On May 31, the New Mexico Architectural Foundation hosted its 2014 Annual Meeting at the Batten House in Albuquerque, originally the Juan Cristobal Armijo “New Homestead”. After the meeting, participants received a guided tour of the property, which is normally not open to the public (benefits of membership!).
The historic Juan Cristobal Armijo “New Homestead” and the contents of the House were given to the Albuquerque Museum Foundation through the Lucia v.B. Batten Trust and the estate’s Trustee.
In 2007, rehabilitation of the hacienda was completed with Kells + Craig Architects’ services, and the Foundation moved to its headquarters, now called “Batten House.” Built in 1875, it is one of the very few territorial haciendas remaining in New Mexico.
Baroness Lucia von Borosini was born in Chicago to German nobility. When she was very young, her family moved to Pasadena, California where she spent her childhood. When Lucia’s third husband, Edmund Engel, was hired as Albuquerque’s City Manager the couple moved from Pasadena to Albuquerque.
In 1952 Lucia purchased the historic property in Los Griegos—the Juan Cristobal Armijo “New Homestead”—and purchased it from then owners Elizabeth and A.E. Borrell who had renamed the property “Casa del Lago”.
In 1964, Mrs. Engel married Philadelphia advertising mogul and “mover and shaker” Harry Batten; they divided their time between his homes in Philadelphia and her estate in Albuquerque. For the next several years, they embarked on a plan to restore the estate’s extensive gardens and build a library adjacent to the hacienda.
Mrs. Batten’s book collection had outgrown the original library inside the hacienda. Unfortunately, Batten died in 1966 before he could see the new addition. But nearly 100 years after Juan Cristobal built the original hacienda, the library was added to the property.
Lucia v.B. Batten lived at her beloved “Outlook Ranch” until her death in January 2005. Mrs. Batten’s wishes—through her bequest—were that the property and contents of the house be given to the Albuquerque Museum Foundation and that the Foundation occupy and maintain Outlook Ranch in perpetuity. She left a sizable securities fund to insure that her wishes could be honored by the Foundation.