The village formed in the traditional Spanish pattern of a central plaza surrounded by a church, homes and government buildings. Some of the old homes are still standing and many have been renovated into businesses.
San Felige de Neri Church, founded in 1706, was originally located near where Don Luis Plaza stands today. In 1793, the present Church was built. San Felipe de Neri presently has 800 families registered and has been in continuous use for almost 300 years. It is on both the National and State Register for Historical Properties. The church is open to the public daily.
Provincial governor Cuervo y Valdez named the villa (village) in honor of the Viceroy of New Spain, the Duke of Alburquerque. In the early 1800's the first “r” was dropped from the official spelling. In 1880 the railroad came to Albuquerque, a few miles east of Old Town. The area around the depot called "New Town" (now Downtown) boomed quickly into Albuquerque's commercial center.
Much of the architecture of Old Town is Pueblo-Spanish, or adobe. Adobe buildings are constructed of adobe bricks, which are mostly composed of mud and straw that are sun baked, mortared with mud and protected with a layer of mud or cement. They are traditionally flat-roofed, with curved edges, often supported with vigas (wooden beams supporting the roof) visible in the ceiling or protruding through walls. With the arrival of the railroad in 1880, many flew building components became available. You will find several different styles of architecture, including Victorian and Contemporary.