Cline's Corners to the Old Longhorn Ranch
As you roll away from
Santa Rosa continuing your
journey down the Mother Road, look to the southwest for a 7,576
foot-high peak rising from the arid plains. The Cerro Pedernal Peak, meaning Flint Peak, is the site of numerous
prehistoric flint mines and quarries. Here, the ancient peoples made
tools and weapons from and traded the material with other Indian groups. Numerous artifacts have been found in the area including tools and arrow
heads. Stories of buried treasure and lost artifacts have caused the
summit to be pitted with the excavations of hopeful fortune hunters. At the base of peak is a natural spring that caused much disagreement for
possession during the early days of cattlemen.
landmark since 1934, Cline's Corners
has been pumping gas and selling souvenirs for over 70 years. However, it hasn’t always been at the same place. In the
beginning, Cline's Corners
was located in Lucy,
but, the location wasn’t good for owner Roy Cline.
Soon, he moved
the station to Route 66,
at the junction of Highway 6 and Highway 2. But then, in 1937, Route
was re-aligned north of his station, so Roy picked up and moved his
building again. At its final resting place along the ever
popular Route 66,
began to do a brisk business and Cline convinced Rand McNally to put
Clines Corners on their maps. For years, old-timers in the area laughed when
they remembered that Cline sold gasoline for ten cents a gallon and
water for a dollar a gallon. Water was obviously scarce in the
area in those days.
In 1939, Roy Cline sold
to a man named S. Lynn "Smitty” Smith and his wife, Helen. The Smiths
expanded and added the distinctive neon sign and the name continued to
stay on the maps.
In the meantime, Roy Cline opened
another business some 16 miles to the east of Cline's Corners. In
1945, the Flying C Ranch opened, which included a gas station, garage,
and a cafe, which continued to cater to Route 66 travelers.
Continuing to grow, Cline's Corners
added more and more employees and homes were built for them, which
continue to be used today. When Smitty died in 1961, the
business changed hands again. A post office
was added in 1964. Cline continued to run the Flying C Ranch until 1963, at which time, it
became Bowlin's Flying C Ranch. Claude M. Bowlin started trading with
American Indians in 1912. The family has since grown to 12 travel centers.
Today there are numerous people working at Cline's Corners
who continue to provide a rest stop for weary travelers in the same
location as it has been for decades. It has has expanded to over 30,000 square feet of retail and
restaurant space, which includes a full service restaurant and a fast
food venue. The vast majority of the space is allocated to New
Mexico's largest Gift Shop, which provides southwestern, New Mexican,
Native American, and other souvenirs, where visitors are
sure to find
a rattlesnake ashtray, a beaded Indian belt or a rubber tomahawk to
remember their journey. Just outside the door on either side of the
building, one can find two modern and nationally known brand
Convenience Stores and Gas Stations providing both gas and diesel
Unfortunately, what Clines Corners no longer provides is the friendly young man
who once filled up your tank with gasoline, washed your windows, and
could fix a flat tire. Today, Clines Corners is decidedly like so many
other large travel centers that sit aside the nation's many interstate
Clines Corners is located at Exit 218A north of I-40.
Clines Corners in the 1950s, vintage postcard.
Clines Corner today by Kathy Weiser-Alexander, January,
This image available for photo prints & downloads HERE.
Cline's Corners, at exit 208, on the north side of I-40 was once an old settlement called Wagonwheel. Originally a stop for covered wagons, it no doubt
could tell a story or two, but today, all that stands here are a few
buildings and a towing company.
Another few more miles down the road just at exit 203 are the ruins of the old Longhorn Ranch
on the south side of I-40. Once a favorite old
west stop along the Mother Road,
the owner has long since razed the buildings. All that’s left of the once
popular tourist attraction is the faded and twisted sign and a pile of
rubble. Nearby is a newer building that serves as a topless club, bar, and
restaurant. Rumor has it that the owner of the old Longhorn Ranch, razed
what was left it due to the club. The old Longhorn Ranch Motel appears to
be undergoing renovation for the use of the club.
Continue your journey into
by taking the frontage road on the north side of I-40 at Exit 203. As you
turn to the west, you'll pass by the abandoned Zia RV Park and Campground.
Though the sign is worn and faded, the campground has obviously not been
vacant for too many years, as it still appears on a number of campground
of America, updated March, 2017.
Clines Corners worth stopping for!;
Route 66 Association Newsletter, Summer, 1999
New Mexico Route 66
The Road Wanderer
of the Longhorn Ranch in its heydays.
All that's left of the old Longhorn Ranch today is a
portion of the sign and a pile of
debris by Kathy Weiser-Alexander, January,
Legends' General Store
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