Route 66: New Mexico

Blue Swallow Motel
Tucumcari NM

Listed on the National Register of Historic Places and one of the longest continuously operated motels along New Mexico's slice of Route 66 is the Blue Swallow Motel. Built in 1939 by W. A. Huggins, the motel was an immediate success as hundreds of travelers heading west stopped for the night.

Unfortunately, with gas and tire rationing during World War II, the motels’ visitors began to decline. The best known of the owners over the years was a woman named Lillian Redman, who operated the hotel for almost 40 years beginning in 1958. Though she faced numerous "ups and downs,” she continued to keep the motel open even after Route 66 was bypassed by I-40, continuing to operate the motel into her nineties.

Quote from: Legends of America

Route 66 Monument
Tucumcari NM


The "Route 66 Monument", is a more recent addition, a semi-whimsical tribute to the Mother Road. Artist Tom Coffin was commissioned by Tucumcari, the New Mexico Highway Dept., and the NM Arts Commission to create the sculpture, set on a sloping base that looks a bit like a Tex-Mex temple made of sandstone tires and serpentine, two-lane road outlines. Dedicated in 1997, it’s topped with a chrome, Cadillac-like fin, tail lights, and a pair of tubular Hippie Font sixes — all headed west.

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TeePee Curios
Tucumcari NM

The best part of Route 66 is driving among uniquely american icons of the 20th century. There are few chain stores, few major brands, few intrusions of 21st century living. There are however lots of one-off family-owned stores. Those which have survived the assault from the Interstate Highway system continue doing what they've always done, albeit under challenging conditions. However, out of their struggles comes character and great stories.
One of the best examples of what you'll find is TeePee Curious.

Mike and Betty Callens currently own and operate TeePee Curios and if I remember correctly they've been running it since they bought it back in 1985 from his uncle. Mike was born in Tucumcari but grew up in Southern California though his family would return every summer along Route 66 to visit so he has many memories to share. I mention this because while TeePee Curios is a family-owned souvenir shop with distinctive style and amazing neon, it's also had a recent impact on american culture.

Quote from: Waymarking

La Cita - Mexican Hat on Route 66
Tucumcari NM

Tucumcari has been touted as the best concentration of retro-Route 66 buildings on what's left of the old highway. Whether something is an original or a landmark-come-lately can be hard to discern, but the river of eager visiting photographers flows undeterred up and down this stretch of road.
Take the big sombrero atop La Cita Restaurant. Was it here in the 1950s? Doesn't matter, it looks good and that's enough (the restaurant's light-up sign on a pole is equally kitschy). The restaurant itself goes through occasional dormant periods, but is always available for pictures.

Quote from: Roadside America

Route 66 Auto Museum
Santa Rosa NM

James "Bozo" Cordova grew up along Route 66 and he has always been interested in cars. Thus began a life long interest in all things that go vroom, vroom. He started out with small model cars and worked his way up to the real thing. Of course in the process he started a Route 66 business, Bozo's Garage, in Santa Rosa. Three years ago Bozo needed a place to put his extensive collection so he started the Route 66 Auto Museum. There's enough hot pink, chrome and fins to satisfy any vintage car buff.

Quote from: The Road Wanderer