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Albuquerque's Route 66 Attractions Page 3

Last Updated: . By Austin Whittall

Page 3: Downtown Albuquerque

Steel Route 66 sign on lamp post in Central Ave Albuquerque

Route 66 sign on Central Ave. Albuquerque. A. Whittall

This is our third page out of six describing Route 66 Attractions in Albuquerque (Downtown District).
It is a detailed itinerary including all the classic motels, neon signs, diners, and gas stations along U.S. 66 (Central Avenue) from East to West through Albuquerque.
In this page we cover Downtown ABQ, the other six pages describe eastern Albuquerque, Nob Hill, the old Spanish Colonial Town, Nine Mile Hill and western Albuquerque, 4th St. Route 66, and an overview of the city with its Top 5 attractions.

Index to our five pages on Albuquerque & Route 66

  1. Eastern Albuquerque
  2. Nob Hill
  3. Downtown (this page)
  4. Old Town & Western Albuquerque
  5. 4th St. Route 66 - 1926-37 Sights
  6. Albuquerque Top 5 Things to See and Do & city overview

There is plenty to see and do in Albuquerque New Mexico. Get your Kicks on your Route 66 Road Trip in ABQ!

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Route 66 in Downtown Albuquerque NM

Albuquerque's Attractions along US 66

A List of Stops and Landmarks

We will use the ❌ symbol to mark those that have been torn down. advertisement

Sponsored Content:

Some exciting Tours

Downtown Albuquerque attractions

Along Route 66 into Downtown ABQ

In this page we describe the classic Route 66 sights from east to west, starting at the intersection of Girard and Central Avenue on the 2900 block, on Nob Hill's western tip, and westwards from there into Downtown, and across it.

We will use the ❌ symbol to mark those that have been torn down.

Downtown Albuquerque's History

In 1880 the Atchison, Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad reached the area of Albuquerque and built its depot and station 2 miles east of the Old Colonial Town Center, the influx of Anglo merchants and settlers chose this location to establish themselves and a New Town sprung up around the depot. The community of "New Albuquerque" incorporated as a town in 1885 and as a city in 1891. In 1920 absorbed the Old Town. In 1921, the railroad built a Hospital close to the depot on Central Ave.

Two Route 66 alignments cross it, the first one (1926-37) from Santa Fe along 4th St., and in 1937 it was realigned along Central Ave.

Route 66 in Downtown Albuqurque

Your Route 66 Road Trip through Albuquerque

At Girard Blvd. and Central Avenue (2900 block) you leave Nob Hill; you will drive west into the Downtown district of Albuquerque crossing the Midtown-University district.

University of New Mexico

The Territorial Assembly created the University of New Mexico (UNM) on February 28, 1889, to be located in Albuquerque. Its first building, Hodgin Hall was completed in 1892.

Some Gas stations ❌

The Sanborn Insurance Map of 1942 shows the UNM golf course on the north side of Central west of Girard and several stores, auto dealers and buildings along the south side.

The first relevant Route 66 buildings were located on the intersection with Harvard Dr. with two gas stations. To the west at 2300 Central was Kitchen's Conoco with two canopies, one facing Central, the other facing Harvard, behind it was a garage. Now there is a Satellite Coffee shop on that corner. Click on the image to see an advertisement from 1962 and how it figured in the 1942 Sanborn map.

image combines Sandborn map of 1942 showing 2 gas stations, and two newspaper advertisements of gas stations from 1962

Some gas stations on US 66 by the UNM. A. Whittall Source.
Click to enlarge

1960s aerial view of Central Ave with UNM on the upper side and buildings including 2 gas stations marked with red arrows on the lower side

Aerial view 1960s with gas stations on US 66 by the UNM. Source.
Click to enlarge

Opposite Kitchen's at 2222 (SW corner with Harvard) was another gas station in 1942, but by 1955 it had been torn down (1955 aerial photo.)

There was yet another gas station on the next corner, with Yale (SE corner, at 2200 Central) where the McDonalds is now located. and you can see it in the aerial photo above (click on it to enlarge), marked with number (1), we don't know what brand it sold... Sinclair? Shamrock?

Further west, on the SE corner with Buenavista Ave (2100 Central) was another filling station, this one was Serrano's Texaco, marked with a (2) in the aerial photo.

Simon Serrano Jr. (1918-2011) when he was a young man worked on the family ranch in Santa Rosa, was a truck driver, motel operator and, in 1953 moved his family to Albuquerque where he worked as a mechanic. He soon became the owner of "Simon's Texaco" and worked it for many years. Further up is his advertisement in the Daily Lobo from May 15, 1962 offering "Complete automotive service." The box-shaped building is still standing, though very modified, and you can see it in this Street view.

