Straddling the border between
New Mexico is the forgotten
of Glenrio. Once a monument
along the boom and bust highway of
it now remains home to only the critters and the blowing tumble weeds of
the vast prairie.
In 1901 the
Rock Island and Pacific Railroad came through the area and two years later
born. The name
which stems from the English word "valley” and the Spanish word for river,
is neither in a valley nor along a river.
the region was opened to small farmers, who settled on choice 150-acre
plots and a year later the
Rock Island and Gulf Railway established a station at Glenrio. The settlement began to bustle with cattle and freight shipments. Initially the area was primarily populated by large cattle ranches but
as time passed much of the surrounding land was planted in wheat and
sorghum and the farming expansion was responsible for most of the
growth of the area population.
office was first established on the
New Mexico side of the
community, but, the mail arrived at the railroad depot located on the
Texas side. Sitting in
its precarious location crossing
New Mexico, Glenrio
became the subject of a long battle between both states for tax
New Mexico Post
November, 2008, Kathy Weiser-Alexander.
This image available for photo prints &
By 1920, Glenrio
had a hotel, a hardware store, and a land office, as well as several
grocery stores, service stations, and cafes. A newspaper, the Glenrio
Tribune, was published from 1910 to 1934. There were no
bars on the
Texas side of the community,
since Deaf Smith County was dry, and no service stations on the
New Mexico side because of
that state's higher gasoline tax.
prosperity of the 1920's politicians and entrepreneurs decided that America
needed a national highway system, and a decade later
was born. In 1938, just months after the final pavement through
Llano Estacado (the Staked Plains)
Route 66 was finished, John Steinbeck’s The Grapes of Wrath was
Glenrio for three weeks.
New Mexico, and 10 miles from the
Chicago-LA midpoint of
Route 66, Glenrio became a popular stopping place for
travelers and a "welcome station” station was built near the state line.
along the line a new post office was built on the
Texas side of Glenrio.
In the 1940s, the
highway quickly became a supply line for a nation at war. In the post-war
boom of the 1950s
became "America’s Main Street” as families piled into their chrome-laden
two-tone Impalas, traveling to exotic vacation spots like the Grand Canyon
permanent population never rose over about thirty people, the town
survived with its tourist based businesses catering to the many travelers
along Route 66. In 1955, the small town suffered a severe blow when the Rock Island Depot
was closed. But, the town was doomed to extinction when Interstate 40 was
built, bypassing the small community.
The Ehresman family, who
operated a combination grocery store, filling station and tourist shop
pulled up roots and moved their business to
New Mexico, five miles to the west.
Endee, now too, is an abandoned
town. Charles Jones moved his cafe and filling station north to the
bypass in Oldham County,
By 1985 only two residents remained in the
small town and the
post office was the only business open. It too has long since
Today, the town is only visited by those
travelers wishing to relive the history of old
Route 66. The ghost
town remains home to the long closed Little Juarez Cafe, that looks like
a bricked over old Valentine
Diner, but, is really just a similar
looking building. The dusty collection of
empty buildings also includes the old motel, a gas station and post
Glenrio’s old main street,
which still stands intact, continues on to old
a dirt road following the old
Rock Island and Pacific Railroad right of way. Alternatively,
you can return to I-40, where you will see an old gas station at the
Glenrio is located in extreme
northwest Deaf Smith County,
and along the eastern border of Quay County,
To get to
while traveling west along I-40, you will take exit 369 off of I-40 (Endee
exit), turn right at the stop, and left onto the north frontage road.
traveling eastbound on I-40, you can take the
Exit 361. Note that the majority of the road from
is dirt and gravel.
of America, updated May,