back to where you were five or ten minutes earlier.  Oh my.

Do you see the business parking? I don’t see the business parking. Do you see the durable red concrete roadway?

BACK to the future

I think it is going to be a very fun five weeks, taking bets on how far Berry will go and how far the eclectic electric bus project will grow.

The best part will be when buses start running, if they start running, and how traffic will handle the bus only bulb-outs that now punctuate the new Central.  Central used to be for cruising, now it seems more destined to be “cruising for a bruising.”

The IDO (Integrated Development Ordinance) is projected to make most of Central into a five mile long, five-story high wall of apartments and businesses and booming brew-pubs and coder hang-outs.  Maybe it’s good, but I liked and loved the old Albuquerque better, people with heart, people with roots and soul.

Goodbye old Route 66, you served us well while you lasted.

Location, Location, Location


There is one thing that many real estate agents in Albuquerque will not tell you.  It is the first thing that every real estate professional learns.  What is that one thing?  It is that there are three factors that determine the value of a property – location, location, and location.

In fairness, real estate people need to earn a living, and the simple fact is, the best locations generally have so few properties for sale, or even for rent, that most real estate agents would starve if most people gave much thought to location.  It’s the “swamp land in Florida, the desert bungalow development 100 miles south of Phoenix, thing,” marketing sells.  That’s why most real estate professionals market a house, not a city, a neighborhood, much less the best location within a neighborhood.

In a global society, a good argument can be made that even the state is important when it comes to location.  A few years ago Nevada “beat out” New Mexico for a Tesla (car battery) plant because Nevada had a much better location, for Tesla.  Nevada was much closer to the Fremont, California, Tesla site.  Nevada had deposits of lithium.

A Map of New Mexico

A Map of New Mexico

It is to New Mexico’s credit that out of 50 states in America, New Mexico was one of the best five locations, according to Tesla.  I agree, but I would even go further.  I was born in Nevada.  I like the state.  But, as a state to live in, even to work in, I like New Mexico better.

I’m not a battery maker.  I like walking and bicycling, and not just cars.  I prefer tablelands and vivid sunsets and cultural tradition over the latest in factories.  I’ve done shift work in factories.  New Mexico doesn’t need more factory shift workers.  California and Nevada are so about cars.  New Mexico is different.  That’s my opinion.  That’s my experience.

Historic Albuquerque

Historic Albuquerque

The first LOCATION is the state that one lives in, or might think about moving to.  The second LOCATION is the city (if one values the life of a city).  The third LOCATION is the neighborhood in the city.

OK, I’m partial.  I live in the Huning Castle neighborhood.  This Website is about the house and property located at 1514 Silver Avenue SW – in NEW MEXICO – in ALBUQUERQUE.

Huning Castle Area Bike Trip

Huning Castle Area Bike Trip

the square foot myth

Going back, the property at 1514 Silver was sold as a house, by the “Albuquerque square foot.” The theory is that generally all houses in Albuquerque are worth about the same depending almost entirely on size.

I paid no premium for the Huning Castle Neighborhood location, so very near downtown, Old Town, Tingley Park and the Bio-Park, and the Zoo. There was no premium for hearing the Zoo lions roar, or seeing the cranes fly above. There was no premium for walkability, or bike-ability.

it’s all a great PLACE

I have friends that live in every area and corner of this great city.  Some live where they do to be close to school or to work.  Some like living in a tract of similar looking, all the same type, new houses or fairly new houses.  Some live where they do because they think “the country club neighborhood” is too snooty, too Anglo, or too expensive.  In the last three respects, they are wrong.

Old saws die hard.  Every STATE, every CITY, every NEIGHBORHOOD should be a match for the people, or person, that lives there.  Any person will be unhappy if he or she would like to be living elsewhere.  So many people would like to live “elsewhere,” meaning a new neighborhood, a new city, a new state.

In this Website I make the case for New Mexico, for Albuquerque, and for Huning Castle specifically.  The quality of life offered by the Huning Castle neighborhood may be among the best kept residential secrets on the planet; perhaps that is changing.

location, location, location

It is 1,634 miles from 1514 Silver to the Everglades (swamplands) in Florida.  It is 420 miles from 1514 Silver to Phoenix, Arizona.  It is 1,020 miles from 1514 Silver to the Tesla plant east of Sparks, Nevada.  It is 1,400 feet (1/4 mile) from 1514 Silver SW to the Albuquerque Country Club oval.

  • To return to HOME, click on 1514 SILVER.COM at the top of this page.
    To explore other MENU options, click on MENU, to the left, and select an option.


Copyright 2017


If one is serious about buying a house, there are many, many questions. The bottom line is there is a whole lot one needs to know before spending the bottom line, which often means top dollar.

