About Montoya, New Mexico
Facts, Trivia and useful information
Elevation: 4,321 ft (1,317 m). Population: n⁄a (2010).
Time zone: Mountain (MST): UTC minus 7 hours. Summer (DST) MDT (UTC-6).
Montoya is a very small village, an unincorporated community, that is located in Quay County New Mexico.
This part of New Mexico has been inhabited for the last 11,000 years; and stone tools discovered at Clovis NM are among the oldest in North America.
What is now Montoya was explored by the Spanish, as "Nueva México" was part of their American colonies. The local natives were the Querecho Apaches.
After the Mexican - American War (1846 - 48), the territory became part of the U.S.; at that time the native Kiowa, Kiowa Apache and Comanche controlled the region and repelled any settlement attempts until subdued by the U.S. Army during the mid-1870s.
Soon cattle ranches were established in the arid region, and the CRI&G Railroad (Chicago, Rock Island and Gulf Railroad) laid its tracks into the area.
The railway selected a spot located roughly halfway between Tucumcari and Santa Rosa as a station for a crew of workers, and that is how the future town of Montoya was born. It is nestled between Pajarito Creek and Arroyo Las Palomas Creek, a good source of water.
The name Montoya
The surname Montoya comes from Spain, and was originally a Basque family name. Interestingly it was adopted by the Spanish Jews (Sepharadic) who were forced to convert to Catholicism by the Spanish Inquisition. The Sepharadic jews of Ávala adopted the name because it sombined the words "Monte" (mountain) and "Yah" (the name of God, Jehova): "Mount of Jehova".
Many then fled to the New World in the 1500's escaping persecution by the Inquisition and assimilated or hid among the Spaniards in Mexico and New Mexico.
Its first post office was named Rountree (1901) after its first postmaster Henry K. Rountree, but soon after became Montoya (1902). Perhaps the Railroad (which arrived in 1902) suggested the name change.
As the initial settlement grew, it attracted G.W. Richardson, from Missouri, who opened his now historic store in 1908.
The increased use of cars created the need for better roads and New Mexico began working on the road between Tucumcari and Santa Rosa in 1918. The highway workers were stationed at Montoya. In 1926 the US Highway system was created and Route 66 was aligned through Montoya along the previous state highway. A growing number of tourists began stopping at Montoya for gasoline and food.
The arid conditions in the 1920s and the Great Depression in the 1930s hurt ranchers in the area. After World War II business prospered due to the large volume of traffic along Route 66. However the building of Interstate 40, which began in 1956 led to the demise of the small town as cars sped past the interchange that led to it.
Today Montoya has a few scattered homes, the remains of Richardson Store and some ruined buildings. I-40 loops past the south side of village.
Where to Stay
Montoya does not have any accommodation but there are several hotels in other towns that are close to it:
Lodging Near Montoya along Route 66
- 38 miles. Motels and Hotels in Santa Rosa.
- 114 miles. Motels and Hotels in Moriarty.
- 155 miles. Motels and Hotels in Albuqerque.
- 22 miles. Motels and Hotels in Tucumcari.
Further east, in Texas:
The Santa Fe Route 66 segment
>> There are RV campgrounds close to Montoya.
Weather in Montoya
Weather widget for the town nearest Montoya:
This region is semiarid and the yearly rainfall is around 16 inches (406 mm). Summers are hot but with lower temperature during the night due to the altitude, and winters are cool.
There are about 40 days with precipitation yearly mostly during the summer with intense downpours. From May to August 9.4 inches of rain fall (239 mm).
Snowfall is quite light and averages 8.2 inches of snow (21 cm). It can happen at any time between September and May
There are around 266 sunny days every year.
Average high temperature in summer (July) is 93°F (34°C). In winter (Jan) the high is 53°F (12°C). The average summer low is 64°F (18°C) and the winter low is 23°F (-5°C).
Montoya is located in an area with a very low tornado risk: it only has three (3) Tornado watches per year.
Tornado Risk: read more about Tornado Risk along Route66.
