ALBUQUERQUE, N.M. (KRQE) – Becoming a tourist in your own city is something that has gained popularity ever since the beginning of the pandemic. Locals took to the streets of their hometowns and tried to look from a fresh perspective, which is what the Albuquerque Historical Society has begun doing once again.

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The nonprofit began giving weekly, free walking tours of the downtown Albuquerque area long before the pandemic hit, but had to take a pause because of it last year. August 7, they resumed the tours. Participants can meet with a volunteer from the society on Saturday mornings and walk down Central Ave. beginning at First Street to learn about Albuquerque’s beginnings in 1706 and rapid growth with the arrival of the railroad in 1880.

Volunteer Coordinator with the society Trudy Merriman gave the tour on Saturday, August 7, and has been giving these tours since 2015. She touches on the history of buildings like the Alvarado Hotel and Transportation Center, the Sunshine building, the Kimo Theater and much more.

Merriman said she sees her and her fellow volunteers as emissaries, working to change how people view the downtown area. “I think right now there’s a real negative connotation about downtown with the homeless problem and the crime that’s happening in the city, but the history is always there. I think that downtown is vibrant, and people don’t realize that there’s a lot going on down here, and it’s good to get down here,” Merriman said.

Kathy Economy was one of the enthusiastic participants on the tour. She said she sees every downtown of a city as a gem that often gets neglected. “They provide a rich history of a city location that we need to preserve and maintain to keep what happened in the past a remembrance for our future,” Economy said.

She said she was so fascinated with what she learned along the tour that she’s decided to become a docent with the society so she could eventually give tours as well. For more information about the Albuquerque Historical Society, visit their website.