Marker In old - Town Plaza Commemorating the Founding of Albuquerque There are two Albuquerques. Historic Old Town founded seventy years before the signing of the Declaration of Independence--and the new Modern City, one hundred and seventy - four years later. The two places, so different in tempo and appearance, are joined by Central Avenue ( U. S. Highway Route 66). Nestling at the base of the beautiful Sandia Mountains the present Albuquerque is spread out over 100 square miles with a population approximating 100.000. All around is the fascination of New Mexico and the Picturesque Indian Country.