Getting to Montoya
Heading west from Montoya down Route 66 are two small villages: Newkirk (11 mi.) and Cuervo (20 mi.), then comes Santa Rosa (38 mi.). Further west lie Albuquerque (155 mi.) and Gallup (293 mi.) To the northwest is Santa Fe (105 mi.)
Map of Montoya and Route66
Map of Montoya and Route 66 in New Mexico.
Pale Blue: Historic Route 66 alignment; Red line: I-40 & I-25 where they overlap the old alignment.
See Route 66's alignment in Texas
Remove or restore State shading
Route 66 itinerary to Montoya
Route 66 in New Mexico
Click to read the Full description of Route 66 across New Mexico.
Below we give information on Route 66's 1926 alignment in Montoya, which is Listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
The Santa Fe Loop (1926 - 1937)
See our Santa Fe Loop page, where we describe the complete 1926 to 1937 alignment of Route 66 from Santa Rosa to Albuquerque through Pecos, Santa Fe and Santo Domingo.
Montoya, New Mexico: Attractions & Sights
Things to Do and See
Montoya, its Attractions
Almost a Ghost Town
In this virtual ghost town there are a few houses and the remains of some buildings (a gas station among them) and the Richardson Store, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places together with the Tucumcari - Santa Rosa segment of Route 66.
Historic sites in Montoya
Route 66, Montoya, NM.
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
A 1908 Route 66 General Store and service Station.
G. W. Richardson moved to New Mexico from Missouri, where he was a storekeeper to set up a store in Montoya, in 1908. He initially supplied the local ranchers and the railroad workers.
Later, when New Mexico began improving the highway through Montoya (1918) he also provided goods to the road workers. Route 66, which was created in 1926 increased the flow of customers.
The Store was originally built in wood, but Richardson upgraded it to a stone structure, using red sandstone to rebuild it. The shaded setting of the store enticed travellers who stopped by to cool off and replenish their stock of groceries. The store had gas pumps under the now collapsed wooden portico that shaded the filling bay.
The store sold saddle blankets, feed buckets and other articles to the local ranchers. It also housed the local post office.
Nowadays it is closed and the portico has collapsed. The building has been fenced-off awaiting repair.
Tours & Itineraries
Nearby Route 66 Towns
The Old alignment of Route 66 near Tucumcari
Tucumcari to Montoya Historic Route 66
Route 66, Montoya, NM.
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places.
This is the historic segment of Route 66 from Tucumcari to Montoya.
See its location map and directions.
The road was originally aligned along the "Ozark Trail", a highway system that was promoted and created by private organizatioins, counties and states in the 1915s. It predated the Federal highway system that appeared in the mid 1920s. Initially it was a dirt road but it was completely paved by 1933.
From Main St. (mi. 0), head west out of Tucumcari along W. Route 66 Blvd., at the junction with US-54, (W. Route 66 Blvd.) take a left and head towards the southwest.
As US-54 curves south to meet I-40 at exit 329, the original alignment of Route 66 continues straight ahead (W. Tucumcari Blvd.) but ends shortly after. You can drive the 2.5 miles along it to the dead end, as it runs next to the railroad tracks. So, you must get on I-40 and head west.
I-40 meets the original alingment again (6.5 mi.) but it is now incorporated into its westbound lanes. But again further west (9 mi.) I-40 and old Route 66 separate again. The old road can be seen on the south side of I-40 as its South Frontage Road which is inaccessible at this point).
Leave I-40 at Exit 321 (10 miles) and go to the South Service Road, heading west along it; then (15 mi.) it passes to the north side of the Interstate, keep west and reach Montoya (22 miles) and then reach Exit 311 of I-40. Which is the final point of this segment.
National and State Parks
See our page on Tucumcari, with full details of Parks close to Montoya and Tucumcari
Robert Julyan. 1996, The Place Names of New Mexico. UNM Press
Richardson Store Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program, National Park Service
Image by Ammodramus, in the Public domain