Editor’s Note: The Journal continues “What’s in a Name?”
A pact between three women would eventually become Netherwood Park, a neighborhood known for its unique homes and proximity to the University of New Mexico.
Educators Ada Cutler, Alcinda Morrow and Martha Taylor purchased over 400 acres adjacent to each other in the late 1800s. It was part of this property that decades later would become the community of Netherwood Park .
The neighborhood is located between Interstate 40 and Indian School Road and is bordered by the North Diversion Channel to the west and Carlisle Boulevard to the east. Former Netherwood Park board member John Vittal has researched and compiled a history of the subdivision. He said the neighborhood’s original vision never materialized.
âThe neighborhood is beyond anyone’s wildest dreams,â he said. “It was supposed to be a bunch of shotgun houses for factory workers where they could walk to work, but it never was.”
Instead, many of the neighborhood’s 1,200 or so residents are University of New Mexico employees, students, faculty, or retirees. There are also no cookie-cutter houses. No major developer built the houses. Vittal said the custom homes occupy the Netherwood Park lots.
As has been written repeatedly in this column, the railroad changed the fate of Albuquerque, which could have remained a predominantly rural town dependent on agriculture for its existence. Instead, it has become an industrial center with multiple professions and trades and many opportunities for success. After the arrival of the railroad, most people felt Albuquerque was on the verge of a real estate boom, but the exact location of that boom was a guessing game.
Cutler, who arrived in Albuquerque in 1891 to accept a teaching position at Albuquerque High School, was one of those residents who thought there was a real estate boom going on, so she guessed. She entered the Bernalillo County Courthouse on Jan. 14, 1896, slapped $ 200, and bought 160 acres of land on the town’s East Mesa, according to a narrative story prepared by Vittal. The land was not far from the recently established UNM.
Cutler convinced his fellow educators Morrow, who lived in the same building as Cutler, according to the 1895 town directory, and Taylor, to purchase land adjacent to his. The women agreed to consult each other before selling their land.
All three were educated, traveled extensively, and led interesting lives before crossing paths in Albuquerque. It is not known exactly what they planned or hoped to do with the land, but their upbringing and experience may have fueled lofty dreams.
Cutler, who was born in Illinois in 1859, had taught in Silver City during her boom, but left her post there to travel to Mexico City to work as a housekeeper before arriving in Albuquerque.
Morrow is originally from Indiana and is credited with founding the English Department at UNM. Before arriving in New Mexico, she taught at the University of Kansas and also in ParanÃ¡, Argentina.
Taylor was also a transplant. She came from Ohio and taught English, history and geography, and established the history department at UNM.
The three women were here only a short time before they married and dispersed across the country, but they retained their land.
It would be Cutler who ultimately made something of it.
She married Edwin Netherwood in 1900 while living in Denver. The couple returned to Albuquerque in 1908.
In 1910 the other two women sold their land and Cutler became the owner. The Dutch decided to try to do something with it.
A June 21, 1912 article in the Albuquerque Morning Journal spoke of Mr. Netherwood’s plans for a “modern suburban residential neighborhood” with parks, tennis courts, and auto services nearby. In 1913, according to an advertisement in the Evening Herald, the lots were selling for $ 37.50 with a “modern bungalow” for $ 3,000.
Vittal said the effort was slow. It wasn’t until the late 1950s and early 1960s, long after the Netherwoods died, that most homes were built.
There were a few early takers, however.
There was Daniel Jacob Cook, who was a member and sometimes leader of the town group. He was also a luthier and painter. WHH Walker, a man who made his money from mining in Wyoming, bought a large block of lots in Netherwood in 1913 to build a house and establish a vineyard.
Mexican boxer Benny Chavez bought 26 lots there in 1913 saying he âbelieves in Albuquerqueâ.
There were even colorful residents, like Mr. Frank Ault, owner of the Liberty Bar in the old town. Not to be confused with Frank B. Ault, a soldier from World War I and also a resident of Netherwood Park.
According to an article in the Albuquerque Journal of November 25, 1928, the owner of the bar was arrested by the federal government for smuggling. Federal ban officers raided Ault’s house on Netherwood Park Road and found 100 gallons of whiskey.
But that was not the end for Ault. His case was dismissed for a technicality related to the search warrant. Five years later, Ault rented out his house in Netherwood Park, which had six rooms, a large basement, trees all around and, most importantly, a SHOWER. But if you had dogs or kids, forget it. These were not allowed.
Today, the neighborhood still bears names in honor of Cutler and Morrow. After Cutler’s husband died in 1926, she moved into the guesthouse at their Netherwood Park property and rented out the main house. She lived there until her death in 1937. They are buried side by side in Fairview Cemetery.
Curious about how a city, street or building got its name? Email editor Elaine BriseÃ±o at [email protected] or 505-823-3965 as she continues her monthly journey in “What’s in a Name?” “