The reason for a dedicated house-hunting property web site is that 15 to 25 pictures and one simple floor plan if it’s available, at best, just doesn’t make it in this real world of information highway high tech.

Sure, many people probably think that one quick visit inside a house is enough to make that house a home, provided the property is “priced right” and the nearest neighbors don’t live in permanent derelict dwellings.

we’re different

The bottom line is that we respect you, your interest and questions, your intelligence.

We think you should know everything you want to know, not just what a typical seller or REALTOR® thinks you need to know.


  • We offer you not only a complete floor plan, but a plan of the entire property.
  • We offer detailed pictures, and a floor plan of each and every room.
  • We explain what’s there, what stays, what’s negotiable, and what goes.
  • We want you to know the house and the property “inside and out” before you ever set foot on the property, or even consider making or accepting an offer.
  • We want you to know the neighbors and the neighborhood, what nearby businesses there are, where you might go to buy food.
  • We want this property to be a near perfect match for you, the last thing in the world that we want is for you to just “settle.” We want enthusiasm and joy. After all, this is where you will live.
  • And after everything else we want you be able to reach out to a real estate professional, to be able to get answers to necessary questions, to get guidance about alternatives if this very special house and property is not right for you.

It’s a new way to look at a house and property; it’s a new way to purchase a property.
And please bear with us, we won’t have everything up in a day, so check back as often as you want for as long as you’re interested.

The bottom line is that you have lots of options, and we will be happy to present and explain the options in a property overview.


It’s very simple, just click on what you want to see, or where you want to go based on the active links below.

[*Please be patient, a very recent and previously uncommunicated change in The Greater Albuquerque Association of REALTORS® (GAAR) local rules regarding “Coming Soon” properties has unfortunately delayed the information process that we had carefully planned on. Hopefully there will be a roll-back of this disturbing new rule, unique to Albuquerque. This local rule change is not real estate law, and is not binding on anyone not a registered REALTOR®.

If there isn’t a roll-back, we will forge ahead, without the previously available beneficial services of the REALTOR® association membership. And that’s OK, because maybe it is time for really great changes in the way houses are bought and sold.]


1514 Silver Site Plan.
1514 Silver 1st Floor floor plan.
1514 Silver Basement floor plan.
Huning Castle Addition – Block 15 – platted lots.
Huning Castle Addition – Block 15 – Sanborn Fire map, 1950 era houses.


history of albuquerque land use and zoning

Albuquerque, and what is now the huning castle neighborhood is a very old, and even ancient, place

Land use definition and regulation” existed in Albuquerque long before Coronado traveled through the area in 1540.

The area through which he traveled was used and settled, and had been for thousands of years by people and ‘pueblo’ peoples that had a very simple, yet sophisticated, understanding of the nature of the land, of housing and agriculture, and what it took to maintain sustainability and ensure and allow progress and growth, and at the same time maintain a sense of place, and a reasonable human centeredness and purpose.

The fact that these land use laws were not written, or not written in a way that was easily understandable to an outsider, in no way diminishes the fact that they existed. Any knowledgeable or educated person is aware that in traditional societies land use laws are inherently culturally based, an awareness of the ‘rules’ is inculcated from birth, grows with maturity, often reaching a pinnacle in old age.

Unlike most modern land use and zoning approaches that can be based on greed and competition, the ‘native way’ made rules based on intelligent cooperation, mutual respect, and a disciplined self-restraint. There was a profound consciousness of consequences, intended or not.

The result was land use regulation that transcended the distance between forest and field, dwelling and mountaintop. Distinctions were not made between “semi-natural habitats” and man-made kiva spiritual places. The idea of “certain land cover types” was meaningless in an organized society that constantly viewed everything as “a whole,” and felt connected and united and at peace  with that whole.

Neocolonialism, like colonialism before it, is based on invasion and conquest, the imposition of the will of outsiders on the affairs of a people, the people, already there.

The first Spanish conquest of what is now Albuquerque and New Mexico represented, perhaps more than anything else, the overthrowing and usurpation of existing land use laws. Under the reign of the new occupiers most old land uses became forbidden, as new controls over house and home, public spaces and places, and even rights of trade and travel were suddenly changed.

New roads and byways were built, old ones occupied and re-purposed. Inherent to the new land use laws was the creation of a class-structure that had not existed before. A new society that paid homage to wide wealth differences rapidly replaced one based on more equitable means. In 1607 Santa Fe became the first legal “town” in New Mexico, established pursuant to the Spanish law municipal land use regulations.

