1514 Silver.com

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

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A property for all seasons

ANYONE can buy or builD a house –

A great property must evolve

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Copyright 2017

history and connecting is important in the huning castle neighborhood

A SIMPLE 300 YEAR PROPERTY HISTORY

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.

THE LANGS

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.

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

 

Location, 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.

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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.


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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.

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christmas de los caballos parade

corrales, New mexico

november 16, 2014

sunday

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.

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La placita restaurant dining rooms

It is probably less than 4,500 feet “door-to-door” from 1514 Silver SW to the La Placita.  There were other restaurants serving the Huning Castle neighborhood in 1930 when the neighborhood was getting started, but the La Placita Dining Rooms were probably the oldest and largest.   The old Armijo house (built in 1706), facing on the old Old Town Square, was converted from being an old house to an old restaurant, or more specifically, dining rooms.

In time, even Duncan Hines approved it.  It is a myth that Duncan Hines approved any restaurant that gave him free food, he didn’t.

La Placita kiva in fall and in winter

La Placita kiva in fall and in winter

Eating Mexican food, or more properly New Mexican food, in any place that doesn’t have two-foot thick ancient adobe walls, huge thick vigas, brick and/or saltillo tile floors, a kiva fireplace that is actually used, and a bit of art on the walls, is wrong, or probably wrong.  It is a worse offense than saying “neither”, when you are asked by the server “red or green?”  It’s like having sopapillas without honey.

A bit of history

A bit of history

“Atmosphere” is such a misnomer.  “La Placita” means “the square, the place where the community meets”, and like LOCATION, the place is everything.  Patio dining is everything too, and that’s why a restaurant without outdoor eating is just a dining room at best.  A good restaurant needs dining rooms, plural, hence the tree.  OK, the tree is obviously older than the dining room, so the “tree” dining room was obviously once a patio, an inner courtyard, a safe place offering quiet and serenity.  That’s what makes the La Placita timeless and famous, it’s removed from the hustle and bustle of Route 66 and the traffic and often the tourists.  It’s a neighborhood restaurant, no more than a friendly, fairly short walk away.

The famous dining room tree at La Placita in Albuquerque's Old Town

The famous dining room tree at La Placita in Albuquerque’s Old Town

Oh sure, there are lots of more modern, more plastic-fantastic, more novel places to eat New Mexican food.  Some other places have more color, more noise, even more artwork maybe.  But La Placita, for over 80 years, has set the tone and the style for stylish eating in Albuquerque; meaning “stylish” your way, not the New York way, Paris way, or London way.   Those other cities are so way out of town, and so far away from the casual dining opportunities in Albuquerque.  It’s not just a life style, it is more a tradition.

Another tradition at the La Placita restaurant site is the Indian jewelry vendor market.  Crafts men and crafts women sit under the Placita’s portico with their wares spread out on a blanket in front of them.  Each space is allotted by lottery.  It is the only space and place where the traditional “open and free” “Indian Market” method of marketing still exists on a daily basis.

A free market place in Albuquerque

A free market place in Albuquerque

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Halloween in Huning

How “All Hallows’ Evening,” evolved into the great American candy fest is anyone’s guess.  But Halloween in the Huning Castle neighborhood is not just about candy, costumes, and candles in pumpkins.  It is so much more.

Huning Castle - large cat

Huning Castle – large cat

Maybe it is more about the myth that the neighborhood was built on a swamp that makes the place attractively spooky – but the neighborhood is not spooky; it feels friendly and safe, safe for families and kids.

I guess it goes back to the great depression.  Money was scarce in Albuquerque back then, in many or most neighborhoods.  There was little money for food, much less candy and costumes and candles in pumpkins.  Then, it was more the saints that mattered, the observing and the remembering of the dead, the departed, those that went before.

Another Huning spider

Another Huning spider

Trick or treating can be a real bummer in a poor neighborhood.  People there might pass out pennies, not dimes – certainly not dollars.  One might get a cookie, not real “store bought” candy.  A door might not even open when you knock, even when it is your neighbor next door .  There is no name for “Scrooge” at Halloween, that’s what “Tricks” are for, if one is tricky.

It wasn’t too tricky to figure out that in the Huning Castle neighborhood most people seemed to be doing better.  Doors opened there.  People could afford pumpkins and candles and candy and were happy to share, there.  Word spread.  Stories were told at recess in school, at family meals; Huning Castle became the talk of the town; people seemed almost like saints there, kind and generous maybe.

Happy in Huning

Happy in Huning

They came by streetcars back then.  Some children just walked.  The parents or grand-parents came too.  Huning Castle neighborhood residents didn’t mind, it was a model community and sharing was a good model of behavior.  Anyway, the kids seemed to be having so much fun and that too made the elders a bit happy.

Now Halloween in Huning is often a multi-generation tradition.  Kids come from all over Albuquerque.  Parents bring groups in that operate candy command centers out of RV’s.  Older kids without costumes hold out their bags, it’s a tradition of sorts.

Costumes are more affordable now, and the Huning neighborhood certainly gets and sees their share.  Pumpkins are plentiful.  Candles have lost favor, string lights of ghosts and goblins are the new fare, it’s only fair.

The Sheila Garcia house at Halloween

The Sheila Garcia house at Halloween

So really, it IS quite, “over the top.”  The weather is almost always perfect.  People stand patiently in line at the “better” houses.  Conversation flows.  There is no “edge” to the the madness, no tricks, no trickery.  It’s more like a celebration of life than an eve for the dead.