Pig and Calf

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

On the left side of Serrano's Texaco, at 2106 Central Ave SE, Albuquerque was the classic Pig and Calf with a black and white ceramic facade with the words "Pig and Calf " written on it; at each end of the parapet is a mosaic of a pig and a calf. It opened in 1924 as Charley's "Pig Stand" Cafe owned by Charlie Ellis. It evolved into a barbecue restaurant and acquired its present appearance in 1935. During the 1950s it was the University Café and it reopened in 2006 as the Pita Pit and since the pandemic it has been a Sushi restaurant. The building is still stsanding and in very good shape as you can see in the "Then and Now" sequence below:

1930s color postcard box shaped building, neon sign words: Pig and Calf on it

Pig and Calf 1930s postcard. Source. Click on image to enlarge

facade with black and whitte tiles, words Pig and Calf on it and depiction of both animals at each tip

Pig and Calf nowadays. Click for street view

Cottage Bakery

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

On the next corner (Buena Vista St.), to your left at 2000 Central Ave SE. This cottage-styled bakery opened here in 1937. It was owned by Herbert Weis and his brother-in-law, Prince Schroeder, they had already owned a bakery in Winslow AZ and moved to Albuquerque in 1931 with their first Cottage Pure Food Shop in 1931.
They shared the shop front with Spot Ice Cream Co. and sold their goods to locals and travelers. The Spot went out of business and a succession of other businesses occupied the western side of the cottage. The bakery lasted until 1960 on the eatern side.

black and white photo, cars on a side street and neon sign to the left, Route 66 in front and cottage facing it

Cottage Bakery in Aug. 1937 Source. Click on image to enlarge

color view of a side street and sign on the left, Route 66 in front and cottage facing it

Cottage Bakery nowadays. Click for st. view

The Sanborn Map shows the bakery, and across Terrace, where the tattoo shop is now, at 1924 Central, there was a filling station. Then came some stores, dry-cleaners, a laundry shop.

On the SW corner of University Blvd. and Central Ave. was the now gone Oklahoma Joe; operated by Joe Valdez it had a "Genuine Pit Bar-B-Que" and sold beer and liquour to UNM students. By 1942 it had gone. At one time its postcard proclaimed "Ladies and Men's Rest Rooms," we have come a long way since then!

Park Lane Hotel ❌

1940s color linnen postcard: trees and park, and a two story yellow building on a corner, neon sign faces Route 66

Park Lane Hotel (gone) c.1940s. by the UNM ABQ Route 66. Source
Click to enlarge

Across the highway, on the NE corner of Pine and Central, right, there is a parking lot nowadays on the site of The Park Lane Hotel "Cool - Quiet - Comfortable - The City's Newst," at 1701 East Central. The Sanborn map shows it as the Memorial at the Methodist Sanatorium in 1942; by 1970 it had been torn down. Opposite, on the SE corner with Pine St. at 1700 Central was the Zia Oil Co. Skelly service station.

Zia Oil Station

Adjacent to Oklahoma Joe, it sold Skelly gasoline and was owned by the Zia Oil Co. it included a tire store and a warehouse. W. T. Davis was the manager back in Jan. 1941 when it opened. Still standing tough the canopy has gone.

black and white photo, car to the left by a glazed store with curved wall. Gas station and service bays with flat canopy to the right. Text below

Zia Oil Co. in Jan. 1941. Source. Click on image to enlarge

on the left glazed store with curved wall, brick building with service bays and cars parked

Zia Oil Co. nowadays. Click for St. view

On the NW corner of Central and N. Ash there was a Sinclair gas station ❌ (1515 Central), pictured below.

1939 black and white photo of a gas station with flat canopy

Sinclair on Ash and Central, Dec. 1939. Source
Click to enlarge

1946 black and white photo of a gas station under construction

Sam's Service being built, June 1946. Source
Click to enlarge

66 Diner formerly Sam's Service

On the next block, to your right, at at 1405 Central, this was J. H. Samuelson's Phillips 66 Service Station, it was built in June 1946 by Roach & Rutherford, contractors, with a single service bay to the left and an office with glass brick windows on its two curved corners on the right side. It was known as Sam's Service.
In 1987 the building was vacant and converted into a restaurant, 66 Diner. After a fire it was rebuilt. It has been modified but with an Art Moderne style and you can enjoy a meal in this retro-dinner with jukebox and soda fountain.

1940s photo (top) and Sanborn Map, 1942 (bottom)

1940s black and white photo gas station, one service bay right, 3 gas pumps, man next to them, car on the right (top) and 1942 insurance map showing the filling station (bottom)
1940s view of Sam's Service and its entry in the 1942 Sanborn map. A. Whittall. Source

Current view of Sam's as 66 Diner

Art Moderne curved corners on single story white building seen from Route 66, a Diner
66 Diner nowadays. Click for stree view

Don't miss the wall on the eastern side of the property, with vintage enamel signs,

wall covered with colorful vintage enamel signs
66 Diner's vintage enamel signs wall. Click for stree view

West of this point there aren't any remaining structures from Route 66's golden days. There were apartments, and between Mulberry and Oak was the Presbyterian Sanatorium to the left. Across from it was a now gone landmark, a gull wing Phillips 66.

