Old Albuquerque Municipal AirportFrank da Cruz © All Rights Reserved
This place is extraordinary, a reminder of the days when air travel was a special occasion for which one dressed up. There’s a fireplace in the comfortable waiting lobby, and fountains where you stroll outside to board the planes. It’s built with traditional adobe methods, with an abundance of artfully crafted detail. There’s also quite a bit of artwork, much of it New Deal-era, displayed in the former waiting lounge. The building currently houses Homeland Security for the Albuquerque Sunport airport, but it is open to the public (sort of.) You can walk in, and walk around the building. The hitch is that there’s no parking, and no public transportation to take you there. There is, however, a post office nearby, so you can stop in and buy some stamps and take a walk across the street.
From Treasures of New Mexico Trails (Kathryn Flynn, editor/compiler):
The 1939 Old Albuquerque Municipal Airport Building is a flat-roofed, two-story Pueblo Revival style structure that was designed by City Architect Ernst H. Blumenthal and built of adobe brick and other local materials by WPA workers. Adobe bricks were made on site and covered the reinforced concrete frame. Vigas and other wood elements were cut in the Jemez Mountains and milled or hand carved on site. The flagstones for the floors were cut and brought from the nearby Sandia Mountains. The interior is also Pueblo Revival with viga and herringbone pattern latilla ceilings and walls of roughened stucco above tongue and groove wainscoting. The lobby was decorated with tinwork chandeliers, Indian rugs and hand-carved wooden screens. At some point, there were large paintings created by Pop Chalee which now hang in the current Albuquerque airport, but she reported she was commissioned to paint those by Howard Hughes.
Artwork currently (2014) on display includes:
- Carnuel by Brooks Willis (oil on canvas, 1934)
- Santo Niño de Atocha by Patroncino Barela (carved cottonwood, n.d.)
- Multiple paintings by Pop Chalee
- Indian rugs as hangings
Treasures on New Mexico Trails, 1995. Edited & compiled by Kathryn Flynn. (Sunstone Press, Santa Fe) page 32
"The WPA in Albuquerque," New Mexico Off the Road
"New Deal Sites in New Mexico," Atlas of Historic New Mexico Maps, New Mexico Humanities Council.
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