About San Fidel, New Mexico
Facts, Trivia and useful information
Elevation: 6,174 ft (1.882 m). Population: 138 (2010).
San Fidel is a tiny village in Cibola County, on the old Route 66. See a Map of San Fidel.
Time zone: Mountain (MST): UTC minus 7 hours. Summer (DST) MDT (UTC-6).
The prehistoric site at Sandia Cave is proof that New Mexico has been inhabited for over 10,000 years. For the past 700 years, the Pueblo people have lived in the valleys of the rivers that flow from the Rocky Mountains into the Rio Grande Basin, such as the San Jose River and use their water to irrigate their crops of maize, squash and beans.
Old Route 66 Cafe in San Fidel, NM
The Spanish explorer Francisco Vásquez de Coronado's visited the nearby Acoma Pueblo in 1540. The Spaniards subdued the Pueblo people in 1589 and incoroprated the territory into their empire as Nueva Mexico.
Missions were establish to convert the Pueblo to Catholicism. After an uprising in 1680, the Pueblo Revolt, the Spanish returned in 1692.
The native name for San Fidel is "Púñi Tsiama" which means "West Dorway", appropriate since it was the entrance to Laguna Pueblo from the west.
After its independence in 1821, Mexico ruled New Mexico, but ceded it to the US after being defeated in the Mexican - American War (1846-48).
Baltazar Jaramillo settled here in 1868, at "La Vega de San Jose" (St. Joseph's meadow). It was also known as "Rinconada". The 1883 USGS map shows it as San Jose.
There was a post office named Ballejos here between 1910 and 1919, then it switched its name to San Fidel. Ballejos or Vallejos is a Spanish surname.
The name: San Fidel
Fidel is the Spanish name of two saints, St. Fidelis of Como (IVth century) and St. Fidelis of Sigmaringen (1577-1622). Fidelis is latin for "faithful", "loyal" and "sincere".
In 1926, Route 66 was aligned along the "Old National Trails" which linked Gallup and Grants with Albuquerque., it passed through the San Jose River Valley and its alignment ran right through San Fidel.
Where to Stay
There is lodging along Route 66 in San Fidel:
Lodging Near San Fidel along Route 66
- 3 miles. Motels and Hotels in Acomita Pueblo.
- 63 miles. Motels and Hotels in Albuquerque
- 99 miles. Motels and Hotels in Moriarty
- 175 miles. Motels and Hotels in Santa Rosa.
- 234 miles. Motels and Hotels in Tucumcari.
The Santa Fe Route 66 segment
Weather in San Fidel
The weather in San Fidel is dry and sunny. The arid climate causes cold winters and hot summers. There are 278 sunny days per year.
The average high temperature in summer (Jul) is 89°F (31.7°C) and the average summer low is 56.3°F (13.5°C). During winter (Jan) the average high is 47.4°F (8.6°C) and the average low is below freezing: 17°F (-8.3°C).
Rainfall averages 10.5 inches (292 mm) per year, with most rainfall (6 in. - 152 mm) concentrated between July and October during the "Monsoon" period. There are 53 days with precipitation per year. Snowfall is around 18 inches and may fall between November and March.
The tornado risk in San Fidel is nil: Cibola County has no Tornado watches. The area west of this point has no tornado events at all.
Tornado Risk: read more about Tornado Risk along Route66.
Getting to San Fidel
To the west is Grants, Gallup (78 mi.). To the east is Cubero and beyond the Rio Grande is Albuquerque (63 mi). Om the Santa Fe loop of Route 66 are: Bernalillo, Santa Fe (121 mi.) and to the east Pecos.
Map of San Fidel and Route66
Map of San Fidel 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
The Route 66, an itinerary through San Fidel
Route 66 across New Mexico
Click to read about the Full description of Route 66 across New Mexico.
Below is more information on Route 66's 1926 alignment through the village San Fidel
The Santa Fe Loop (1926 - 1937)
Our Santa Fe Loop pages describes the complete 1926 to 1937 alignment of Route 66 between Santa Rosa and Albuquerque through Romeroville, Pecos, Santa Fe and Bernalillo.
San Fidel, New Mexico: Attractions & Sights
Things to Do and See
Tiny village with a Historic Place
Small Town on Route 66
San Fidel is a very small village on the original Route 66 alignment through the San Jose River Valley, its main sight is the Acoma Curio shop. It is close to the Acoma Pueblo and is located at the foot of the San Mateo Mountains.
St. Joseph the Worker Mission
San Fidel became a parish in 1921, chosen for its central location among the other towns in the area. The church had been built in 1920 and was dedicted to Saint Joseph the Worker.
A Street View of the church.
Jack DeVere Rittenhouse in his 1946 "A Guide Book to Highway 66" described it as having: "cafe; gas; small garage; curios; store; no cabins or other accomodations." he added that along the road there were Indians selling pottery, and noted the Acoma ware.
Acoma Curio Shop
1090 NM 124 (Route 66), San Fidel, NM.
Listed in the National Register of Historic Places, US National Historic Landmark
The Acoma Curio Shop or Trading Post was a Route 66 classic, dealing in local Acoma naitve handicrafts.
The adobe store with a false front was built around 1916 by Abdoo Fidel, a Lebanese migrant who opened his mercantile store in it. Later once Route 66 was commissioned in 1926, he began selling native arts and crafts wholesale and after 1937 he used the store named as "Acoma Curio Shop" to sell retail.
The gasoline rationing of World War II killed tourism and he closed his store around 1942. It later became a Standard Oil service station.
Acoma Curio Shop, San Fidel, NM
Tours & Itineraries plus outdoor Fun
Nearby Route 66 Towns
Check their website: www.guadalupevineyards.com.
A boutique winery with local wines grown in the desert at an altitude of 6,400 ft. fed by the springs of Mount Taylor.
Whiting Bros. Gas Station
2.7 miles west of San Fidel, on NM 124, 0.5 mi. east of I-40's Exit 96. North side of the road.
Leave San Fidel westbound along NM-24 eastwards, and 0.5 miles before Exit 96 of I-40, on the right side of the road are the remains of the gas station.
Abandoned Whiting Brothers Service Station near San Fidel, Route 66, New Mexico
As the image above shows, it has been falling slowly apart as time goes by inexorably.
It was built around 1940 and may have been the service station mentioned in 1946 by Rittenhouse two miles west of San Fidel: "Chief's Rancho Cafe here, with gas, grocery, curios and cafe.".
Whiting Bros. had over 100 service stations, but the only remaining service station is on Route 66 in New Mexico: the Moriarty Whiting Brothers Service Station.
The Old alignment of Route 66 near San Fidel
Route 66 From Laguna to McCartys
1926 Alignment through San Fidel: from Laguna to McCartys
Route 66 passed right through San Fidel in its 1926 and later alignments.
Route 66 ran on the northern side of the San Jose River between Laguna and McCartys, it passed through Paraje and San Fidel, and gave access to, but did not go into Cubero or McCartys, but both towns provided services to those travelling the Mother Road.
National and State Parks
NPS, Acoma Trading Post, Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program
Jack DeVere Rittenhouse, (1946). A Guide Book to Highway 66.
Original artwork by A. Whittall based on Google Street View Imagery.
Guidebook of the Western United States: Part C - The Santa Fe Route, With a Side Trip to Grand Canyon of the Colorado, bulletin 613. Nelson Horatio Darton.
Image Used as per Google Street View Image Api Updated Dec. 31, 2014.
Robert Julyan. 1996, The Place Names of New Mexico, UNM Press.