Frances Ray smiles as she recalls May Hubbell folding down the window to place lunch trays out for the farm workers. She points to a low window facing the courtyard and says, “That’s the one. This was the kitchen back then. In those days my grandma would come over and she and May would have tea together.” Frances is nearing eighty years old; she is one of the living treasures of Albuquerque’s historic South Valley. “I remember during the war we would load buckets of apples from our orchard into the back of the truck and head into town. We would make about twenty-five cents and my father would save those pennies for us to buy school supplies.”
Frances’ family has lived in the village of Pajarito, a tiny hamlet in the South Valley, for generations. Her grandmother, Francesquita Barboa, lived across from the Hubbell House during the early 1900s when it was a thriving center of commerce along the remnants of the Camino Real. Built in the 1840s, the Hubbell House is widely regarded as one the state’s finest historical landmarks and was listed on the State Register of Historical Properties in 1976. Today the nonprofit Hubbell House Alliance is working to bring the history and traditions of Pajarito back to life.
Offering workshops on topics as wide-ranging as beekeeping, irrigation, tree pruning, and raising backyard chickens, the Hubbell House is at the forefront of a revitalization effort promising to bring to life the agricultural heritage of Albuquerque. The Alliance will formally open August 10 as the Hubbell House and Demonstration Farm. If you come to the Grand Opening, you might be lucky enough to sample the tasty morsels Frances Ray learned to make in her grandmother’s kitchen.
Hubbell Demonstration Farm and Living History Museum
6029 Isleta Boulevard SW, Albuquerque; 505-244-0507,