Writer Erna Fergusson observed in 1947 that Albuquerque, “sitting at the crossroads of the centuries,” had seen every phase of Southwestern life.
Now, at a real crossroads in time, the city’s 300th birthday, the state university’s press has chosen a storyteller rather than a professor to compress the long history of the city into a single volume. It is a wise choice. Bryan, a veteran of 42 years on The Albuquerque Tribune, transforms commercial and political history into a lively and often humorous story by interspersing colorful anecdotes. For example, in the early 1900s, the police station was not manned at night, so the bartender at the White Elephant Saloon took police calls and summoned the cops by whacking a metal pole, outside the saloon, with a cleaver. And visitor William Tecumseh Sherman suggested that the U.S. declare war on Mexico again; but, this time, force her to take back New Mexico.