#3 Phillips Petroleum Gull Wing ❌

Gull Wing Phillips gas station, now demolished

Gull Wing Phillips gas station, now gone. Click for St. View

It was located in what is now a parking lot, at 1023 central Ave NE.
Its was the third out of four Gull Wing gas station in Albuquerque; two others are on the Eastern side of town: #1 Gull Wing and #2 Gull Wing and the fourth (gone) was in Western Albuquerque: Phillips 66 Gull Wing ❌. This one was razed in 2018. Another Route 66 icon that has been lost to progress.

It appeared in the 1942 Sanborn map.

> > Learn more about Phillips 66 Gull Wing stations on Route 66

West of the Hospital came a vacant block which is now cut by I-25, and then came the A.T and Santa Fe Railway Hospital. You can see the empty block and the hospital in the following picture taken in Feb. 1943 by John Collier.

black and white photo, buildings in the distance, highway to the right, gas station beyond. Movie sign to the left, Hospital and underpass in the distance
Looking west down Central Avenue into the business district, Feb. 1943. Source. Click on image to enlarge

Gas stations on Central from Oak to High Streets

1942 Sanborn map showing Central Ave where now I-25 cuts it. There are several gas stations in the map

Route 66 gas stations along Central and I-25, 1942 map. Source
Click to enlarge

The image above shows a gas station on the right at 921 Central Ave. It was torn down to make way for the freeway in the 1960s. Actually there were several gas stations here where Central is cut by I-25, all of them long gone. Click on the thumbnail map image to see the 1942 Sanborn map of this area, we marked where I-25 is located.

1941 black and white photo of a gas station with flat canopy with crests on top of it

Texaco on High and Central, Mar. 1942. Source
Click to enlarge

There was the one at 921 mentioned above, one on the NW corner of Locust (821 Central) that was an Enco, one on the NE corner of Elm (801 Central), one across Elm on its NW corner (725 Central) and the last one on the NE corner with High (701 Central), this one was a Texaco, maybe from the 1930s that was modernized and rebuilt in March 1942 and leased by C. L. Firestone -pictured.

There was another gas station on the SW corner of High and Central, a Texaco (Sanborn map view - 1942.)

Crossroads Motel

On the eastern side of the freeway crossing, to your right, at 1001 Central Ave NE, Albuquerque

The Crossroads Motel got its name because it was built next to the main crossroads in Albuquerque: U.S. 66 and U.S. 85. During the late 1950s and early 1960s, I-25 replaced US-85 through the city.
It appears in Breaking Bad; it is where Hank takes Walter Jr. to warn him about the evils of drugs. Below are a "Then and Now" set of pictures of the motel that offered "Color TV... In Room Dialing... Free sauna bath."

color 1960s postcard of an L-shaped 2 floor, flat roof motel on a corner of Route 66 in Albuquerque NM
A 1960s postcard of the Crossroads Motel, Albuquerque, NM. Source

The motel has added a tall sign to lure visitors from the Freeway, but otherwise it has not changed:

Two story L-shaped motel on a corner tall neon sign, seen from I-25
Crossroads Motel nowadays. Click image for street view

The Huning Highlands district of Albuquerque

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

color postcard of a Italian style white colored mansion, with garden around it

Huning Castle Source
Click to enlarge

Head west, passing I-25. Here, on the western side of the freeway, you enter the historic Huning Highlands district. It lies on both sides of Central Ave (originally known as Railroad Avenue), from the railroad tracks in the east, to Locust St. in the west.

It is named after Franz Huning (1828-1905), a German merchant who settled in New Mexico, reaching ABQ in the 1860s. In 1880 he sold part of his land to the AT & SF, for one dollar, prompting them to establish their regional headquarters in Albuquerque; this helped develop the city that sprung up beside the depot. He also platted a neighborhood west of the tracks on his property, known as Huning Highlands subdivision. The first residential area of the city, where the traders, bankers, lawyers and doctors built their homes (1). Huning built his 14-room Italiante mansion known as Huning's Castle on Central and 15th St., it was torn down in 1955.

At Locust, the motel strip from the 1960s begins but there is also a classic building to your left, on the south side of Central, the former Atchison, Topeka & Santa Fe Railway Hospital:

Former Atchison Topeka and Santa Fe Railroad Hospital

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

The hospital opened in 1921 and provided medical treatment to the company's employees. In the 1980s it became a mental health institution, the "Memorial Hospital" that closed in 2007. Now, completely restored and upgraded it is the Hotel Parq Central.

It was built in Italianate style, that was popular in the early 1900s and was used in mansions or public buildings to give them an elegant look; it was inspired in the Renaissance architecture and included an elaborate balustrade.

sepia photo of 3 story building, mansion-like, with windows and a car driving up its drive c.1920s
AT & SF Hospital, 1920s. Source.
Patio by an Italian Villa-styled building, mansion like, with tables and sunshades
Parq Hotel nowadays. Source

> > You can book your room in the Parq Central Hotel

Central Ave. seen from the freeway in the 1960s.

Central Ave. in the 1960s, motels, neon signs, cars and buildings
1960s view looking west from the freeway along Central Ave. Source. Click to enlarge.

