Albuquerque vintage postcard showing a neon lit street.
Route 66 is brightly lit through
New Mexico, thanks to the efforts of the Route 66 Neon
Restoration Project. Managed by the
Route 66 Association, partnering with the
New Mexico Historic
Preservation Division and the National Park Service Route 66 Corridor
Preservation Office, more than ten signs have been restored to date.
From the wonderful TeePee Curio
Tucumcari to the wild and
crazy neon Rotosphere in
Moriarty, the beauty and
artistry of classic neon is once again dazzling and delighting Route
66 enthusiasts throughout New Mexico.
War II, companies believed advertising with neon signs helped their
businesses. Before long streets were lined with a palette of
sapphire blue, ruby red, sizzling orange and emerald greens, promising
all manner of adventure, home cookin’ and other travel services.
Cowboys whirling lassos, sombreros sitting atop Mexican restaurants,
teepees providing shelter for the evening, cactus, longhorn steers,
and all types of neon critters adorned the night, calling out to
travelers to stop and experience something unique.
the good ole’ days. But over the years, one by one, these once
glorious signs began to blink into darkness, leaving little more than
a peeling façade, where once brilliant colors harkened.
When the project began, applications
were accepted for the restoration projects. Though businesses owners
were at first skeptical that there could be a government program that
was intended to directly help mom and pop businesses, many of them
were pleasantly surprised when their applications were approved.
Over the next couple of years, the Route
66 Association got to work, restoring ten vintage neon signs that has
resulted in business owners, as well as entire communities, renewing
their pride in their Mother Road heritage. Today,
Route 66 travelers are thrilled by the evening ride through these
New Mexico cities with their flashing, spinning,
rotating, and whirling neon.
that have been restored are listed below, along with the dates they were
Theater (1941), Albuquerque.
Motel (1948), Albuquerque.
de Anayas Restaurant (1951), Moriarty.
The Sun &
Sand Motel (1965),
Restaurant (1961), Tucumcari
Motel (1955), Tucumcari