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Ghost Towns Beyond Tucumcari

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As you head west out of Tucumcari on old Route 66, the highway parallels the railroad through a combination of cultivated fields and prairies filled with yucca and bunch grass. Sandstone outcroppings and rock ridges can be glimpsed among the cattle grazing in the pastures. Also along this stretch onwards to Santa Rosa are several old ghost towns on both sides of the highway including Montoya, Newkirk, and Cuervo.

Montoya

Some 22 miles later you will reach the defunct village of Montoya, straddling both sides of old Highway 66. As you near the ghost town of Montoya you will pass by an old cemetery on the south side of the road.

 

This town was born as a loading point for the Southern Pacific Railroad in 1902; but, even before the steam engine pushed through, there were several villagers living at this place they then called Roundtree.

 

 

Montoya, New Mexico

The old buildings of Montoya on the north side of Route 66 are now surrounded by industrial style buildings on a private ranch. Kathy Weiser-Alexander, July, 2013. This image available for photo prints & editorial downloads HERE!

 

On the north side of Route 66 are a couple of old buildings that now sit behind a fence on a private ranch. Not too many years ago, these buildings were surrounded by nothing but wild prairie. Today, the few remaining buildings on the north side of old road are almost hidden in between several industrial style buildings.

 

Still standing the test of time, is an old two story rock house, built by Sylvan R. Hendren and Maria Ignacia Ulibarri Hendren. The Hendren's great grand daughter, Ramona Taylor, tells us that, as with many pioneering couples of the time, her great grandparents helped settle the territory of New Mexico. Taylor says the old two story stone structure was a four room house affectionately called "Casa Alta" which means "tall/high house." The living room and kitchen were on the first level and two large bedrooms on the second story. A large cistern sat behind the home.

 

Old Hendren stone house  in Montoya, New Mexico, by Kathy Weiser - 2004

Hendren home in the ghost town of Montoya, New Mexico, December, 2004, Kathy Weiser.

 

Hendren Home, Montoya, New Mexico

The Hendren home today, Kathy Weiser-Alexander, July, 2014. This image available for photo prints & editorial downloads HERE!

 

 

 

When Route 66 pushed through Montoya, several services were made available to those early travelers including Richardson’s Store and Sinclair Station. Opening in 1925, this old store continued to do business until the mid 1970's when its owner passed away. During the Mother Road's heyday, it was a popular stopping point. You can still see what remains of this old mercantile beyond a chain link fence, where the old gas pumps stood several years ago, but, are gone today. Nearby, is an old building sporting the words "Cold Beer” painted across its side. With two tall concrete posts in front of the building, this also appears to have been a gas station-store. Interestingly, east of the Cold Beer building is an old-fashioned wooden teeter-totter. In between is a large foundation suggesting this might have been a school once upon a time.

 

West of Montoya, the old highway rides the plains dotted with juniper, mesquite, and more falling buildings for the next 12 miles, until your reach yet another ghost town Newkirk. It is along this stretch of the old highway that you will pass over what was the Goodnight-Loving Trail where cowboys once herded thousands of head of cattle northward to markets in Denver, Colorado and Cheyenne, Wyoming.

 

 

No more Cold Beer in Montoya, New Mexico

No more cold beer served here, July, 2013, Kathy-Weiser-Alexander.

This image available for photo prints & editorial downloads HERE!

 

Richardsons Store in Montoya, New Mexico

Richard's Store once did a thriving business along Route 66, July, 2013, Kathy Weiser-Alexander. Since this photo was taken, the roof collapsed in October 2014, and it's not near as "cool" as it used to be.

This image available for photo prints & editorial downloads HERE!

 

Newkirk

Originally known as Conant, this old settlement changed its name when the railroad came through in 1901. The new name came from a local resident who originated from Newkirk, Oklahoma.

Growing slowly, the town sprouted several new businesses when Route 66 came through. In the 1930's it had a population of about 240 but had already started to fall by the mid-1940's, when it only supported some 115 residents. However, at this time it boasted four gas stations, two restaurants, a trading post and a few cabins to service the travelers of the Mother Road.

 

As you enter town you will see the ruins of the old Shamrock gas station and a faded tavern once known as C and S Bar, or Carlos’ place. Just beyond are several falling down shacks and a broken up wooden train car. Back in the old days, these were often made into rudimentary homes.

 

Next, you'll see what remains of Wilkerson’s Store and Gulf Gas station, which survived the I-40 bypass all the way up until 1989. Near here is also a unidentified falling down motel and a small little building with the strangest sign in the window. It says: "Figural Bottles,” which are bottles shaped like other items, such as a pig, a violin, a fish, etc. Usually these are antiques and this was probably an antique store at one time.

 

 

Continued Next Page

 

 

  Newkirk, New Mexico Post Office, Gas Station, and Store

Newkirk Post Office, Gas Station, and Store. Kathy Weiser-Alexander, July, 2013.

This image available for photo prints & editorial downloads HERE!

 

Wilkerson's Store and Gulf Gas Station in Newkirk, New Mexico

Wilkerson's Store and Gulf Gas Station, July, 2013, Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

This image available for photo prints & editorial downloads HERE!

 

Newkirk, New Mexico Antique Store

Antique Store featuring figural bottles, July, 2013, Kathy Weiser-Alexander.

This image available for photo prints & editorial downloads HERE!

 

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From Legends' General Store

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