The image above, from the early 1960s, looks west along Huning Highlands District towards the railroad and Downtown Albuquerque; to the left is the Santa Fe hospital, to the right is the Chalet Motel, followed by two motels that we describe below; to the left beyond the Seagram's sign is Frank's Pizza restaurant and a Texaco sign.

So, opposite the Parq Central, to your right, on the north side of Central, at 817, is a 1960s classic Route 66 motel:

Hyatt Chalet Motel

The Hyatt Chalet Motel is still open as a motel but under another name; now it is the Econo Lodge Downtown. At one time it was the Pan Am Motel owned by W. L. McCoy (after I-25 which is also known as the Pan-America Freeway. This chalet-style with a steep gable roof is a design that dates back to 1960 when Hyatt planned to build some 200 similar motels by 1966. They were part of Hyatt Lodges, a new division within the company. This one has very "sixtyish" colored glass panes on the facade. There are other surviving motels of the Hyatt Lodges division along Route 66: the Needles Inn (Needles CA), and the Swiss Lodge (Pasadena CA).

Hyatt Chalet Motel in a vintage 1960s postcard

Vintage 1960s postcard of a two story motel in the background with a flat roof, false red mansard facing US66, and a Chalet with steep gable roof as the office by neon sign. Church to the right in the distance
A 1960s postcard of the Hyatt Chalet Motel, Albuquerque, NM.

Nowadays, an intersecting hip has been added to the gabled roof, but it is basically the same building:

Two story motel in the background with a flat roof, false red mansard facing US66, and a Chalet with steep gable roof as the office by neon sign. Church to the right in the background
The former Hyatt Chalet Motel nowadays. Click for street view

Lorlodge East Motel

motel, 2 stories, L-shaped layout, office is right, neon sign middle

Rodeway Inn, nowadays. Click for St. View

Adjacent to the Chalet, at 801 Central NE was the Lorlodge East Motel, it was named like that because theree was a second motel in Western ABQ. It had a heated swimming pool and was located at "Intersection U.S. 66 at Interstate 25;" it offered "Thrifty Rates."

It had some hollow brick walls to decorate it a style favored in the 1960s.

It is still open as a motel, though now it is the Rodeway Inn; fortunately those hollow brick details have been replaced. It still has a swimming pool, and the neon sign structure is the same!

Two story motel with neon sign reading LORLODGE in red letters, flat roof and hollow brick decorations, L-shaped layout
Lorlodge East in the 1960s, US66 ABQ. Source

> > You can book your room in the Rodeway Inn

Whole Hog Cafe - former Denny's

Across from the Rodeway, on the NW corner of Elm and Central (725 Central Ave NE) is the former Denny's restaurant, now known as the Whole Hog Cafe. It is a BBQ chain store in a building which was once part of Denny's, a chain which opened in California in 1953 as Danny's Donuts.
It was renamed Denny's in 1959. They adopted a modern space age boomerang roof design in the 1960s, it was created by Armet & Davis, and they displayed a hexagonal shaped sign which can be seen in the image below.

There are more of these Denny's on Route 66; we mention a few: the Barstow CA Denny's Diner, the Denny's in Kingman AZ, the Denny’s Diner in Needles CA, the Denny’s Tucumcari Diner and the one in Gallup NM.

The Whole Hog formerly a Denny's as it looks today. The original Denny's sign is there, but with different words:

angled roof and neon sign of a Cafe with an inset of the Denny’s sign
A former Denny's: the Whole Hog Cafe, notice how the original sign was adapted. A. Whittall. Street view advertisement

Imperial 400 Motel

rendering of a motel, classic neon sign and people

Imperial Inn revamping rendering. Click to enlarge

On the corner, at 701 Central Ave NE was the 1960s Imperial 400 Motel that until recently was the Imperial Inn; but in 2021 the city began a redevelopment project that will cost $7.6 Million; it will include 52 guest rooms and 16 residential suites, along with space for a dozen businesses including retail and restaurants.
The classic motel announced on its postcard that it was "A pleasant place to stay for rest, relaxation, or to make a headquarters for your business trip into the heart of the city."

Imperial 400 was a motel chain founded in 1959 and its buildings had a characteristic "Gull Wing shaped roof" (like this motel has). It went broke in the mid 1960s and sold out to new owners. There are plenty of them on Route 66; for instance the Imperial Winslow AZ and Vagabond Inn Pasadena CA; the Imperial Motor Inn in Needles CA and the Imperial 400 in Barstow CA.

Imperial 400 Motel in a vintage 1950s postcard

1950s view neon sign and gull wing office on the right, 2 story L-Shaped motel, car parked and a pool
A 1950s postcard of the Imperial 400 Motel, Albuquerque, NM. Source

A view of it before its redevelopment project began; it kept its original appearance and its original neon sign with a gull-wing shape too:

motel, L-Shape layout, gullwing office, 2 floors. Pool and neon sign
Imperial 400 Motel before revamping. Click for Street View

TraveLodge Downtown

Opposite the Imperial, on the NW corner of High and Central (615 Central Ave NE) is the former Travelodge

The TraveLodge Downtown is still open as a motel, though now it is the Days Inn. It has remained relatively unchanged and its original neon sign has been kept and given a second life. It is pictured below in a "Then and Now" sequence, Its postcard read "40 Units... Color TV, Guest Dial Phones, Heated Pool, Coffee Shop Next door...".