During the ‘pueblo revolt‘, starting in 1680, efforts were made to restore the old and original ‘pueblo’ land use laws. These provisions included ‘landscaping’ and ‘agricultural regulations’. The usurpers became the usurped and were driven off the land, but behind them remained a mixed bag of the old and the new land use practices. One hundred and forty years of colonial influence, occupation, and periodic terror had forged a new generation that had substantially forgotten the importance and value of the old ways.

1692 through 1696 is considered the period of the Spanish reconquest of New Mexico. The period is marked by both efforts at reconciliation and astonishing cruelty and brutality. It was a literal war regarding land use supremacy. In the end a great portion of the original native population fled, rather than submit to the new foreign ways and foreign laws involving life style and land use.

On May 29, 1704, Francisco Cuervo y Valdes, was appointed to be Governor of New Mexico. He was not able to reach Santa Fe, from Mexico City, until late April, 1705. When Governor Cuervo arrived in Santa Fe he was informed that an area known as Bosque de Dona Luisa was being threatened by marauding members of the Apache tribe (“Chilmos | West side Apaches, Jilas | Sangre de Cristo Apaches and said faraones | pharoahs”).

His solution was to ask Spanish families to move, in mass, into the area. Thirty-five families responded favorably, and these two hundred and fifty-two persons, an average family size of 7.2 persons, were provided an armed escort of ten men to accompany them to the Bosque de Dona Luisa area.

Bosque de Dona Luisa is the pre-arrival name for the area now known as ‘Old Town‘ in Albuquerque, New Mexico.

Several months later, on a date in 1705 that still goes unrecorded, pursuant to his best recollection of what was proscribed by His Majesty in the Royal Laws of the Recopilación, Book IV, Title VII, Governor Cuervo  founded the ‘town’ of Albuquerque. Pursuant to law the town was a four league tract of land located one league in each direction from the center point of the town. One Spanish league (legua) is equal to approximately 2.6 miles. It is described as the distance a man can walk in one hour.

Hence, the founding of Albuquerque was based on walkability. And since a normal man could not walk on water the Town of Albuquerque Grant was described as covering a tract bounded:

“On the north, by the lands of Diego Montoya; on the east, by the Sandia Mountains; on the south, by the tract of land known as Las Lagunitas; and on the west by the Rio Grande.”

It might be noted that, in this case, the toe of the Sandia Mountains is considered to be just beyond where University Avenue is today. Las Lagunitas is approximately Gibson Boulevard. The lands of Diego Montoya begin near Griegos Road.

The principal land use regulation regarding a Spanish town grant was the necessity of a church. In turn the church was required to be invested with certain objects pursuant to what may be regarded as required code. The church was required to have a dwelling for the Religious Minister, also required pursuant to code were Royal Houses, other houses for settlers, corrals, acequias, and fields for agriculture.

The center of the Town of Albuquerque Grant was considered to be outside of the church grounds, but directly in front of the church. In time a central Town Plaza was laid out, a fence built around it to keep out roaming animals, and a flag pole was erected. The flag pole was situated in the center of the plaza at Old Town, a location now noted as a bandstand. The top of the cupola is where the flagpole once stood, and is the legal, or quasi-legal, center of Albuquerque.

In May of 1883, thirty-seven years after the American occupation, Deputy Surveyor John Shaw, in a preliminary survey found that the Town of Albuquerque Grant covered 17,361.06 acres of land, which included land which was located on the west side of the river that was traditionally considered part of the Town of Atrisco Grant.

The American surveyor disregarded the fundamental basis of the Town of Albuquerque Grant by applying foreign (expert, newcomer) survey practices to a land use properly defined by very obvious walkable realities, i.e. for much of the year one could not walk west across the river.

Unfortunately, the American confusion was not the first peril in establishing an orderly development code for Albuquerque. The first problem was that Governor Cuervo, operating from memory, and not performing adequate research, failed to follow the law that required him to obtain approval of the Viceroy before formally founding a town grant.

Attorney General of New Mexico Juan de Ulibarri had inspected the area, and found that the  suitability (code compliance) of the town-site was sufficient, but Francisco Fernandez de la Cueva Enríquez, Duke of Albuquerque, and thirty-fourth Viceroy of New Spain, had not been properly notified pursuant to law.

On the New Mexico end, the Cabildo of Santa Fe reported the founding of the Villa of Albuquerque to the Council of the Indies on February 23, 1706.  The formation of the new villa was formally certified by Fray Juan Alvarez, Commissary of the Holy Office of the Inquisition, Custodian and Ecclesiastical Judge Ordinary of the Province, in a letter to the Viceroy on April 16, 1706.

