Route 66

Exhibit in the Center for Southwest Research / Fall 2016

Decal, Albuquerque, Crossroads of History, from Ward Hicks Advertising Printing Samples Coll.,  MSS 411 BC, CSWR
The NM Route 66 Exhibit
CSWR, Zimmerman Library, UNM
Ever wonder about those confusing Route 66 signs around Albuquerque and across New Mexico?  Some going North, others going West?  How can that be?  Come to the Route 66 exhibit in Zimmerman Library and see how that came about. 
This year is the 90th anniversary of Route 66 (1926-2016), which for decades was the major highway across the United States, as well as through the heart of New Mexico, and Albuquerque itself.  In 2008 the Center for Southwest Research, at UNM, became a member of the National Park Service Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program and as such was designated as the national repository for New Mexico’s Route 66 history.  The mission of the national repositories is to make materials accessible to researchers and the public for the purpose of education, preservation, and management of the historic Route 66 corridor.  Ten other partnering institutions along the route include:  Autry National Center (CA); Baxter Springs Heritage Center (KS); Illinois State Library; MO State University Special Collections; MO University of Science and Technology;  State Historical Society of MO Research Center - Rolla; Northern AZ University - Cline Library; OK Historical Society; OK State University; and Panhandle - Plains Historical Society (TX).
In keeping with this role, the CSWR has prepared an exhibit about life and travel along Route 66 in New Mexico - with material from over 25 of its archival collections.  Route 66 was exciting for the travelers but Native Americans, Hispanics, Anglo Americans, African Americans and other groups also lived and worked along the road.  On display are a variety of rare photographs, postcards and pamphlets with views of local people, businesses and scenes along the way.  There are neon sign drawings and work orders from the Zeon Sign Company (Electrical Products Co, Albuquerque) for the Liberty Café on Central and Gallup’s Thunderbird Lodge, on Route 66.  Also included are John Gaw Meem’s 1937 specifications for Maisel’s Store on West Central, as well as photos by Paul Secord of Maisel’s priceless Native American murals.  Another display includes the 1946 remodeling plans by Gordon Ferguson (SMPC Architects, Albuquerque) for the Court Café on North Fourth Street, on the pre-1937 Route 66.  Also showing are the drawings of the De Anza Motor Lodge on East Central by George Pearl.  Maps from the 1930s show the turns and changes of the highway, while oral histories and songs reveal the thoughts and memories of those days.  It is really fun, too, to see the old menus from area cafes and restaurants, when a hearty meal only cost .50 cents and bus tokens were .10 cents! 
Nancy Brown Martinez, CSWR, Curator
Jennifer Eggleston, CSWR, Assistant Curator
Exhibit co-sponsored by Dr. Audra Bellmore and the John Gaw Meem Archive of Southwestern Architecture
 Exhibit Poster CSWR