>> You can Book a Room in the Days Inn.

Motel, cars, black neon sigh, L-shaped layout, on a corner

TraveLodge Downtown now the Days Inn. Google. Click to enlarge

Motel postcard 1960s, cars, black neon sign, L-shaped layout, on a corner

TraveLodge Downtown, old postcard. Source. Click to enlarge

Hiway House #1 ❌

1950s postcard in color, neon sign like a sentry, motel 2 floors, gable roof motel

1950s Hiway House #1 Source
Click to enlarge

Adjacent to the Travelodge, on the NE corner, at 601 Central, it was the Hiway House #1; the other Hiway House Motel #2 was in Nob Hill. It had "Weather conditioned for your comfort, 24 hour telephone service, television in all rooms..." Now it is a vacant lot.

Head west, there are several vacant lots. On the SE corner with Edith, there was a gas station in the 1940s. On the next corner, Central and Arno there were two gas stations in 1942. Only one has survived. The first was was one on the NE corner (401 Central) with two rectangular canopies, one facing Arno, the other Central; a garage was located in a separate unit to the east. The second was on the SW corner and is still standing.

Carothers & Mauldin Station

To your left, at 320 Central Ave, SE. This Texaco station opened in March 1938 shortly after the brand new Route 66 was aligned along Central through downtown Albuquerque. It was built by Estella and Fred Luthy, and operated by Carothers and Mauldin, who also owned a station on Fourth and Copper (the original Santa Fe Loop US 66). Now it has been refurbished it was a diner and now is the "Range Cafe".

gas station, L shaped, curved office right, Texaco sign 1938 black and white photo

March 1938 view of Carothers Texaco Source. Click to enlarge

L-shaped cafe, curved right tip, painted orange-red, with big windows and outdoors eating space

Carothers station nowadays. Click for street view

Highland Hotel

red brick building, many windows, facing Route 66, three floors

Highland Hotel, ABQ 2022. Click for St. view

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

To your left at 200 Central, at Union Square, corner with John St. this three story red-brick commercial building dates back to 1903 and is an example of the Chicago School of commercial architecture; it had a hotel that remained open until the 1970s.

Central Ave. Underpass

Central Avenue was born as Railroad Ave. with the New Albuqerque in the 1880s. It was renamed Central Ave. in 1912 and crossed the A.T. & Santa Fe tracks here, next to the depot. Traffic grew over the years, and when Route 66 was aligned along Central in 1937 a safer alternative to the grade crossing became necessary.
The New Deal's Works Progress Administration (WPA) funded the construction of an underpass. Below are a Then and Now set of pictures, the 1937 ones show the underpass being built, and when it was finished.

two images from 1937. Top: heavy equipment digging underpass in urban setting. Bottom underpass, two lanes go, two return, and buildings

1937 views Central Av. underpass. Source and Source. Click to enlarge

Color view of an uderpass, two lanes go, two return, and buildings around it

Central Av. underpass nowadays. Click for St. view

Alvarado Hotel ❌

Occupying the first block of East Central, between the tracks and 1st St. was the magnificent Alvarado Hotel, followed on its south side by Albuquerque's Depot.

It was the largest of the railroad's Harvey Houses operated by Fred Harvey Co. but owned by the AT & SF railroad.
It was built in 1901 in the Mission Revival Style and had 120 rooms and Rittenhouse mentioned it in 1946. It was named after Hernando de Alarado, a member of the 1540 Coronado Expedition. It was torn down in 1970. Below is a view of the hotel in the 1950s, and further down the sprawling hotel and depot complex.

Spanish style building, 1950s cars, nice garden, color postcard reading ALVARADO HOTEL
Alvarado Hotel 1950s postcard. Source. Click to enlarge
postcard of a large complex in Spanish Revival style with hotel, and railroad depot

Alvarado and Depot c.1920s. Source. Click to enlarge

Spanish Revival style building seen from a street, people and trees on the sidewalk

Albuquerque Depot. Click for St. view

Railway Depot

The Downtown Albuquerque Rail Runner station at 100 1st Street SW, Albuquerque has replaced the old one built in 1880 that burned down in 1993. Nowadays the Alvarado Transportation Center, built in 2002, occupies the spot where the Alvarado and old depot stood. It is pictured above. Its Spanish Revival style is similar to the original complex.

Take the Rail Runner To Santa Fe

Buy your ticket online or onboard. Fares, ticketing at the Train's website

A high-speed rail link that gets you to Santa Fe in 80 minutes. Named after the "Roadrunner", the state bird, it gives you some views of the Sandia, San Felipe, Santo Domingo, and Cochiti pueblos.

Day Tour to Santa Fe

The Railrunned takes you to Santa Fe with is the historic Santa Fe Depot close to the 400-year-old Plaza. There are plenty of sights and attractions for a full day walking tour in historic Santa Fe.