And, in a letter to the Viceroy dated April 24, 1706 Governor Cuervo, after six to eight months of delay, finally informed the Vicroy that the establishment of the Town of Albuquerque Grant was, in modern parlance, “a done deal:”

“the Villa of Albuquerque. is in a good site, keeping in mind what is proscribed by His Majesty in his Royal Laws of the Recopilación, Book IV, Title VII, and there are now thirty-five families settled there, comprising 252 persons, large and small.”

Two days later, Governor Cuervo sent a larger and more formal report to the Viceroy in an effort to justify his precipitous action in the founding of the Villa of Albuquerque.

On April 26, 1706, he wrote:

“And so, enjoying this peace and the happy time offered by the truces, as well as enjoying the experience which I have acquired in this kingdom, wishing that it be more extended, I ordered that one of the best sites of the Rio del Norte (the real name for Rio Grande) be peopled, below the posts of Bernalillo and Alameda. This place was inspected by the said General Juan de Ulibarri, Sargeant Major Procurador General and Rexedor of this Kingdom. He found it to be the most fitting and convenient of all places for the establishment of people and a new villa. Having publicized it, many families of the other jurisdictions offered themselves to go there, carrying at least some large and small cattle. For their security, I decided that a group of ten soldiers of this presidio should go in a squad with their families to escort and guard them, because the place is the main frontier of the barbarous nations of the Chilmos, Jilas and said faraones. The command of the troop was given to a commander with full military experience. I do not doubt, very Excellent Lord, that in a short time this will be the most prosperous Villa for its growth of cattle and abundance of grains, because of its great fertility and for having given to it, the spiritual and temporal things, the patron saints that I have chosen, namely the very glorious apostle of the Indies, San Francisco Xavier, and Your Excellency, with those names the town has been entitled Villa of Albuquerque de San Francisco Xavier del bosque. The Villa was sworn, taking into account the things ordered by His Majesty in his royal laws of the seventh title, fourth book of the Recopilación. There have been settled thirty-five families and within them two hundred and fifty-two persons. The church has been finished and is quite large. Also, part of the dwelling of the religious minister has been finished, and also the other houses of the inhabitants, with their corrals and irrigation ditches flowing. Everything has been done with good will, to the liking, and to the relief and convenience of the said inhabitants.”

The letter speaks for itself. The Governor is ebullient in his flattery, false representations, and efforts at emphasis of what he did right, ignoring the fundamental wrong of not asking permission before the establishment of the new (really not legal) community. No modern bureaucrat or politician could do more, or massage it better.

The controlling law regarding land use regulations, Recopilación de los Leyes de las Indias, authorized town grants of four square leagues of land provided that:

  • not less than thirty white (non-native) persons settle.
    Note: The Governor had incorrectly understood this to mean families, not individuals.
  • the new town grant be not less than five leagues from any other such settlement and be not in prejudice to the interest of any Indian Pueblo.
  • the seventh law of this book provided that, when it was proposed to form a settlement or community of not less than ten white persons, the necessary extent of territory should be granted them.
    Note: This “seventh law” well illustrates that contradictory land use code provisions are often de facto to land use codes. The first requirement is “30” people, the seventh requirement states that if there are “10” people the grant should be granted.

The Viceroy’s attorney, Jose Antonio de Espinosa, was asked by the Viceroy to look into the whole Albuquerque affair. In a report dated July 25, 1706, attorney, Jose Antonio de Espinosa stated:

Governor Cuervo says he founded a villa which he called Albuquerque, which lacks a bell, ornament, chalice, vinegar cruets and albas. And, although before founding it, he should have consulted Your Excellency, however, since it is already founded, and since it is evident from the autos that he has been successful in the government, his action can be permitted and order can be given so that he may he helped with the ornaments and other things which the royal law grants once to the new towns, and orders the said governor not to build any other town.

On July 30, 1706, the Royal Audiencia in Mexico City approved the founding of the Villa of Albuquerque, with conditions, and resolved to provide church furnishings as required by code. Inasmuch as there was before the Royal Audiencia a royal decree ordering that a villa be founded in the name of San Felipe, the patron saint of King Philip V, the Audiencia ordered that the Villa of Albuquerque be renamed in compliance with the royal decree. As a conse­quence, the villa was renamed San Felipe de Albuquerque.

The Resolution of the Audiencia states:

“On the fourth point in which the said Governor refers to having … founded a Villa which he called Albuquerque, and that it has no bell, altar furniture, chalice, nor vessels: It was unanimously resolved that as it is already founded it shall be aided as a favor, and that there shall be sent to it on the first opportunity the bell, altar furniture, chalice and vessels as asked for, this assignment being in accordance with the royal law for new settlements, and he being ordered not to make others without informing His Excellency, and consulting with him in regard to his reasons for the same, in order that he may send him orders as to what he shall do, His Excellency adding that as he has a royal order that a villa shall be founded with the name of San Felipe in memory of his royal Majesty, the said Governor is ordered to call it so for the future and that this resolution be recorded in the archives of the Villa of Santa Fe.”

