The Monte Vista Neighborhood NE
The largest neighborhood in Nob Hill, Monte Vista starts at the corner of Central Ave/Route 66 Business corridor at Girard Blvd, along the eastern edge of the UNM Main Campus. Platted in 1926, the Monte Vista Neighborhood stretches along Route 66 east about a half mile to Carlisle Blvd, & north to Lomas Blvd, then back to Girard, creating a large rectangle. Monte Vista Blvd & Campus Blvd, both important neighborhood thoroughfares, each cut diagonally through the neighborhood almost from corner to corner, crossing each other in front of the magnificent Mediterranean-style Monte Vista Elementary School.
From the Nob Hill Neighborhood Association (NHNA): This addition lies on sloping ground which was prone to flooding from the Campus Wash, roughly aligned with what is now called Campus Blvd. Because of the unusual site, the planner conceived a plan which abandoned the traditional grid pattern, substituting a series of curving streets which would deliver monsoonal flows over streets to Campus Blvd. This maximized the land available for development while minimizing the threat of flooding.
A great aerial photo, also from the NHNA, of Nob Hill in 1935, shows this well: the mostly empty space in the upper-left quadrant is UNM Main Campus’ Johnson Field, which looks very different today. Monte Vista Blvd, beginning on the corner of Central Ave/Route 66 at the edge of UNM, cuts diagonally across the photo heading north & east. The Campus Wash arroyo, mentioned above, snakes through the neighborhood, & can be seen clearly from bottom right heading up to the top left.
Maybe fifteen years later, close to 1950, another aerial photo was taken, which shows the natural evolution of the neighborhood, as the neighborhoods filled in. By this time in the greater Nob Hill area, other neighborhoods were being realized. On the map just north of Nob Hill, are the makings for the Jefferson Middle School playing fields. Further east, the already-designed & now historic Bataan Memorial Park sits in the middle of the image; McDuffie Park, aka Hidden Park, is almost fully surrounded by homes by then; & the Del Sol or Twin Parks, which look like a tuning fork in the upper right of the image, were only rough-road-cuts in the landscape before 1950. A good map of Hidden Park, the Del Sol Parks & Altura Park further north, show you where they are now…
Monte Vista & the College View neighborhood directly to the east, together have recently been designated the Monte Vista & College View Historic District. These Nob Hill neighborhoods add to the five existing historic zones already found in the city. In these two neighborhoods, a whopping 82% of the homes are considered contributing historic properties. A cool map of all the contributing historic properties in the district shows the importance of the area; local historian Spencer Nelson’s Nob Hill site is a great resource.
The neighborhood boasts stunning front yard gardens, which seem to be replacing traditional grassy front lawns. Almost any home in the neighborhood sports a beautiful front yard garden space, however, this home on Richmond Place takes the prize. A stroll around the neighborhood for impromptu front yard garden design ideas is a unique neighborhood experience.
The Monte Vista Triangle
Sitting square in the middle of the neighborhood is a group of notable historic residences. Bounded by Monte Vista, Carlisle & Campus Blvds, the area is an irregularly-shaped triangle that boasts numerous distinctive regional styles, prominent in the MetroABQ from the 1920’s to the 1940’s. The mini-neighborhood is called the Monte Vista Triangle, & each home feels unique.
As the Nob Hill Neighborhoods are ever-evolving, a few modern, post-war architectural creations are also present in the Triangle. The diversity of style in this area is, well, diverse: Medieval/Cottage Style, Bungalows, Territorial, Mediterranean & Spanish Pueblo Revival, Mid-Century Modern, Post-Modern, Modernist Pueblo, Ranch style & hybrid styles like SW Vernacular & Mediterranean Vernacular.
The Monte Vista Triangle Walking Tour is a mile-long architectural tour that zigs & zags throughout the mini-neighborhood & features (only a few) examples of the wonderful array of building styles found there & throughout Nob Hill. Walk along Amherst, Purdue or Monte Vista Blvd & you'll see what I mean…
The Monte Vista Neighborhood also sits adjacent to a seven-block stretch of the Central Ave/Route 66 Mother Road, which includes the eclectic restaurants, shops, services & neon, for which Nob Hill is known.