Into Downtown Albuquerque

Also on 1st Street, facing the Alvarado was the Sturges Hotel ❌, it was the town's oldest, having opened as Hope's European Hotel in 1880. It stood across 1st St from the Alvarado, at 100 West Central and was torn down in 1956. Rittenhouse mentioned it in 1946, and also the Savoy Hotel ❌ facing the depot, at 219 South 1st. It was built by Oreste Bachechi in 1905; he was the architect that designed the 1927 the Kimo Theater.

Below is a view along West Central in the 1950s from the overpass. To the left is the Alvarado Hotel sign, further down the Sunshine Theater. To the right was the YMCA, Liberty Cafe, and Kings Hotel, formerly the Combs mentioned by Rittenhouse in 1946, at 119 W Central; all of them gone; ❌. This is the Same view nowadays; I miss the bustling, lively and colorful look of the 1950s.

color postcard with 1950s cars along Central Ave, neon signs, people, buildings, hotels, busy morning view
Looking West from the overpass along W Central. 1950s postcard. Source. Click to enlarge

Glorieta Sation Neon Park

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

old 1950s neon signs piled up in a yard

Old Route 66 neon signs in the "Neon Park". Source

Less than one mile north of the underpass and railroad depot, on the southeast side of Lomas Blvd. and the railroad tracks; See this Map with directions from Central and the ABQ Depot. The old Glorieta SW Brewery & Ice Company Building between Lomas, it was listed in the National Register of Historic Places in the 1970s, and currently is being restored and reconverted into a "Neon Park" by local devleopers, the García family.
The eight acre complex has been named Glorieta Station and will include the old red-brick brewery, retail space and restaurants. There will also be a place for the neon signs recovered from Route 66 in Albuquerque. You can see some of them in the yard at the site which is partly finished and still under construction after delays due to the pandemic. More signs can be seen from Spur St. NE. (Street view) advertisement

Walking Tour in Downtown Albuquerque

The best way to get the feel of the city is to walk. There is a large parking area ahead, between 2nd and 3rd Streets to your left; here on the corner once stood Payless Drugs and the Chief Cafe. You can park your car here and go on a self-guided walking tour. It is a 1.2 mile round trip and this is the Walking Tour map.
Across Central, on the NW corner with Central was the "Grand Central Hotel," and on the SE corner of Central and 2nd is the Sunshine Building.

Old Hilton Hotel

Listed in the National and State Register of Historic Places

Head north from Central and at the end of the block, to your left on the SE corner with Copper at 125 2nd St NW is the old Hilton Hotel. It was built in 1939 and Rittehnouse mentions it in his Guidebook to Route 66. According to the postcard, it was "New Mexico's newest and finest hotel... Duncan Hines approved, Refrigerated air conditioning and heat individually controlled throughout. Convenient drive-in entrance...". It is still in operation as a hotel, the Hotel Andaluz Albuquerque, Curio Collection By Hilton.

Old Hilton Hotel linnen postcard

Old Hilton postcard. Source

Old Hilton Hotel today

Old Hilton Hotel. Click for St. view

Retrace your steps back to Central, turn right and walk westwards; on the following block to 4th and Central, where two alignments of Route 66 cross each other.

Crossroads of Route 66

logo with two shields of US66 in NM and the dates and names of the streets of US66's two alignments that cross each other

Fourth Street and Central is one of the few places along Route 66 where two alignments cross each other.

The original 1926 alignment ran along 4th Street across Albuquerque with a North to South course, from Santa Fe towards Isleta. It was the main highway and throughfare. However, in 1937 Route 66 was realigned along Central Ave, with an East to West course, from Santa Rosa through ABQ and onwards towards Laguna. U.S. 85 was aligned along 4th.

In a separate section we describe U.S. 66 and its attractions along the 4th Street 1926-37 alignment:

>> Learn all about The sights along 4th St


On the NE corner, to your right at 325 Central there had been a hotel in the 1930s; it was replaced in the 1940s by Woolworth's whose building is still standing, as Bourbon & Boots; pictured below (on the left side of both images):

1950s postcard intersection in Albuquerque, color view, Woolworths on the left

Woolworths building 1940s, Albuquerque. Source. Click to enlarge

crossroads, traffic lights, cars and buildings

Woolworths (left) nowadays. Click for St. view

Yrisarri Building: Maisel's first store

Kitty corner from Woolworths, on the "Crossroads of Route 66," at 400 Central is a classic brick building with a bracketed cornice and arched windows was built in 1909, it housed the first store operated by Maisel with his Maisel's Trading Post (he later moved two blocks west to Maisel's Indian Trading Post at its current location.)

Jacobo Yrisarri (1866-1925) belonged to a wealthy New Mexican family of Basque origin. He was a merchant and land owner he married Manuela Armijo, joining the elite of New Mexican society. He built the Yrisarri building, also known as Yrisarri Block.