On July 12, 1846, a little more than a month prior to U.S. General Stephen Watts Kearny’s conquest of New Mexico, German born botanist, Friedrich Adolph Wislizenus passed through the town, and described San Felipe de Albuquerque as follows:

San Felipe de Albuquerque is a town as large as Santa Fe, stretched for several miles along the left bank of the Rio del Norte, and if not a handsomer, is at least not a worse looking place than the capital .… The country around Albuquerque appears to be well cultivated. Though the soil is sandy, and apparently not fertile, by irrigation they produce abundant crops, often twice a year …. The fields are without fences. A canal by which water from the river is led into the plain, provides by its ramifications (elevated ditch banks) the whole cultivated ground with the means of irrigation.”

Note: The code expectation that town fields be fenced was not being complied with. The result was the unnecessary burden of building a municipal fence around the central plaza to control the unlawfully roaming random animals from interfering with the quiet enjoyment of the central municipal public place.

U.S. General Stephen Watts Kearny, with a hand full of fellow officers, and the rather rag-tag ‘Mormon Battalion‘, that often included accompanying wives and children, “conquered” New Mexico without so much as a fight. The ‘Batallion’ walked into Santa Fe, stayed for awhile, then moved on, first south, then west, on the road to California, in the days when there really was no road to California.

Left in the wake of the new occupation of New Mexico by yet another foreign power was, once again, the issue of permissible land use.

The rights and responsibilities, sometimes concommittal (not committing, not revealing the purpose), to the use of land in San Felipe de Albuquerque, in New Mexico, in fact in the whole of the newly ceded territories, were not limited to the laws regarding town grants.

The Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo (Tratado de Guadalupe Hidalgo), officially entitled the Treaty of Peace, Friendship, Limits and Settlement between the United States of America and the Mexican Republic, was not finalized and signed until February 2, 1848, after long and difficult negotiations.

Articles VIII and IX of the U.S. Senate approved treaty ensured safety of existing property rights of Mexican citizens living in the transferred territories.

Pursuant to the treaty an Act to Establish the Offices of Surveyor General of New Mexico, Kansas, and Nebraska, to grant donations to actual settlers therein, and for other purposes, Chap. 103, Sec. 8, 10 Stat. 308 (1854) was passed by the the United States Congress on July 22, 1854.

The last clause of Section 8 of the Act, reserved all lands covered by a pending claim from sale or other disposal by the government until final action on the claim was taken by Congress.

Since the entire area of the Town of Albuquerque Grant  was in dispute, for various reasons, the land use issues and land rights awaited final disposition pursuant to Acts of Congress.

In April, 1881, the New Mexico and Southern Pacific Railroad, a subsidiary of the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad, reached its division point in the E/2 of Section 20, Township 10 North, Range 3 East, N.M.P.M.

This point was located about a mile and a half southeast of the original Town of Albuquerque, within the Town of Albuquerque Grant.

A new settlement began to develop around its shops, which soon became the business district of the present City of Albuquerque.

Demands for clear land titles prompted Ambrosio Armijo and nine others, designated as President and Commissioners of the City, to petition U.S. Surveyor General Henry M. Atkinson, on July 25, 1881:

“for themselves and on behalf of the divers other persons who occupied certain lots and plots of land lying within a four league tract of land, located one league in each direction from the flag pole situated in the center of the plaza at Old Town, to petition Surveyor General Henry M. Atkinson for the confirmation of the concession, which commonly was known as the Town of Albuquerque Grant, to the heirs, successors, and legal representatives of its original inhabitants.”

“while the petitioners were unable to locate the instrumento de fundicion of the villa, it was well known historically, and conceded by all persons, to have been in existence for at least one hundred and seventy-five years.”

The ‘President and Commissioners of the City’ filed a number of documents from Archives which made references to such a grant. They also showed that Albuquerque was one of the most populous and politically important settlements in New Mexico, and, therefore, it could be presumed that it had received a grant by operation of law, under Book IV, Title 5, Law 6 of the Recopilación de Los Leyes de los Indias.

Oral testimony also was introduced showing that the town was in existence prior to and at the time the United States acquired jurisdiction over New Mexico.

