Until the late 1960s, that area just north of the Bernalillo/Sandoval County line and west of the Rio Grande was known as Los Corrales.
There was, in fact, a post office there in the late 19th century, but it only lasted from 1885 to 1899. The present Corrales post office was not established until 1966.
Early on, the area was referred to as Los Corrales (the corrals) because of the large number of animal pens at farms along the river. Corrales was a part of the Province of Tiguex when the Spaniards under Francisco Vásquez de Coronado (1510-1554) arrived in 1540, and it became a part of the Alameda Land Grant by about 1701, when a grant of land was made to Francisco Montes Vigil.
Many of the corrals are said to have been built by rancher Juan González, who was also a founder of the village of Alameda.
A significant part of the grant was sold to the Montoya family of Bernalillo in the 18th century. An early description of the area referred to the east boundary as the Rio Grande, but the river at the time flowed some two or three miles farther east than it does today.
As recently as 1955, Albuquerque newspaperman/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 considerably and is wedged between the urban expansion of Albuquerque to the south and Rio Rancho to the west.
Much of Corrales’s rural ambiance has been lost because of an influx of newcomers. Because residents feared annexation by either of the two larger neighboring cities, Corrales was incorporated in 1971 and established its own municipal government.
Its population in 2018 was 8,678.
The original community church was washed away by a flood in 1868, and the San Ysidro Church was constructed later the same year. It was used until it was de-sanctified in the early 1960s.
Today, the building is maintained by the Corrales Historical Society and is available for various community uses. It is located across the street from a landmark residence known as Casa San Ysidro or the Minge-Gutiérrez House, which is now a part of the Albuquerque Museum system and is regularly open for tours.
One of the village’s oldest landmarks, 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 the Best Local Author in the 2018 and ‘19 Rio Rancho Readers’ Choice contests. “Ellos Pasaron por Aqui” is translated as “They Passed by Here.”)
Don Bullis’s newest book, “No Manure on Main Street: An Historian’s Diary of Western Movies” is available from RioGrandeBooks.com.