“8th and Forrester” Homes in this area tended to be a bit more working class in nature than the mansions of the Forth Ward, located just to the south across Lomas Blvd, yet still with quality details and a generally Victorian or Bungalow character. This “Anglo” characteristic was in sharp contrast to the adobe “mud huts” of Old Albuquerque (as found in Old Town and the Valley communities of Atrisco, Pat Hurley, Los Duranes and Los Griegos).
Wells Park Historic Neighborhood is located just to the North of Mountain Road, between 12th and 4th Streets N. W. Three small neighborhood grocery stores still stand unchanged within the Wells Park neighborhood, although only one is now operating. Wells Park resembles Barelas both as a working-class neighborhood and as a mixture of Anglo and Hispanic building styles. And like Barelas, its history predates its major industry (The Sawmill) and actually began to grow along Mountain Road when it was a historic route to the Sandia mountains from residences in Old Albuquerque (Old Town).
Sawmill: Adjoining Wells Park to the west is the Sawmill Neighborhood. Here a giant sawmill was built in the early 1900s – processing lumber from the Zuni Mountains. In the blocks around the sawmill, workers built frame and/or adobe homes.
Everything north of Mountain Road was beyond the city limit in 1900. While the area contains plenty of properties that contribute to the historic character of a historic Neighborhood, with regards to build dates and trim characteristics… most of the homes are smaller (about 900 to 1200 SF) and more utilitarian than the homes of 8th and Forrester or the 4th Ward.
Wells Park and Sawmill do not offer the same zoning and planning restrictions of most other Historic Districts in Albuquerque. These two neighborhoods fell into deep disrepair during the late 1960’s and 1970’s. In and after the new Millennium (2000), savvy investors and creative young buyers began buying, moving in and fixing up these adorable but neglected homes and storefronts. They were aided by the provisions of a community re-development plan called the Sawmill/Wells Park MRA, a flexible zoning overlay allowing for higher density housing and mixed use buildings along Mountain Road. Unfortunately, this plan left off tax incentives for historic renovation, as can be found in 8th and Forrester, Old Town, Huning’s Highland and the 4th Ward Historic Districts of Albuquerque.
More neighborhood information coming soon.