Rout 66: Gone But Not Forgotten

The Don Lesman Chavez band in Albuquerque in the 1930s.

From the Archives of La Herencia:

Historic Route 66 crossed Albuquerque via Central Avenue. Today, the street continues to separate north from south Albuquerque. Many of the motels, diners and gas stations of east Central built in the ‘40s and ‘50s catered to Route 66 traffic. Central Avenue became a frequent stopping point for these road warriors. There were clubs along the avenue that entertained people passing through town. The Don Lesman Chavez band performed at the Old Town Society Hall on Route 66.

Go West Young Man

Headed east out of Albuquerque was Nine-Mile Hill. Route 66 passed right through such villages as Laguna Pueblo, Cubero, McCarty’s and Paraje. At Cubero, a Spanish-style motel and service station known as La Villa de Cubero welcomed such Route 66 guests as Ernest Hemingway, the famous Trapp family and Los Alamos scientists out on a holiday. In Grants, the Uranium Cafe took its name from the nearby uranium mines and it offered some of the best Mexican food on the New Mexico leg.

Last Stop in New Mexico

Gallup was New Mexico’s last major city on Route 66 and New Mexico’s hub for the movie industry from 1937 to 1964. R.E. Griffith built the El Rancho Hotel in 1937 and through his brother, D. W. Griffith, the well-known Hollywood director, attracted movie stars and directors to Gallup. The El Rancho featured the rustic style of a Western lodge with its two-story lobby, brick floors and large rough-cut beams. On the walls were Navajo rugs and trophy animal heads and furs. The Hollywood crowd made El Rancho Hotel its headquarters. During that era more than 20 movies that were filmed in Gallup.

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