1920s black and white view 2 floor corner building, people, Trading post signs

Yrisarri Bldg. and Maisel's first store 1920s. Source. Click to enlarge

2 story green building on a corner

Yrisarri Building nowadays. Click for St. view

400s block of West Central

On the south side (left) of the block between 4th and 5th streets, there was a J.C. Penney's since 1915 in the two-story red brick Melini building in the middle of the block at 410 Central. It was replaced in 1949 by a box-shaped three story building, it followed by the H.S Kress Co's Five and Dime department store that opened in 1925 and is Listed in the National and State Register of Historic Places (4). And the Gas and Electric Co. (Public Service Co). All three buildings are still standing as you can see in the following "Then and Now" images from left to right.

1940s color postcard Kimo neon sign to the left and buildings on the right along Central Ave: Penney’s, Kress and Gas and Electric CO

Penney's, Kress, on Central Ave. Source. Click to enlarge

Buildings on the 400s block of Central Ave.

Penney's and Kress nowadays. Click for St. view

Nothing remains of the stores that lined the north side of the block: Meyer & Meyer opposite Woolworths, Betty Gay, Levine's DepartmentStore that later became Franklins, and Berland's Shoe Store. On the NE corner, Kimo Theater is still standing:

Kimo Theater

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

On the NE corner of Central and 5th at 423 Central Ave. NW, Albuquerque, NM.

The Kimo Theater is an amazing fusion of Pueblo and Art Deco style theater which opened in 1927.

This is a street view and below are two pictures I took back in 2016:

richly decorated block shaped theater, with red neon sign word KIMO written on it, Central Ave passes by lower left
The Historic Kimo Theater, Albuquerque NM. Austin Whittall

Historic Kimo Theater

decorated 3 story Kimo Theater, entrance, and windows face Route 66 in Albuquerque, car parked in front
The Kimo Theater, Albuquerque.

Kimo Trivia

KIMO theater sign, red background jagged edge, yellow letters

Kimo Theater neon sign, A. Whittall

The swastika was a Navajo symbol for life, happiness and freedom long before it was desecrated by its abominable use in Nazi Germany.

Urban myth has it that the ghost of a six-year old boy haunts the theater, he was killed when a heater exploded in the lobby in 1951.

The name "Kimo", in local Pueblo Isleta language, means "King of its kind". It was built for Oreste Bachechi, who had also built the Savoy Hotel next to the railroad depot. It cost $ 150,000 in 1927. The three-story building has a steel frame and brick walls with ornamental glzaed tile decoration. The marquee and entrance were refurbished in the 1950s. Its decoration includes native designs in chandeliers, staircases and murals.

It closed in 1968, was almost demolished but saved on time it was restored in the 1990s and currently the offers performances and films. Self guided tours daily from 9 AM to 4 PM. Closed Sun, Mon. View their coming events or purchase tickets at

El Fidel Hotel

To your right, one block north along 5th, on the SW corner of 5th and Cooper St. is a classic hotel, the El Fidel Hotel was mentioned by Rittenhouse in his Route 66 Guide. The five-story building opened in the 1920s and was doubled in size in 1934. In 1981 it was converted to offices and completely redone in 2014 as the Cooper Center.

1940s color linnen postcard, block building, 5 stories, American flag, and corner signage, EL FIDEL Hotel, cars parked on street

Postcard of El Fidel, 1940s. Source. Click to enlarge

block shaped 5 story building on a corner

View of El Fidel Hotel today. nowadays. Click for St. view


three images: clockwise. black and white street view 2 story bld. right. Aerial view of street, buildings and cars. A color view of a building on a corner. All show the same Sears building over the years

Sears over the years, 1930s, 40s, now. A. Whittall. St. view; Sources.
Click to enlarge

Turn around and head back to Kimo on Central Avenue. Across 5th from Kimo, on the NW corner at 505 W Central was Sears Roebuck and Co. The original building dates back to 1937; it was built by Dr. Lovelace (2) as a two story building with a full basement facing Central in Streamline Moderne lines. In 1948 Carl's lounge was torn down, and an addition was built on the corner and along 5th (3) with a modern curved facade, a third story was added after a fire in 1952. It is still standing. Click on the thumbnail image to see the building through each of these stages: facing Central in the 1940s, two story on the corner, late 50s and nowadays.
Opposite, on the SW corner is a former cafe and hotel:

Lindy's Coffee Shop

On the SW corner with 5th at 500 Central Ave SW. Queen Anne-style Bliss building was erected in 1906. Coney Island Cafe opened on the ground floor in 1929. It became Lindy's Diner in 1960. The second floor was the 22-room Elgin hotel until 1976. In the same building, at 504 Central was "Lobo Curios. Below is a "Then and Now" set of pictures; to the right is Halls and Maisel's Indian Trading Post:

1970s black and white view 2 story corner building, cars, signs

Elgin Hotel and Coney Island Cafe, 1970s. Source. Click to enlarge

2 story green building on a corner, car

Lucy's cafe nowadays. Click for St. view

Maisel's Indian Trading Post

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places

On the south side of Central Ave., to your right, opposite the former Sears store at 510 Central Ave. SW, Albuquerque, NM.

black and white 1940s photo of a couple sitting on a couch Mr. Maurice Maisel and his wife Cyma

Maurice Maisel and his wife Cyma. Source. Click to enlarge

store front, with murals above plate glass windows, central entrance. This is Maisel’s Indian Trading Post, Albuquerque, NM

Maisel's Indian Trading Post, A. Whittall. Click for St. view

Built in Indian Pueblo sytle in 1939, it was owned and operated by Maurice Maisel a Jewish emigrant from Austria. It was still open selling Southwest souvenirs to tourists and Route 66 travelers until 2019.

