Maisel's Indian Trading Post
Albuquerque, New Mexico
Maisel’s Indian Trading Post is located at 510 Central Ave. SW
in Albuquerque, NM right near the intersection of Historic US 66
and 5th St. NW. It is open Monday-Friday 9:00am-5:00pm. For
further information, call 505-242-6526.
Located in the heart of downtown Albuquerque, Maisel’s Indian
Trading Post has been selling Southwestern and Mexican curios
for over 65 years. Completed in 1939, the building was
celebrated for what Albuquerque Progress, the local business
magazine, described as its Indian Pueblo architecture. The
distinctive façade clearly signaled the building’s function to
tourists, making it a popular stopping place for souvenirs of
the Southwest, a role it continues to fulfill today.
Maurice Maisel built the trading post in the late-1930s after
the rerouting of Route 66 through Albuquerque. Mr. Maisel
selected architect John Gaw Meem, the leading proponent of the
Pueblo Revival style, to design the building. Mr. Maisel
advised Mr. Meem that he was “not content with the usual Indian
thing.” The flat-roofed, one-story building is located in the
middle of a commercial block. The front features large display
windows set on a base of carrara glass (a trade name for
pigmented structural glass) topped by a continuous panel of
murals of Southwestern Indians in ceremonial clothing.
Mr. Meem hired Olive Rush, a prominent artist of the period, to
design the murals depicting various aspects of American Indian
ceremonial life. The young artists, including Pablita Velarde,
Ben Quintana, Harrison Begay, and Pop Chalee, later became
highly regarded for their careers. The Maisel Trading Post was
unique in that it was the only Pueblo Deco building in
Albuquerque that employed work by Pueblo and Navajo artists.
The building’s front windows recede at the entry, forming a
large protected space 20 feet deep with additional display
windows. This protected space has a glazed terra cotta floor
with American Indian designs and the name "Maisel’s" inlaid in
front of the double wood-framed commercial doors.
1940s, the trading post had become the largest of its kind on
Route 66 and at one time employed over 300 American Indian
craftsmen onsite. The store closed after Mr. Maisel died in the
1960s. In the 1980s, Mr. Maisel’s grandson, Skip Maisel,
reopened the shop. It was listed in the National Register of
Historic Places in 1993.