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Lecturer to discuss a fascinating transformation Tuesday

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By Kirsten Laskey

A single act can create significant changes. Just look at what occurred in Albuquerque during the 1920s and 1930s.During this time period, a campaign was underway to make Albuquerque the crossroads of New Mexico.To accomplish this, the city worked to realign Route 66. Instead of running north to south, city officials including mayor ex-officio and former governor Clyde Tingley, worked to realign the highway from east and west. Additionally, the city worked to take advantage of aviation and offer air transportation in all directions in the state.The results of this successful campaign transformed Albuquerque from railroad depot to a metropolis.David Kammer will discuss this campaign, and its effects on Albuquerque during his talk, “Albuquerque: From Railroad Depot to Crossroads of New Mexico,” at 7:30 p.m. Tuesday at Fuller Lodge. The presentation is part of the Los Alamos Historical Society’s lecture series.Albuquerque wasn’t the only place affected by the campaign, Kammer said, for instance, with World War II approaching, it made sense to develop an airfield because it made sense to take advantage of place that already had supporting facilities. Looking at Los Alamos, Kammer said the local area has benefited from planning that didn’t benefit Albuquerque.He described Los Alamos as more suburban with a fairly concentrated commercial center. Also, the area’s geography has limited commercial sprawl and strip developments.The problem Los Alamos faced, he said, was housing for the laboratory employees, so people moved into Santa Fe.Kammer said he became interested in this subject after reading an article that attempted to understand how cities grow. The author of the article used Albuquerque as his case study.By realigning a federal highway, Kammer said Albuquerque was reshaped. As a result, “I think we need to understand that transportation systems are important.”He noted several transportation issues are facing the city as it addresses the Road Runner light rail system and additional overlays.“I think new transportation exerts an effort (that influences) where people choose to live and work,” Kammer said.For instance, if the light rail is constructed, there will be a higher population of people living near the system, much like the growth in development that occurred around Central Avenue in Albuquerque four years after re-aligning Route 66.To illustrate his talk, Kammer said he will be using historic photographs from that time period.It is Kammer’s first time speaking through the Historical Society’s lecture series. “I’m really excited about it,” he said.The talk, Kammer said, should be of interest because “Often when we think of the past, we tend to look at the distant past ee but I think for people today who live in Albuquerque there is equal importance to understand the circumstances and conditions of the city’s history in the form of how it shaped the world they’re living in today.”Although Kammer is making his debut in Los Alamos as a speaker, he has dealt with Los Alamos in the past. Kammer said he wrote a National Register Nomination for the steel arch located across Los Alamos canyon.Kammer has a Ph.D. from the University of New Mexico in American Studies. He worked as a historical consultant during 2004-2005 for Parsons-Brinckerhoff Engineering, on the Environmental Assessment for the Albuquerque Light Rail System. In 2002, he received the Albuquerque Conservation Association Award. In 2005, he completed the work, “Movie Theaters in New Mexico.”The lecture will be followed by light refreshments at 8:45 p.m. Lectures are free and open to the public. Los Alamos National Bank and donations by Historical Society members support the series.