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Remnant of Alvarado Hotel being renovated

New Mexico Business Weekly

The historic Alvarado Hotel is long gone, but a little bit of what is left of the complex is getting a facelift.

The gray weathered building adjacent to the Alvarado Transportation Center at 214 First St. SW once housed the Indian Curio Store, built during New Mexico’s Centennial Year, 1912. That was 10 years after the Alvarado opened.

It now will house the offices for Amtrak, the culmination of a multi-year process involving negotiations among Amtrak, the city of Albuquerque’s Transit and Municipal Development departments and the city attorney’s office.

The renovation price tag is $475,000, of which Amtrak is paying two-thirds. The rest will come from some of the Transit Department’s federal funds.

The building is composed of poured, reinforced concrete and is one of the first examples of that form of construction in Albuquerque according to city officials. It is predated only by the 1910 Roswenwald Building at 320

Central Ave. SW. Work on the building’s interior started in June. Crafts people are now reapplying the pebble-dash stucco that once covered the Alvarado Hotel and doing other repairs.

After the Alvarado was torn down in 1970, the curio building served as a ticket office for Amtrak, but that function ultimately was moved next door.

When it is finished, the building will provide a base for Amtrak crews operating the daily Southwest Chief trains to Chicago and Los Angeles. Nearly 72,000 passengers traveled on Amtrak to and from Albuquerque last year, according to the ABQ Ride, the city’s transit department.

The work is slated to be completed in September. There are two other buildings remaining from the heyday of the Alvarado, one of the hotels built by Harvey House Hotels. Those are the old freight building and the telegraph office east of the Amtrak/Greyhound terminal on 1st Street SW. Both are unused and boarded up. They were part of a sprawling complex of the Santa Fe Railroad.


New Lego exhibit at the Wheels Museum. View The New Mexico Lego Users Group has
partnered with WHEELS to have a beautiful Lego Train layout for children of all ages to enjoy. The exhibit will vary from season to season and we invite you to come see this new Lego train exhibit.

January 8, 15, 22, 29 – Sunday morning admission free from 9 am-1 pm at the Albuquerque Museum and the City’s International Balloon Museum.

Do you have a few hours each month to help the Wheels Museum? Volunteers are needed so the Museum can be open more; run the model railroad trains, also help needed with events, marketing, fund raising. Call Leba Freed at (505) 243-6269.

Febuary 16, 11 am. Bob Bovee Long Steel Rails concert. This program for all ages presents songs and stories about the famous trains, rail workers, hobos, train wrecks and train robbers. Call or email Leba Freed for reservations at (505) 243-6269 or leba4@aol.com.

March 17, Celebrate St. Patrick’s Day at WHEELS. Movie, tours, train ride and food celebration.

April 1, 1 pm. Doug Figgs and Badger. Back by popular demand. By reservations only (505) 243- 6269. Doug’s show was sold out last year, so call early! Donation: $10.00.

April 8, 11 am. “Historic Albuquerque” Ronn Perea will present old Albuquerque anecdotes including delightful stories about our beloved Alvarado Hotel and the politicians, actors and entertainers who stayed there. This is a free event but, of course, donations are always appreciated.

April 22, Wheels Museum Day trip to Rancho De Chimayo Restaurante, El Santuario de Chimayo and the Santa Fe Plaza. Call Leba or Janet at (505) 243-6269 for more information. The museum is a 501C3 non-profit community organization whose mission is to create a transportation museum at the downtown Albuquerque Steam Locomotive Repair Shops.

May 19-May 23, Train trip to the Grand Canyon. Only a few spaces left.Scheduled through Amtrak Vacations, call Leba or Janet at (505) 243-6269 for reservations and more information.