Two guided Jane's Walks through Albuquerque neighborhoods set for May 7 - Albuquerque Journal

Two guided Jane’s Walks through Albuquerque neighborhoods set for May 7

Some of the most intriguing sights on the “Wells Park Troche Moche” walk require some looking for. This mural, featuring vintage vehicles, is on a wall in an alley between Los Tomases and Sixth NW. (Courtesy of David Ryan)

On a recent Saturday, David Ryan and Martha Heard were on the corner of Rosemont and 12th Street NW, standing in the present but gazing into the past.

“One hundred years ago, there was a streetcar line on 12th Street,” Ryan said.

“East of 12th there were apple orchards, from the late 19th century into the 1920s,” Heard said.

Ryan and Heard are among the organizers of Albuquerque’s version of Jane’s Walk, free, volunteer-led neighborhood walks held in cities throughout North America and around the world.

Named for urban activist Jane Jacobs, the walks were launched in 2007 and usually take place in the first weekend in May. The strolls expose participants to the architecture, heritage, local culture, social history and planning issues of particular sections of a city.

The plan had been to initiate Albuquerque Jane’s Walk events in May 2020, but the pandemic rained on that parade. In 2021, the city’s Jane’s Walks were self-guided.

This year, two guided Jane’s Walks will take place from 10 a.m. to 2 p.m. Saturday, May 7. Both begin and end at 11th Street and Mountain Road NW. When enough people show up for a walk, a volunteer will take them out. When more people arrive, another volunteer will lead them.

This shining example of a gate on Forrester Avenue NW may be seen by those strolling the “Wells Park Troche Moche” walk. (Courtesy of David Ryan)

“Our walks go through neighborhoods meant to be walked, before cars became predominant,” Ryan said. “Back then, houses were built closer to each other, the streets were narrower and less circuitous, the blocks were shorter and retail and commercial establishments were often intermixed with houses.”

The two guided walks set for May 7 are the 2.7 to 3-mile “Mountain Roads Arts Corridor” foot tour and the 2.3-mile “Wells Park Troche Moche” ramble. Troche Moche translates to “helter-skelter” or “all over the place.”

Ryan, 74, and Heard, 85, both live near the starting point of the walks. On this day, they were doing the “Troche Moche” route. It courses through a melding of residential and industrial areas in the Wells Park neighborhood. There are historic residences here, as well as buildings that were once cornerstone commercial and retail establishments and colorful murals waiting to surprise you just around that next corner or down that alley.

Heard points out houses in the 1000 and 1100 block of 12th Street that were built in the 1920s for employees of the American Lumber Company, a sawmill.

“The sawmill and the railroad were the major employers back then,” Ryan said.

Tomás Duran owned the sawmill store. At the corner of 12th Street and Bellamah Avenue is the house he built in 1900 for his bride, a stunning redhead he met on Old Town Plaza.

The Troche Y Moche wall at the southwest corner of Bellamah and Sixth NW inspired the name of the Jane’s Walk through this neighborhood. (Courtesy of David Ryan)

Charlie’s Grocery used to be at 1100 Bellamah NW. A brothel that once stood behind the grocery store is now The Painted Lady Bed and Brew. A sign at The Painted Lady makes clear what is not on tap there: “This is not a brothel. There are no prostitutes at this address.”

Without guides, people would likely miss an enchanting mural of mid-20th-century vehicles. It’s on a wall in an alley between Los Tomases and Sixth Street NW.

It is at the southwest corner of Bellamah and Sixth, however, that you’ll find out how this walk got its name. That’s where the Troche Y Moche wall, built in the summer of 2017 stands. It is made of stones, volcanic rock, petrified wood, a little bit of a lot of things. Troche Moche.

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