Researchers have diligently searched for the instrumento de fundicion of San Felipe de Albuquerque in the United States, Mexico and Spain for years. Lansing B. Bloom has stated that it “seems to be lost beyond any hope of recovery.”
[Bloom, “Albuquerque and Galisteo, Certificate of Their Founding, 1706,” X New Mexico Historical Review 49 (1935).]

On September 5, 1882, U.S. Surveyor General Henry M. Atkinson, in Opinion 14, stated:

“I have no doubt that a grant originally existed to this town, as the numerous documents on file in this office suggest, a portion of which are referred to in the petition of claimants bear evidence of the fact in their reference to the same, and the records of the office as well as the testimony taken in the case clearly establish the fact that the town was in existence in 1846 and 1854.

The instructions of the Commissioner of the General Land Office to the Surveyor General of August 21, 1854, set forth in substance that, where proof is made of the existence of a town at the period when the United States took possession it may be considered prima facie evidence of the existence of a grant to such town and to the individuals under whom the lot-holders claim.

In view of all the facts, I am of the opinion that the inhabitants of the town of Albuquerque have a just and lawful claim for the land petitioned for, and I approve to the inhabitants of said town the claim for four square leagues having the center of the flagstaff and adobe monument surrounding the same in the middle of the main plaza or square about the center of the old town of Albuquerque as the center of said tract, unless it may be subsequently shown that the mutual point is elsewhere, and having as its exterior boundaries north and south and east and west lines through the respective termini of lines one Spanish league in each direction north, south, east and west, from the central point.

 The prayer of the petitioners that the grant be approved to the heirs, successors, and legal representatives of the original settlers or grantees cannot be granted, as no evidence of title appears in any specific individuals, but the inhabitants of the town are by operations of the laws and instructions cited entitled to the grant.

The claim is hereby approved and recommended for confirmation by Congress to the inhabitants of the Town of Albuquerque.”

De Witte Stearns and Thomas G. Douglas, were honorably discharged soldiers. Each attempted to locate a soldier’s homestead upon a vacant portion of the grant. These applications respectively covered the NE/4 of Section 20, Township 10 North, Range 3 East, N.M.P.M.

Their homestead applications were rejected on the ground that the land had been withdrawn during the pendency of the adjudication of the Town of Albuquerque Grant.

They petitioned for a land use rehearing on December 8, 1882, in which they pointed out that the lands in question were sandy, sterile, and had not been used by the inhabitants of Albuquerque prior to the coming of the railroad. They alleged that:

“since there never had been an actual grant to the town and there could he no grant by operation of law insofar as the lands in question were concerned, since such lands were within five leagues of the Town of Pajarito Grant, which was older than Albuquerque, such lands were vacant and should not have been withdrawn from entry.”

Surveyor General Henry M. Atkinson rejected their petition on December 15, 1882, stating that Spanish law authorized a four league grant to towns, and, under the instructions to his office dated August 21, 1854, he was directed to take the existence of a town prior to the acquisition of New Mexico as prima facie evidence of a grant to it.

In connection with their allegation that the existence of an older town, within a distance of five leagues of San Felipe de Albuquerque, Atkinson held that:

“since the Town of Pajarito had not presented a claim, he could not take cognizance of its grant.”

Atkinson also noted that the last clause of Section 8 of the Act of July 22, 1854 reserved all lands covered by a pending claim from sale or other disposal by the government until final action on the claim was taken by Congress. Therefore, he denied their request to reopen the case.

This decision was appealed to the Commissioner of the General Land Office.

On July 10, 1883, N. C. McFarland, Commissioner of the General Land Office, dismissed the appeal on the ground that there was no provision under law for a direct appeal from a report of the Surveyor General to Congress on a private land claim.

On March 8, 1892, since Congress had not acted upon the claim prior to the creation of the Court of Private Land Claims, the City of Albuquerque, a municipal corporation, and so-called “successors in interest” to the Villa of Albuquerque (sic) (avoiding the lawful term San Felipe de Albuquerque), filed suit against the United States in the newly created Court of Private Land Claims:

“seeking the confirmation of a four square league tract of land which its predecessor, the Villa of Albuquerque, allegedly had acquired by operation of law.”

The government, in its answer, denied the existence of an implied grant on the ground that Spanish law did not authorize the granting of land to a town or villa which was within four leagues of another town. It noted that there were a number of older towns and a pueblo within that distance.

On April 25, 1892, the case came up for trial, and the court, on the same day, confirmed the claim to the city in trust for the use and benefit of its owners on the ground that the city was entitled to a four square league tract as a matter of law.

The decree expressly provided that the confirmation was not to prejudice the rights of the Town of Atrisco to any lands within the grant lying west of the river.

