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Moriarty to Tijeras on the Salt Missions Trail

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When traveling Route 66 from Cline's Corners, New Mexico, your next stop will be Moriarty, home of the Fighting Pintos. Established in 1887, Moriarty was named for Michael Moriarty, one of its original homesteaders. In its early days, most of its residents were dry land farmers. Still dependent upon area farming, today's more sophisticated farmers utilize large pivotor irrigation rigs to raise alfalfa, feed corn, wheat, pinto beans, pumpkins and other crops.

 

In 1903 the Santa Fe Central depot was completed and today traces of the old railroad bed can still be seen. The metal-sided depot, one of four such structures on the main line from Santa Fe to Torrance, continues to stand today.

 

Later known as the New Mexico Central Railroad, the line was absorbed by the Santa Fe Railroad in 1926. The depot was replaced by a small frame building and a wooden boxcar in 1949. The original depot passed through several hands over the years serving as a feed store, a workshop, and a Catholic Church.

 

 

Crosley Standard Oil Station in Moriarty, New Mexico

The Crossley Standard Oil Gas Station in Moriarty

continues to stand, last known to be utilized

as a shoe store. Vintage photo courtesy New Mexico

Route 66 Association.

 

Moriarty became a part of Route 66 in 1938 with the re-alignment of Route 66. The small town, like many others along Route 66, rose to the occasion with a number of motor courts, restaurants and other services. Many of these continue to stand and operate in today.

 

As you first enter town you will see the Sunset Motel and the last operating Whiting Brothers Service Station on the right side of the road. Across the highway is the Sands Motel.

 

In the southwest, Whiting Brothers gas stations were a familiar site along Route 66, a tradition that continued until the 1990’s when the gas station chain ended. The old Whiting Brothers station in Moriarty is the only one that is left thanks to Sal Lucero, a lifelong employee of Whiting Brothers. In the 1980's, Lucero bought the station from the Whiting Brothers and never bothered to change the name. Today it continues to stand as a tribute to the heydays of Route 66.

 

A bit further down you’ll see the Boot Shoe Shop, which was once home to the old Crossley Service Station. Across the street, stands the old Yucca and Cactus Motels, long closed, as well as the Lariat and Ponderosa Motels, which continue to operate to this day. While in Moriarty, be sure to check out the El Comedor Restaurant’s new restored "rotosphere.” Consisting of two vertically counter-rotating spiked hemispheres, the entire unit rotates horizontally above a pole. Each of the 8-foot long rainbow-colored spikes are individually outlined in neon. The rotosphere is believed to be the only operational one of its kind along the entire length of Route 66 thanks to the Route 66 Neon Restoration Project. The project, managed by the New Mexico Route 66 Association, partnering with the New Mexico Historic Preservation Division and the National Park Service Route 66 Corridor Preservation Office, has restored the ratosphere as well as ten other vintage Route 66 signs across New Mexico. The El Comedor is located at 1005 Route 66.

 

While in Moriarty you can also stop at the Moriarty Historical Society Museum, housed in the town’s first fire station. The museum focuses on the growth and development of the town during its early railroad days. Located at 777 Old U.S. Route 66, admission is free.

 

As you leave Moriarty, Route 66 becomes Highway 333 and shares the road with the Salt Missions Trail Scenic Byway to Tijeras. Along this stretch some original architecture remains as well as the spirit of Route 66 at the many modern family-operated businesses along the old route. Leaving the flatlands, the byway begins to rise in elevation as you near Edgewood, on the very edge of the mountains, as its name implies.

 

 

 

Continued Next Page

 

 

 

   
 

 

Whiting Brothers gas station in Moriarty, New Mexico

This old Whiting Brothers gas station was one of the last

one left on Route 66.

 

El Comedor Restaurant in Moriarty, New Mexico

The El Comedor Restaurant continues to stand in Moriarty,

December, 2004, Kathy Weiser.

 

Moriarty New Mexico ratosphere

The rotosphere over the El Comedor restaurant in

Moriarty, New Mexico, photo by Johnnie V,

courtesy New Mexico Route 66 Association

 

The Sands Motel in Moriarty, New Mexico

The Sands Motel in Moriarty continues to cater to Route 66 customers today, December, 2004, Kathy Weiser.

 

 

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