Werner-Gilchrist House

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to: navigation, search
Werner-Gilchrist House
Werner-Gilchrist House, Albuquerque NM.jpg
Werner-Gilchrist House, May 2010
Location 202 Cornell Dr. SE, Albuquerque, New Mexico
Coordinates 35°04′44.2″N 106°37′09.3″W / 35.078944°N 106.619250°W / 35.078944; -106.619250Coordinates: 35°04′44.2″N 106°37′09.3″W / 35.078944°N 106.619250°W / 35.078944; -106.619250
Built 1908
Demolished 2011
NRHP Reference # 82003320[1]
NMSRCP # 880
Significant dates
Added to NRHP August 2, 1982
Designated NMSRCP June 4, 1982[2]

The Werner-Gilchrist House was a historic house located in the University Heights neighborhood of Albuquerque, New Mexico. Built in 1908 as one of the earliest structures on the East Mesa, it was considered a pioneering building in Albuquerque's 20th-century suburban growth.[3] It was added to the New Mexico State Register of Cultural Properties[4] and the National Register of Historic Places in 1982.[1] After standing empty for decades and reaching an advanced state of disrepair, the house was finally demolished in November 2011.[5]


The house was built in 1908 by Laura Werner—an employee of real estate developer and future mayor D.K.B. Sellers[6]—and her son-in-law Ralph Gilchrist. Located on a corner lot in Sellers' newly platted University Heights Addition, the house was originally surrounded by empty scrubland with no other buildings nearby except for the University of New Mexico campus to the northwest. Gilchrist and Werner died in 1920 and 1930, respectively, but Gilchrist's widow (and Werner's daughter) Nora Gilchrist continued to live in the house until her own death in 1981.[7]

After remaining vacant for decades, the decrepit house came to the attention of the city in 2005 when its owners applied for a demolition permit. Recognizing the historical importance of the building, the city denied the permit and applied to have the house designated as a protected city landmark.[8] However, the continuing deterioration of the home made it cost-prohibitive to renovate[3] and it remained in limbo until safety concerns brought the issue to a head in 2011. The city ended up issuing a demolition permit, and the house was razed beginning on November 19, 2011. Three UNM architecture graduate students, Bron Heintz, Hilary Noll and Bailey Porter, intervened in the conventional demo-to-landfill process of building demolition by carefully disassembling and salvaging as much of the building as possible, and diverted over half of the materials from the waste stream for reuse.[9]


The Werner-Gilchrist House was an example of the "hipped box" style, with a wood-framed hip roof and dormer windows on all four sides.[3] The house had 16-inch thick adobe bearing walls resting on a stacked stone foundation, with wooden door and window frames and trim. A wide entrance hall ran the length of the first floor, while the second floor consisted of a single large room.[10]

In popular culture[edit]

Like many locations in Albuquerque, the Werner-Gilchrist House made an appearance in Breaking Bad, where it portrayed a crackhouse.[6] Before its demolition, the owner of the house offered to let it be blown up on the show, but the producers declined.[5]


  1. ^ a b National Park Service (2009-03-13). "National Register Information System". National Register of Historic Places. National Park Service. 
  2. ^ "New Mexico State and National Registers". New Mexico Historic Preservation Commission. Retrieved 2013-03-13. 
  3. ^ a b c Sanchez, Isabel (November 8, 2005). "Neighbors Divided On Historic Home's Future". Albuquerque Journal. NM. p. D1. 
  4. ^ "Properties by County" (PDF). New Mexico Department of Cultural Affairs. Retrieved 22 May 2011. 
  5. ^ a b Holland, Kim (November 23, 2011). "Historical landmark coming down". KRQE News. Retrieved 31 January 2012. 
  6. ^ a b Carr, Jessica Cassyle (October 27, 2011). "The Architectural Undead". The Alibi. NM. Retrieved 31 January 2012. 
  7. ^ Linthicum, Leslie (September 4, 2011). "Historic Home Now on Demolition Row". Albuquerque Journal. NM. p. A1. Retrieved 31 January 2012. 
  8. ^ Sanchez, Isabel (January 12, 2006). "'Pioneer' Called a Landmark - 1908 Home Gets City's Designation". Albuquerque Journal. NM. p. C2. 
  9. ^ GONZALES, CAROLYN (26 March 2012). "Werner Gilchrist House Deconstruction Focus of Exhibition". UNM Today. Retrieved 25 April 2012. 
  10. ^ Sanchez, Isabel (December 2, 2005). "This Old House May Escape the Wrecking Ball". Albuquerque Journal. NM. p. B1.