The government appealed the decision to the United States Supreme Court, which, in a decision dated October 17, 1898, reversed the Court of Private Land Claims’ decision on authority of its decision in the Santa Fe case and remanded the claim for further proceedings. The Supreme Court in the Santa Fe case rejected the theory that Spanish law proprio vigore conferred upon every Spanish villa or town a grant of four square leagues of land.

Following the reversal of the decision of the Court of Private Land Claims, further proceedings were initiated in that Court by the City of Albuquerque, assuring that a grant had been made to the Villa in 1705 by Governor Cuervo covering a tract bounded:

“On the north, by the lands of Diego Montoya; on the east, by the Sandia Mountains; on the south, by the tract of land known as Las Lagunitas; and on the west by the Rio Grande.”

The quasi-legal (since it was based on land in dispute) ‘City of Albuquerque’ has now reversed course, and is claiming the “walkable definition” that precluded the issue involving the surveyor’s decision that involved the Town of Atrisco Grant.

The situation is now further complicated by the realization that established Pueblo(s) also existed prior to the Town of Albuquerque Grant that would have made, do to their proximity, the establishment of ‘Albuquerque’ (sic) illegal pursuant to applicable land use law, law sustained by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

The city asserted that the grant papers had been lost or destroyed, and, in an effort to account for their loss, noted that in 1727 Martin Hurtado, Alcalde of the Villa of Albuquerque, could not produce the instrument when Governor Juan Domingo de Bustamante asked to see it in connection with an investigation he was conducting in connection with certain charges against Hurtado that he had allegedly made three local land grants within the Town of Albuquerque Grant without consulting the Villa.

On February 18, 1901, before any further action was taken in the suit before the Court of Private Land Claims, Congress, confirmed the grant in trust to the City of Albuquerque. The proceedings before the Court of Private Land Claims were dismissed on July 9, 1901.

The issue of whether Congress acted in error, or in violation of the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo has never been settled. The issue regarding the extent of the grant “to Atrisco” has never been settled. The issue of what “in trust” means, regarding land use within the grant has never been settled.

The issue of the violation of native American (Pueblo peoples) rights regarding the very establishment of ‘Albuquerque’ has never been settled. The issue of reparations for the apparent unlawful “taking” of Pueblo lands has not been settled.

The actual property rights, and land use rights of heirs in interest that live in the Huning Castle Neighborhood pursuant to the neighborhoods inclusion in the Town of Albuquerque Grant has not been settled.

The rights of heirs or assigns to legal proceedings based upon protected rights regarding legal proceedings, as they pertain to property use and property rights has NEVER been addressed or settled. The simple fact is that the wrongfully imposed “common law” provisions of the American court system do not comport with the Spanish law traditions mandated, or clearly implied, by the Treaty of Guadalupe Hidalgo.

In 1928, the Albuquerque City Commission proposed a zoning code to regulate land uses in Albuquerque, pursuant to the pending Huning Castle Addition subdivision residential project. This proposal was never adopted into law, resulting in the adoption of Huning Castle Addition property covenants as an alternative method in which to specify allowable land and property use.

The City of Albuquerque first established a zoning ordinance in 1953. However, the legaility of the ordinance was successfully challenged in court, and the ordinance was determined to be invalid.

On March 27, 1959, fifty-eight (58) years ago, Albuquerque adopted its first valid zoning ordinance.

In 1965, a new zoning ordinance was adopted that completely replaced the 1959 zoning code ordinance. This new 1965 zoning ordinance adopted, for the first time, parking requirements, but only for new buildings.

The term Comprehensive City Zoning Code dates from the mid-1970’s; the term was not used before that time.

Since the adoption of the Comprehensive City Zoning Code the code has been amended.

In 1975 a significant revision of the Comprehensive City Zoning Code was initiated. The revisions were published in an edition dated January 1, 1976.

Six new zone categories were added, and for the first time, signs became regulated city wide. Landscaping requirements were imposed on non-single family developments, and usable open-space was required for multi-family developments.

A 1994 revision of the zoning code laid the groundwork for removing the Preface from the zoning code. Ten (10) pages of illustrative maps were reduced to just six (6) pages.

The February 2013 edition of the zoning code was the last edition to be available in a hard-copy format. This edition still contained the Preface, and a very useful 2 page Index.

The May 1, 2014, online “Mayor Berry” version of the zoning code eliminated the Index.

The term Integrated Development Ordinance (circa 2015) introduces the word “Development” into the zoning code, implying that the purpose of the code is to develop properties rather than to protect and maintain them.

In September of 2017, in a bill before the Albuquerque City Council, it is proposed that both the Comprehensive City Zoning Code and the various city sector plans be eliminated. These documents would be replaced by a 500 page Integrated Development Ordinance / IDO that contains no Preface, no Index, and no legal citations. Final passage of the IDO is expected in November of 2017.

