Bottger Mansion History
The property of the Bottger Mansion, now our Albuquerque, New Mexico bed and breakfast, can be traced back to the arrival of the Conquistadores in 1706, as part of the land grant to the Armijo family. A 40-room adobe house was originally constructed on the site, and until 1845, it served as the residence of the governor, Manuel Armijo, when New Mexico was a territory of Mexico.
In 1893, Charles Bottger came from New Jersey, where his family owned a store, and became the manager of the Post Exchange Hotel owned by Tom Post. It was located across what is now San Felipe Street in an area called “El Jaral.” Charles Bottger married Tom Post’s step-daughter, Miguela, and acquired the property, which was quite extensive. In approximately 1908 the adobe house was demolished to make way for the family’s home, the Bottger Mansion.
Charles Bottger wanted his new home to contain the most modern conveniences. Designed by local architect Edward Buxton Cristy in the American Foursquare style, it was the first residence in Albuquerque to have gas lighting, and the original gas pipes are still inside the ceilings. There were speaking tubes to all the rooms, pressed-tin ceilings in the three main rooms (the parlor, the Route 66 Suite, and the Cristy Room), and a dumb waiter to the upper floor. The Bottger Mansion is one of very few homes in Albuquerque to have a basement, which was the coal cellar for the central heating system. When it was built, the Bottger Mansion was called the “Pride of Old Town.” In the mid-1930’s, a Bottger grandson painted a mural of New Mexico mountains around the upper wall of the Edward Buxton Cristy Room. Charles Bottger was the first to purchase an automobile in Albuquerque.
Charles Bottger died in 1914 and as the family fortunes declined, Miguela opened the Mansion as a boarding house. In the 1940’s, Machine Gun Kelly was being hunted by lawmen everywhere. Kelly, his girlfriend, and his gang were headed back to Memphis from California and checked into the Bottger under assumed names. They had dyed their hair and purchased new clothes to help conceal their identities. After several days, the owners became suspicious when they noticed that the group always sent a neighborhood boy out to purchase the meals and bring them back to the Bottger Mansion. The police were notified but were overheard by one of the gang members. They gang left just ahead of the law but was soon captured. In 1955, a young Elvis Presley, along with Bill Black and Scotty Moore, performed two shows in Albuquerque at the Armory on Gold Avenue and stayed at the Bottger Mansion, leaving the next day for a show in Amarillo. In the late 1950’s, a prominent Italian family rented the Bottger Mansion for a large wedding. Frank Sinatra was a guest and performed in the courtyard after the wedding dinner was served. Janis Joplin stayed here in the 1960’s.
Pieces of the Bottger property were gradually sold off, and the family donated the land for the San Felipe School just to the north. In approximately 1970, the Bottger Mansion remained vacant for several years and then was sold outside the family. Over the years the open front portal was closed in and the house became an art gallery, restaurant, beauty parlor, and several other business ventures. It became a bed and breakfast in 1989.
The 1910 Bottger Mansion remains virtually in its original form, escaping the popular Pueblo Revival renovation. Located on Historic Route 66, the Bottger Mansion is on the National Register of Historic Places and is the only lodging in the Old Town Historic District. Read more about the history of Old Town here.