Thursday, February 11, 2010

The "U"

This photograph shows the southern part of the Sandia Mountains, circa 1930. (It comes from a postcard that was published in a recent book on the history of Albuquerque.) It is significant to me because it contains the small peak that some people now call "U Mound" (but which my family always simply called the "U"). Evidence of the white-painted "U" (for "UNM") has now all but disappeared (or has been removed) from the western face of the "mound"; however, this is how I remember it looking when I was a child, when UNM students still repainted the "U" periodically. The photo also reflects the great amount of open space that once existed on the East Mesa of Albuquerque; the bridge crossing an arroyo at the left-center of the photo is interesting in that it is evidence of an early north-south road that traversed the mesa in a location east of present-day Tramway Blvd. The city has established open-space areas in the foothills, but almost all of the land shown here has been developed now. South Sandia Peak is visible to the left.

[Update 11/1/11: Here is a current-day view of the "U," taken on October 23, 2011 from the ridge to the south.  Note that there's still a hint of white paint on the upper part of the west face, probably stuck to big rocks.]

[Update 4/12/12: Here is a photo, taken from my high school's 1963 yearbook, looking in a southeasterly direction from the school's practice football field.  It doesn't show the "U," which was just out of the frame to the left, but it does reflect the broad expanse of undeveloped land that still existed on the East Mesa of Albuquerque in the early 1960s.  (It also shows the ugly blue gym uniforms that girls had to wear -- and still had to wear, when I was a student there over a decade later -- when dressing out for PE class.)]

[Update 11/27/12: I can't resist adding another photo.  This one, of members of my high school's girls' track team, comes from my senior annual published in 1977, and it reflects how the "U" looked at that point in time.  (This photo was probably shot within 50 feet of where the "1963" photo above was taken; note the apartment buildings in the background.)  The "U" probably hadn't been repainted in 8-10 years, but it was still very visible.]