Los Corrales originated from animal enclosures
Until the late 1960s, this area just north of the Bernalillo / Sandoval county line and west of the Rio Grande was known as Los Corrales.
There was actually a post office there at the end of the 19th century, but it only lasted from 1885 to 1899. Corrales’ current post office was not established until 1966.
At first, the area was called Los Corrales (the corrals) due to the large number of animal enclosures on farms along the river. Corrales was part of the province of Tiguex when the Spaniards of Francisco Vásquez de Coronado (1510-1554) arrived in 1540, and it became part of the Alameda land grant around 1701, when a land grant was was granted to Francisco Montes Vigil.
Most of the corrals are said to have been built by the herder Juan González, who was also one of the founders of the village of Alameda.
A significant part of the concession was sold to the Montoya de Bernalillo family in the 18th century. An early description of the area referred to the eastern border as the Rio Grande, but the river then flowed about two or three miles further east than it does today.
As recently as 1955, Albuquerque journalist and historian Howard Bryan (1920-2011) wrote that there was no village or town of Corrales (or Los Corrales). In recent years, however, the community has grown tremendously and is squeezed between the urban expansion of Albuquerque to the south and Rio Rancho to the west.
Much of Corrales’s rural vibe has been lost due to an influx of newcomers. Because residents feared annexation by one of the two larger neighboring towns, Corrales was incorporated in 1971 and established its own municipal government.
Its population in 2018 was 8,678 inhabitants.
The original community church was washed away in 1868, and the San Ysidro church was built later that same year. It was used until it was desecrated in the early 1960s.
Today the building is maintained by the Corrales Historical Society and is available for various community uses. It’s located across from an iconic residence known as Casa San Ysidro or the Minge-Gutiérrez House, which is now part of the Albuquerque Museum System and is regularly open for tours.
One of the oldest landmarks in the village, the Territorial House bar and restaurant, also known as Rancho de Corrales, was destroyed by fire in the summer of 2012.
(Don Bullis is a Rio Rancho resident, New Mexico centennial historian, and award-winning author. He was named Best Local Author in the 2018 and ’19 Rio Rancho Readers’ Choice competitions. “Ellos Pasaron por Aqui” translates to “They’ve been through here”.)
Don Bullis’ latest book, “No Manure on Main Street: An Historian’s Diary of Western Movies”, is available on RioGrandeBooks.com.