The MetroABQ's Downtown Art & Architecture Junction:

A Quirky, Public Fruit Ave Sidewalk Gallery
Intersects Sweet 
Luna Blvd Historic Homes


Downtown neighborhoods in the MetroABQ regularly surprise me. Take Luna Blvd for example, which sits smack in the middle of the historic Fourth Ward, just east of 12th St. The neighborhood, which was platted over 110 years ago, includes four blocks of architecturally diverse residential homes that end at Luna Circle, a half-moon street north of Lomas Blvd. Luna Circle was originally a handful of residences & has since evolved into small offices & commercial businesses that make up the half-circle along Lomas. See the map below. 

A great MetroABQ Downtown architecture guidebook, issued by the city, describes how the historic Downtown neighborhoods came to be, including Huning Highlands, Eighth & Forrester, & the Fourth Ward. According to the guide, neighborhoods of the
Fourth Ward were "never exclusively upper-middle class. Modest cottages sat side by side with the substantial homes of Albuquerque’s influential citizens."

This is evident strolling down Luna Blvd: grand dwellings share property lines with smaller-footprint residences; no matter the size, they all share interesting "frontier-version" architectural styles. A great paragraph from the guide describes this: 

"...The railroad brought the latest in manufactured doors, windows, fireplace fronts, interior & exterior trim, roofing shingles & other exterior materials." However, "very often the materials were used to create a frontier version that sought to recreate the homes that people remembered from where they had left. The resulting houses are highly eclectic & demonstrate the creativity of people often working within the constraints of limited resources."

In other words, they made things work. Borrowing a little or a lot, builders combined elements of Bungalow style, Victorian, Territorial, Mediterranean, Spanish Pueblo & even Mission style into the architecture of the homes. This conjunto created an original New Mexico style: SW Vernacular. One pristine example, seen directly above & far below, can only be described as a Spanish Pueblo Revival Mission-style Vernacular home...It's an amazing structure to behold; then turn around to the stunning Bungalow/Mansard Vernacular home across the street, seen directly below, replete with a metal electric sculpture in front...it's a great neighborhood.

A funny thing happened on the way to my listing on Luna Blvd: I noticed quirky street sculptures up & down Fruit Ave, an intersecting street, as seen directly below--a Bungalow/Mansard-style home with an electronic sculpture prominent in front. From there, I turned onto Fruit & walked along what one resident called a Sidewalk Gallery. The top image above shows one of the sculptures. More on the Fruit Sidewalk Gallery further below...

Above are some of the different architectural styles found on Luna Blvd: Spanish Pueblo Revival, Territorial, Mediterranean, & a Bungalow, with a few other styles mixed in. Immediately above are two examples of a unique "wrinkle" above the entry of Old World Cottage-style homes on the street, one wrinkle looks to be a crawlspace vent; the other part of the entry door design.

Walking along Luna & Fruit & Roma streets, one style definitely stands out though: Craftsman Bungalow is clearly the dominant style on the street, in numerous vernacular styles. They may have been added onto, often many porches were subsumed into the interior floorplan of the residence, but the core design of most of the several dozen homes in the Luna Blvd area, is Craftsman Bungalow. Examples of these are below... 
Below is a Luna & Fruit intersection map, including the five houses of Luna Circle at the top. The red area has perhaps the highest concentration of Bungalow-style residences in the MetroABQ; more side-by-side Bungalows also live on Marquette, at the bottom of the map, a block or so on each side of where Luna ends.   
Drawn onto Fruit Ave admiring the historic homes, you also notice the quirky sculptures that line the sidewalks on both sides. There I ran into an old friend, Toni. She has lived in a beautiful shake-shingled-roof house in the neighborhood for over a decade & knew all about the sculptures. She explained that the artist, Joe Forrest Sackett, lives on the street & creates the public sidewalk artwork for sale. When a piece sells, he replaces it with another. Toni said that the ever-changing nature of the sidewalk gallery makes living there pretty amazing.

Joe Forrest Sackett is prolific, his work is eclectic, & it's spreading fast: One piece was sold but didn't move too far...Toni & I walked a block off Fruit Ave to Roma Ave, where the local art-loving homeowners had another one of his sculptures installed; the historic mailbox image is directly below. Other Fruit Ave sidewalk sculptures are below that.
The variety of historic residences along Luna Blvd & surrounding streets, & the surprising Walking Gallery along Fruit Avenue, are two more reasons
Downtown continues to impress.

The ever-changing Fruit Ave Sidewalk Art Tour is now on my list...
I am fortunate to have recently listed an architecturally significant home on Luna Blvd--404 Luna Blvd NW, on the corner of Marquette. To find it, locate the tiny pocket corner park there & you'll see the home, sitting on the east side of the greenspace. It is a sweet Mediterranean-style, with some fantastic original features typical of that period almost 100 years ago: tile flooring, arched entries, unique built-in wall nichos & drawers, wood fireplace & hardwood floors. See the images below.

The plan was to hold an Open House the first Sunday; however, we received a few offers & the home went into Pending within a few days...that's the Downtown market this year: interesting & very robust. Call me for a market analysis to find out how much your home is worth now. Here's more about me...
Hidden Park Neighborhood
Sunday, June 9th, from 12-2pm:

3600 Calle Del Ranchero NE

Click to view the 3-D Walking tour for this property
Click on the image below for the full mls listing.

See you there!!
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