And on All Saints Day, November 1st, the only dead thing around are the occasional wrappers from all ready eaten candy.   It’s a small price to pay for a free party this good.

 

sale of the century

albuquerque, New mexico

October 24 – 25, 2014

Friday, saturday

Distinctions blur between an advertised “Estate Sale”, “Estate Auction”, and “Garage Sale” (“Tag Sale”, for those from the east).  It’s often more about form, than stuff.

the estate auction

We’ve all seen the ads for Estate Auctions that offer Picassos, jewelry, guns, cars, European furniture, cut crystal, art, pianos, oriental rugs, lead glass lamps, signed sports memorabilia, billiard tables, and mid-century modern collectible pieces –  maybe even a Van Gogh or two.  These “auctions” are usually held in a vacant 5,000 square foot house (“mansion”), that it just so happens is also for sale.

Of course these “sales” have nothing to do with the possessions of the owners who dwell (dwelled) there.  All the stuff is trucked in, the cars are trucked in, everything is carefully setup and staged.  The event is like Hollywood viral.  It appeals to Hollywood tastes and Hollywood values and the Hollywood illusion that you can get it all if you just have enough money.  One of these “auctions” is one too many – they are not, “the real deal.”

the garage sale

The typical Garage Sale is a typical affair.  Worn clothes, worn tools, worn or worn out goods that were bought as mistakes to begin with mark the typical wares and discards of the national penchant of consumerism.  Only economic need keeps most garage sale stuff from being donated to a thrift store; that, and the thrift of recycling or repurposing stuff from someone that doesn’t need it to someone that does, with the thrill of, “money changing hands” as the process.  Been there, done that.  Who hasn’t?

the estate sale

The Estate Sale is supposed to be different.  The theory is someone actually died and left an estate, not just real estate.  The reality is that (like estate auctions) much of the stuff is trucked in, it is the flotsam and jetsam and detritus of earlier estate sales where less than everything was sold, and the company selling the stuff is not inclined to give anything away, ever.

Peggy

Peggy Cavett-Walden was just “Peggy” to her friends.  She lived in the Huning Castle neighborhood.  She lived in her house at 1605 Park Avenue, a two-story house on a double lot.  She was from Austin originally, she was an architect.  She was also an artist, a teacher, a writer, a researcher, a story-teller, a traveler, a conversationalist, and most importantly perhaps, a philanthropist.

She inherited a 12 foot tall four-poster bed once used in the family home in New Orleans.  It required a house with at least a 14 foot bedroom ceiling.  She designed and had built a semi-attached “Cassita” on her double lot just to accom0date this bed.  That was Peggy.  That was just one, “Peggy story.”

About the same time as she built her “bed house”, she also built a storage room (not a “shed”) for her Snow Babies collection and a few other collections she had.  She had maybe 1,000 Snow Babies, all different, most in the original boxes.

Peggy was never a mother, never had children.  She did quarter and entertain hundreds of exchange students during her life.  They were her children perhaps, perhaps they were more like just friends.  Peggy wrote lots of letters.

Peggy’s collections

Peggy was not just a consumer, she was a collector.  Peggy didn’t buy just one or two of something, she bought one or two dozen.  Peggy loved to cook and to entertain and to show off her collections.  If a decorative plate or platter was good enough for her favorite guest, it was good enough for every guest, so she did not buy one piece or one place-setting, she would buy a whole set.

Every party was different, every dinner party, every buffet.  Every time a new collection would emerge and be put on display.  Peggy would talk, everyone else most likely would listen.

Christmas was a favorite theme of Peggy.  She also loved Easter, the bunnies and all, mostly.  She also loved China; the country, the porcelaine, the plates – everything China.  She collected Kimonos.

Her wooden jumping jacks ornament collection was world class.  She had maybe 1,000 of them, all different, maybe less, maybe more.  She collected Chinese roof tiles, the collectible ones with the animal motifs.  She had a stuffed animal cat, not a real one.  It lived in the living room and always looked real, always curled up near her over-stuffed divan.

the sale of the century

Not all “garage sales” or estate sales in the Huning Castle neighborhood are as grand or as interesting as the sale at Peggy’s.  When Peggy died she left her stuff, her collections, to the financial benefit of the Albuquerque Community Foundation.  Just about Everything.

An estate sale company was retained, it took ten people two weeks just to price all the stuff.  Eight or ten hour days, and that was just for the Estate Sale “Act 1“.  A picture is worth a thousand words, it is said.  A thousand pictures of the sale items would leave anyone speechless.  Act 1 is over now, the marked prices were fair, sometimes a real deal.  Hundreds walked away with a, “piece of Peggy,” a piece of her life, a garage sale find.  Sometimes some new stuff (new to you) can make life better, and can help the community too.  Maybe two-thirds of the Act 1 merchandise wasn’t sold.  Part will be there for Act 2, part was given away to other charities.   Peggy wanted it this way, and the neighborhood and Albuquerque are richer for it.

location, location, location

It is about 400 feet from 1514 Silver SW to “Peggy’s house” at 1605 Park Avenue SW.  It is about 3,000 feet (2/3 of a mile) from 1514 Silver SW to the Albuquerque Community Foundation office at 624 Tijeras Avenue NW.

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