Barelas For over a century, the Villa was the only village between the north valley plaza of Duranes and, on the south, the land grant villages of Atrisco west of the river and Peralta on the east side. Around 1825, a local rancher named Antonio Sandoval, who owned many acres south of the Villa, dug an extension of the old Griegos/Candelaria Ditch across the valley and south along the sand hills at the valley edge to bring water to the fields below the Villa. More farmers moved in, and soon a small village was formed. They called it Barelas, after the largest family in the area. Barelas soon had its own church and graveyard, and spread along the road south from the Villa that skirted the wide marshes along the river. The old Barelas Road is still visible as it crosses from northwest to southeast the grid-patterned streets established after the arrival of the railroad in 1880.
This momentous event changed more than the road pattern in Barelas, because the railroad located its offices and shops just to the east of the small settlement. New subdivisions sprang up to house the hundreds who came to work for the railroad from all over New Mexico and as far away as Germany. To this day Barelas displays two distinct types of homes: the adobes of the early Hispanic settlers and the brick and frame homes built by the newcomers. The railroad shops and the railroad whistle dominated the lives of Barelas residents for decades. As people began to travel and ship by air and automobile, the number of railroad jobs declined and so did Barelas. It is, however, still home to fiercely loyal residents. In 1995 new efforts were made to revitalize South Fourth Street, once the main road south, part of the fabled Pan American Highway.
The Raynolds Addition, located south of Central Avenue between 8th Street and 17th Street, was platted in 1912. The area filled in slowly with garden apartments,
bungalows, southwest style houses, and some of Albuquerque's earliest apartment
buildings. Raynolds contains the Aldo Leopold Neighborhood Historic District. Leopold
(1886-1948), the U.S. father of wildlife ecology, lived in Albuquerque between 1914 and
1924. In 1918, as Secretary of the Chamber of Commerce, he led an effort to create
what would later become the Rio Grande Valley State Park.
Some of the neighborhood’s original housing stock was demolished in the “urban renewal” of the 1960s. Much of that land remained vacant until recently. In the 1990s, the Raynolds Neighborhood Association began painting murals, planting xeric gardens, and sculpting dead elm trees on residential properties. The association helped redesign Washington Park and
designed and built a neighborhood entrance at Park and 10th streets. These projects were done in collaboration with Washington Middle School students, the City, and Rowland’s nursery.
This site is still under development, More neighborhood information coming soon