New Mexico New Deal Sites November 2018 - Photo #209 - Albuquerque Roosevelt Park

Photo: 13 September 2018
Roosevelt Park, 501 Sycamore Street SE (Coal/Spruce/Sycamore), Albuquerque, New Mexico.

"Roosevelt Park opened during the middle of the Great Depression. It was built with federal Civil Works Administration funding obtained through Albuquerque Mayor Clyde Tingley's close friendship with President Franklin Roosevelt. The park's name was changed from the original "Terrace Park" soon after its opening to honor its popular benefactor. Designed by local landscape architect and greenhouse operator C. Edmund "Bud" Hollied, the park remains one of the Southwest's best examples of New Deal landscaping. Hollied envisioned a sprawling, lush park in what was previously a sandy, garbage-strewn arroyo. With the work of 275 CWA laborers, each paid $39 per month, the park took form between the winter of 1933 and summer of 1934. It cost $122,338 to transform the 13-acre site. Over 2,250 trees and bushes, including umbrella catalpas and Tingley's beloved Siberian elms, were planted. An abutment along the south side of the park was built with stone from the demolished county jail at Rio Grande and Central. Its landmark status protects all of these features, even including the elms. The general layout and landscaping scheme of the park remain essentially unchanged over the last 60 years."[1]

"This large park was first called Terrace Park possibly because this flat terrain was changed with the addition of dirt filled hills and terraces. Two acres were made available to the City and the Albuquerque Public Schools gave the City a long term lease on an additional eleven acres. Retaining walls and a water system were constructed and nearby streets were improved. Most of the work was paid for with Civil Works Administration (CWA) funds. Two hundred sevent-five workers planted trees, shrubs and totally changed the environment at a cost of $126,065. ... After its completion 800-1,000 school children being served by WPA's Federal Music Project put on a Christmas program there."[2]

  1. Roosevelt Park, City of Albuquerque Historic Landmarks site, accessed 27 November 2018.
  2. Kathryn A. Flynn, Public Art and Architecture in New Mexico 1933-1943, Sunstone Press (2012), p.33.
  3. U.S. Statehood Government, 1912-1945, Albuquerque Tricentennial website, accessed 27 November 2018: "Albuquerque officials in 1933 secured CWA funding to begin construction of Terrace Park (later Roosevelt Park). Because federal money could only be used for labor, the city used equipment as little as possible to maximize human labor. In the next two years the work would keep 300 men busy. The park followed the natural contours of the land. Stone retaining walls shaped arroyos."
  4. Suzanne Stamatov, There Was a Time and it Was Tingley's, New Mexico (Office of the State Historian), accessed 23 November 2018.