History Matrix
  - Sources
History of...
  - Ballooning
  - Civil War in Albuquerque
  - Land Grants
  - Neighborhoods
  - Place Names
  - Sports
  - Railroad Boom
  - New Deal Economy
  - Modern Economy
  - City History
  - Cultural History
  - Recommended Books
  - Task Force
U.S. Territorial Architecture
U.S. Territorial Architecture, 1846-1912

With annexation and the arrival of Army personnel and other Americans, including settlers, miners and tradesmen, New Mexico came out of its isolation, and new influences could be seen. In addition, Indian raids began to abate and then stop in the 1880s.

When buildings no longer had to be small forts, home building changed. Gone was the plaza, replaced by the front porch. And two-story houses began to appear. Houses were no longer a string of rooms but several rooms deep and wide. Brick and wood were increasingly used, and the wooden floor replaced packed earth.

Greek revival architectural style, popular on the East Coast by the 1820s, was introduced several decades later in New Mexico. By combining the native Spanish Pueblo style with the Greek revival, the Territorial style was born. New Mexicans found that a brick cap protected an adobe wall and kept it from melting. To their adobe buildings they also added narrow windows at the sides of the entry doors, big casement windows, wooden moldings and Greek revival elements. But roofs remained flat.

When the Bishop Lamy arrived in 1851, he and his priests didn’t care for New Mexico’s mud churches or its traditional art. They razed some churches and built new brick, Gothic style churches in other towns. Albuquerque’s San Felipe church was spared. It did get some wooden trim on the towers to create Gothic shapes.

With the coming of the railroad in 1880, newcomers arrived with their favorite architectural styles and by 1900, a whole range of styles appeared. It had taken decades for them to be introduced elsewhere, but with a diverse population, easy transportation of building materials, and knowledge of designs, these imported styles changed Albuquerque’s built environment. Suddenly Albuquerque had sections of town that resembled the East or MidWest.

Long-time merchant Mariano Armijo was one who embraced the changes, when he decided it was time for Albuquerque to have its first elegant hotel. In 1882 he chose to build in New Town, which had sprouted along the railroad tracks, rather than on the plaza in Old Town. And he turned away from traditional adobe architecture to construct the three-story Armijo House with a distinctive Mansard roof. (The building, at Third and Railroad Avenue burned in 1897.)

Similarly, merchant Franz Huning in 1884 built a 14-room mansion of terrones (sod), a traditional material. But the Italian-style Castle Huning was faced with wooden paneling and painted to resemble brick. (Castle Huning, at Railroad Avenue and Fifteenth Street, was torn down in 1955.)

Much of the new building in New Town was of brownstone, mimicking styles popular in the east. As the 1900s approached, the Spanish Pueblo and Territorial styles were disappearing.

William G. Tight and Pueblo Revival
The tide began to turn when William G. Tight became president of UNM in 1901.
The university’s first buildings, University Hall (now Hodgin Hall) and Hadley Hall, were Richardson Romanesque structures of brick and sandstone – typical buildings for a Midwestern campus.

Tight, an easterner, was captivated by Pueblo architecture and culture. He frequently visited area pueblos with camera and sketchpad and began to incubate his concept for a distinctive type of architecture for the university. Local buildings, he said, should reflect local culture.

Tight determined to “pueblo-ize” University and Hadley halls. Workers removed the steep roof and the fourth floor of Hodgin, along with gables, cornices and chimneys. The buildings gained vigas, pillars and balconies. Stucco covered the brick.

Faculty and students liked the new look, but Albuquerque residents didn’t. The public uproar prompted the Board of Regents to find an excuse to fire him in 1909.


  ©2008 All rights reserved