In 1706, the villa of “Albuquerque” was founded by Don Francisco Cuervo Y Valdes, governor of the Spanish province of New Mexico. It was on the Camino Real (Royal Road), the route from Mexico City to Santa Fe. It became the seat of government for the Rio Abajo (Lower River) as well as the area’s agricultural center.
In 1821, Mexico declared its independence from Spain with New Mexico being part of the new nation. Albuquerque became a major stop on the Chihuahua Trail. General Kearny raised the flag of the United States of America over the Plaza in 1846. During the Civil War, a skirmish resulted in Albuquerque being the Confederate Capitol of the Territory of New Mexico for 36 days.
The arrival of the railroad was a major turning point for Albuquerque and Old Town. With the depot located 1 ½ miles east of the Plaza, “downtown” moved from the Plaza to “New Albuquerque” or “New Town”. The railroad brought many new settlers and the largest repair facility between Kansas and California.
Old Town continues to be an active Commercial, Residential and Community center. At its heart is the San Felipe de Neri Church.