The Vista Larga Residential Historic District: the Post World War II Suburbanization of ABQ’s East Mesa

Photo of custom house in Vista Largo Subdivision

Contemporary-style Ranch House built in 1954 within the Vista Larga Subdivision.

On Sunday, November 20, 2016, at 2:00 pm, speaker Bill Dodge will describe how the empty East Mesa became home to thousands of houses. His talk will include the unique Vista Larga neighborhood just south of Indian School Rd. and east of the UNM Golf Course.

The end of WW II saw the growth of Kirtland Air Force Base and beginnings of Sandia National Laboratories. Thousands of new residents needed housing, schools and services. That led to the explosive growth of Albuquerque’s east side when the boundary of Albuquerque started moving east from Girard and Carlisle as one subdivision after another was filled in with residential construction. The Albuquerque Public Schools built dozens of schools for all the new children. Every type of business was constructed along streets like Lomas and Menaul. Many subdivisions like Bel-Air near Candelaria and Carlisle were “cookie-cutter” duplications of small houses. Others like the Vista Larga neighborhood east of the UNM Golf Course represented unique, one-of-a kind homes.

The program will be held at the Albuquerque Museum in Old Town. Parking is free in the lot south of the Museum. Admission to the Museum and the AHS program is also free.

Photo of William DodgeBill Dodge, a recently retired cultural historian, has worked in both the private and public sector on a variety of historic preservation projects. For the City of Albuquerque, he completed several projects pertaining to the City’s 20th Century development. His career in archaeology includes being director of the pueblo of Zuni Archaeology Program. He spent 18 years as a cultural resources specialist with the BIA and the ABQ Area Indian Health services. Dodge served on the Albuquerque Landmarks and Urban Conservation Commission from 2001-2009.

Aerial photograph of the Albuquerque NE Heights c.1949-50.

Aerial photograph of the Northeast Heights, c.1949-50. The Vista Larga Addition is seen early in its construction at the bottom center; the Lobo Addition in the lower right is almost fully developed. The Bel-Air Addition is in the center left; triangular-shaped Inez is top center.