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News from 2016-2017

Posted: September 20, 2016

Longfellow Students Travel Along El Camino Real

The historic trail wraps around the school's front yard, where students walk in the footsteps of explorers, settlers, soldiers and missionaries.

Students at Longfellow Elementary walk outside their school and into history.

Celebrating the Royal Road through Martineztown
10 a.m.-2 p.m. Tuesday, Sept. 27
Longfellow Elementary School and Martineztown Park

The historic El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro (the Royal Road to the Interior Lands) wraps around their front yard, a trail where they can walk in the footsteps of Spanish, Mexican and American explorers, settlers, soldiers and missionaries.

The stretch of the trail that cuts through Martineztown, one of Albuquerque’s most historic neighborhoods, and right in front of the elementary school turns a modern-day stroll into a journey back in time. It is dotted with plants, interpretive signs, public art, tiles, and historical design elements that give today's explorers – including the kids at Longfellow – a glimpse into the lives of those who hiked along that very trail hundreds of years ago.

El Camino Real de Tierra Adentro is a national historic trail that stretches from El Paso to Santa Fe. The portion that goes along Edith Blvd. in front of Longfellow and the Martineztown Park was developed into an educational resource through a partnership with APS, the City of Albuquerque, Citizens Information Committee of Martineztown and the National Park Service. The project by landscape architects MRWM includes a renovated playground, water-use reduction and a large public plaza.

The park and trail will be dedicated on Tuesday, Sept. 27, as part of the 100th birthday of the National Park Service. Families, neighbors and history buffs are invited to join Longfellow students and staff as well as APS Superintendent Raquel Reedy, Mayor R.J. Berry and others as they celebrate the rich history of the trail which often serves as an outdoor classroom for students and others interested in learning about the past.

The trail represents a difficult six-month journey of more than 1,600 miles that passed through nine Mexican states and nine counties in Texas and New Mexico, their names and distances from Mexico City etched into the sidewalk along Edith Blvd. 

The landscaping that surrounds the path represents the four ecosystems the original trail passed through and includes information and representations of the plants and animals that were native to those areas.

As the trail wraps around the Martineztown Park and alongside Longfellow’s playing fields, it also highlights narratives from some of the earliest explorers. For example, one informational plaque recalls what Alfonso de Benavides wrote in 1630 about bison: “Their meat is more delicious and wholesome than that of our cows…Their hide is not like that of our cattle, but covered with curly wool like a very fine fleece. Extremely large and good rough cloths are made of it.”

Next Tuesday’s celebration will kick off at 10 a.m. with an open house at the school, followed by the official dedication at 11 a.m. in the park. As part of the ceremony, Longfellow students will recreate the history of El Camino Real and sing in both English and Spanish.

After the dedication, the public is invited back to Longfellow, where students will sing happy birthday to the National Park Service and enjoy birthday cake and refreshments.

Entertainment will be provided by guest student performers including mariachis and folklorico dancers from Albuquerque High and flamenco dancers from Tierra Adentro charter school.

Students also will have an opportunity to meet with park rangers, artist and others as they learn more about the trail and the National Park Service.