Corrections, additions and/or comments are welcome. Please email cityofnikko@gmail.com

Please refer to MENU for more information pertinent to copyright notification and additional website content.

Snowtime in Huning

let it snow!

It’s a bit cold in Albuquerque tonight.  It’s 9:00 PM and it is fourteen degrees (Fahrenheit) out there, not “in here”.  In here, at 1514 Silver, there is a nice fire burning in the wood burning stove, a dark enameled cast iron affair with “see through” glass doors.  The house is warm.  The fire ads a soft glow.  All is well, or seems well, in the world.

What is better than a cat by the fire?

What is better than a cat by the fire?

Anyway, it’s a nice opportunity to scroll through the archives, the photo archives, and post a few of the pictures taken over the years of this house in the snow.  Oh yes, it IS supposed to snow on New Year’s Eve here, and maybe on New Year’s Day too.  I think I hear Bing Crosby singing Auld Lang Syne out there, somewhere.  It’s a bit early perhaps, a day early, or a few hours early.  It’s better to be early than late.

Let it snow!

Let it snow!

Outside, in the front of the house is a round elevated planter made of brick.  It is like an outlier to the three similar planters that can be found in Oxnard Park, across the street.  The planter was planned this way, to visually, and symbolically, connect the park to the property.

The front planter in snow

The front planter in snow

Early or late, there is always a wood pile if one wants to burn wood.  This year the wood pile is under the very wide eves on the west side of the house.  As you can see from the picture, the wood stack has sometimes been closer to the door in the front.

The optional front wood pile

The optional front wood pile

In the spring, summer, and fall the practice has been to have a table and chairs in the outside front seating area.  If the wood pile isn’t there, the table and chairs “winter over.”

Table and chairs in the front sitting area

Table and chairs in the front sitting area

Much of the property is surrounded by walls, mostly brick walls.  The original walls were built circa 1938, the higher walls being on the sides of the house and in the back.  A low wall on the east side was replaced by a higher wall and a gate, an arched gate, with a nice brick archway that is wonderful to walk through.  Here it is opened (to the snow), so that the snow can get in, maybe.

The North Gate on the east side

The North Gate on the east side

In the front of the house is a sitting area covered with wisteria on a trellis above.  Maybe it is more the ramada.  Anyway, the front of this area has a rounded, pillared, porch portico.  It’s like the prow of a ship in some ways, perhaps a ship in the desert, but there are too many trees around and too much grass to look like a desert.  In this picture all you can see is the snow.

The wisteria porch in winter

The wisteria porch in winter

first storm of the fall season

new mexico weather – November 16, 2014

remnants of Pacific Ocean storm Nuri

Source:  National Weather Service, Web, and Press Reports

A storm passed through New Mexico on this date, bringing snow to much of the state.  Temperatures were in the single digits in some areas.

Highs in Albuquerque were in the upper-30s to mid-40s, they were in the upper teens and 20s at night.  7 inches of snow were reported in parts of Torrance County.    Moriarty received up to 7 inches, Clines Corners received 3 inches.

Torrence County

Torrence County

The New Mexico Department of Transportation reported a multi-vehicle wreck on snow-packed Interstate 40 near Clines Corners shortly before noon on Sunday.  I-40 traffic backed up for miles in both directions in eastern Torrance County until late Sunday afternoon, with semi-tractor trailers disabled on the roadsides.

Angel Fire, in Colfax County, received 15 inches of snow.

Record-low temperatures in the single digits were forecast for this morning in some areas of northern and eastern New Mexico, including Las Vegas, Moriarty, Tucumcari and Fort Sumner.

The storm ended late Sunday, no significant snowfall is expected through the remainder of the week.  The state will experience a warming trend by mid-week.  Albuquerque and areas west of the Rio Grande should see high temperatures in the mid-50s with lows in the mid-30s, a return to near-normal temperatures.

Note:  This is a weather summary.  Please consult actual weather records for relevant locations and dates for specific information.

  • To return to HOME, click on 1514 SILVER.COM at the top of this page.
    To explore other MENU options, click on MENU, to the left, and select an option.

christmas de los caballos parade

corrales, New mexico

november 16, 2014


The 11th annual Christmas de los Caballos parade features as many as 200 horses and carriages each year.  The event is held in Corrales, New Mexico to benefit the United States Marine Corps “Toys for Tots” Christmas giving campaign.

  • To return to HOME, click on 1514 SILVER.COM at the top of this page.
    To explore other MENU options, click on MENU, to the left, and select an option.