Helen Horwitz & Ann Redak Blaugrund

Recently, we interviewed Helen Horwitz and Ann Redak Blaugrund about what downtown Albuquerque was like when Route 66 followed Central Avenue’s path through the heart of the city. Helen grew up in the 1940s in downtown Albuquerque, at the same time that Ann and her husband settled in the city and ran a jewelry store called Everitt Jewelers. In the slide show above, you can see many of the businesses that contributed to making downtown Albuquerque a vibrant place to live. Helen’s father, Leo Horwitz, had moved the family to Albuquerque from the midwest during the Great Depression. He found a job working for Maurice Maisel’s trading post, became a registered Indian Trader and eventually went out on his own to open an Indian arts and curio shop on Central Avenue. In this interview segment, Helen and Ann recount their early days in Albuquerque:

Helen, Ann and their families were all part of a Jewish community that had its spiritual home at Temple Albert. Author and journalist Sharon Niederman, recently spoke to us about New Mexico’s rich Jewish history and how the merchants in downtown Albuquerque offer a window into the Jewish diaspora, assimilation and a dynamic cultural community today. In this interview segment, Helen and Ann share their recollections of some of these businesses:

Helen’s memory of her childhood is that she was free to wander the streets of downtown because she knew everyone and everyone knew her. She had her choice of four movie theaters and what she thought of as her own private palace, the much loved Alvarado Hotel. The Alvarado anchored downtown Albuquerque and was the “hub for many people’s lives”.
Helen and Ann share their recollections of the Alvarado Hotel in this interview segment:

The decline of downtown Albuquerque began in the late 1950s as the city began to sprawl and shopping malls and centers opened up elsewhere. Helen noticed it beginning while she was in college. Crime started to go up as many of the merchant families moved out of the downtown area and opened up stores elsewhere. It was sad to witness for someone who had grown up there and experienced such a wonderful vibrant community. When the Alvarado Hotel was torn down in the 1970s, it left a gaping wound that remains to this day.

For more information:

Please read Helen Horwitz’ article “The Jewish Albuquerque That I Remember”

To learn more about Sharon Niederman’s work, please visit her web-site.



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