ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. — Elena Gallegos was a trailblazer before women blazing trails was a thing.
Centuries ahead of her time, the third-generation New Mexican once possessed a large portion of what is modern-day Albuquerque.
Anyone who has driven by or traversed the Foothills east of town has probably heard of or seen her name because one of the city’s most widely used open space properties bears her name. The 640-acre Elena Gallegos Open Space at the base of the Sandia Mountains offers hiking and mountain biking trails, picnic areas, a chance to witness wildlife in natural habitat and breathtaking views of the city.
Gallegos was born in 1680, in what would become New Mexico, to Spanish colonizers Antonio Gallegos and Catalina Baca. The family fled the area that same year to escape the Pueblo Revolt. It’s unclear where Elena Gallegos spent her childhood and young adult life. Some speculate El Paso, and others say possibly Parral, Mexico, her father’s hometown.