New Mexican Women #3: Mary Colter  LbNA # 63487 (ARCHIVED)

Placed DateNov 8 2012
LocationFrances Tinnin Park, 201 Gold Avenue, SW, Albuquerque, NM
Found By SnakeDoctor
Last Found Oct 7 2013
Hike Distance?

New Mexican Women #3: Mary Colter

New Mexico Women #3
Mary Colter (1869-1958)

Although Mary Colter is associated with some of the designs and architecture of the Grand Canyon buildings, she was definitely a part of New Mexico design. Her first professional assignment was in 1901 when Fred Harvey offered her the job of decorating his Alvarado Hotel in Albuquerque. Mary Colter made such an impression on Fred Harvey with her decorations and other designs for the Alvarado that for over 30 years she worked designing many of the Fred Harvey landmark hotels located throughout the Southwest

Most of Mary Colter’s buildings have been given National Historic Landmark status. Unfortunately, the beautiful Alvarado Hotel in Albuquerque suffered one of the worst fates for a historical building: it was torn down (against much public and political protest) in 1970 to build parking lots. Today, the Alvarado Transportation Center for trains and busses is built with the same outside architecture, but it is only a shell of the opulent Alvarado Hotel that first lured outsiders to New Mexico. (The Library of Congress has a wonderful short, silent video of Teddy Roosevelt speaking in front of the Alvarado in 1916; see online.)

“A chain-smoking perfectionist” she designed this ashtray stand (shown on stamp and LB book), blending both Native American motifs with Modernism. Mary Colter retired to Santa Fe in 1948.

*This letterbox is located in one of the first “Pocket Parks” located off of Gold Avenue, between 2nd and 3rd streets downtown Albuquerque.
1. Traveling south on I-25, take Central Avenue west for about a mile till you go until the train tracks. Be in the left-hand lane because you’ll turn left immediately at 1st Street.
2. Take the first right (west again) onto Gold Avenue. Park anywhere you can find a space after 2nd Street.
3. Near that corner of 2nd and Gold (north side of Gold), you’ll see some parking lots but also a winding tiny walkway with a sign, “Francis Tinnin Park” at that Gold Street entrance.
4. Follow the path going toward Central (north), staying close to the rock planter with concrete blocks. At the north end of the planter section, you’ll see two large yuccas. Sit on the block wall in front of the most northern yucca, “admiring” the huge mural showing some of the history of the Alvarado Hotel.
5. In the 6th space from the wall between the blocks, you’ll find the letterbox hidden with rocks. It’s in a small black pouch.

Hide carefully, and please remember to put some rocks on top of it.