Maisel moved here from the Yrisarri Building, and commissioned architect John Gaw Meem to build his new store. Its windows have pigmented glass and are topped with murals depicting Southwestern Indians painted by native artists. The terracotta flooring are also decorated with native designs.
Maisel born in the 1880s in Austria, ran his store until his death in the 1960s when it closed. His grandson Skip reopened it as Skip Maisel's Indian Jewelry and Crafts in the 1980s but it closed in 2019.

neon sign with an Indian in feathered headgear colorful, decorating front of a trading post
Indian Chief on Maisel's Indian Trading Post. Austin Whittall

On the same block but on the NE corner with 6th where Suchi Hana is now located, once stood Fred P. Higgins Auto Service and garage, with gas pumps on the sidewalk in the 1930s, later in the 1940s it became Cook Sporting Goods (523 Central) on its eastern side, at 519 there was a Hotel on the second floor. Keep on walking west, on the next block (600s) there are two more stops:

Holocaust & Intolerance Museum of New Mexico

At 612 Central Ave SW. It was founded in 2001 by Holocaust survivor Werner Gellert and his wife Frances. This museum promotes understanding and teaches about many genocides besides the Shoah. After visiting this museum it became clear how important it is to remind people that these mass atrocities happened (Holocaust deniers, you are wrong), and are still happening. They should matter to everyone, everywhere. Discrimination, hate and intolerance are unacceptable and we should all actively work towards a more tolerant society. This is the twenty-first century not the Middle Ages!
The building's green and white Art Deco facade is beautiful. It is pictured below.

Holocaust & Intolerance Museum of New Mexico

Holocaust & Intolerance Museum of New Mexico. Click for street view

marquee of the El Rey Theater red and white, 1940s style

El Rey Theater. Source. Click for street view

black and white 1940s view of trucks and the marquee of the El Rey Theater

El Rey Theater 1940s. Source

El Rey Theater

Listed in the State Register of Historic Places

To your left, at 624 Central Ave SW. It was built during WWII, in 1941 in a Spanish Revival style with a classic marquee.
At one time it was an adult theater, but nowadays it hosts bands as a night club, a good example of a theater reborn on Route 66.

Franciscan Hotel ❌

black and white 1940s hotel with cars, people, and highway on the left, hotel on the right. Pueblo style

Franciscan Hotel in the 1940s. Source.
Click to enlarge

Across the street was a classic hotel that had been built in 1923 with a Pueblo revival style designed by Trost & Trost.
It closed in 1970 and was torn down in 1972 -at that time many of Albuquerque's landmarks were demolished one after the other, the Alvarado and the Franciscan Hotels are two of these lost buildings.

Its first owner was the local community, who had raised and donated the nearly $350,000 it had cost (roughly $8.8 Million in today's dollars). The Albuquerque Hotel Company was an organization formed by the local Chamber of Commerce and the idea behind the hotel was to promote the development of Albuquerque.
It was a six-story building with magnificent proportions. It stood on the corner of 6th St. and Central. Its postcard announced "The courtesy, thoughtfulness and helpfulness in catering to the comforts of guests make this hotel more homelike than hotel-like."

Across from El Rey, and next to the Franciscan, on the NE corner with 7th, was the Masonic Temple, it too was torn down. The image below looks north at the lodge; the Franciscan is to the right. This is the current st. view

black and white 1940s building with columns like a Greek Temple, car parked on Route 66 in front of it

Masonic lodge Temple c. 1940s. Source.

black and white photo, L shaped tire store in the background, hip roof canopy as an island with pumps under it, man in the foreground

1930 view of the Firestone Service. Source
Click to enlarge

Firestone Tires Building

Across 7th, on the NW corner, at 701 Central Ave NW is a building dating back to 1929 or 1930. It was the first Firestone Tire Company store in town and it also included a Service Station with women attendants.
It had an "island" hip roof canopy with Spanish tiles over the gas pumps; at one time it sold Texaco gasoline. This was later removed. Its owner Bridgestone Tire closed the store in 2020 the signs have been removed. The image below was taken in 2019, and shows it with the signs still in place; they were later removed.

color picture, Firestone sign, L shaped tire store on a corner

2019 view of the Firestone Service. Click for st. view

black and white photo, Firestone store, gas pumps under tiled canopy, two men by a 1930s truck, dog sitting on it

1931 view of the Firestone Service. Source
Click to enlarge

The photo above shows "Jules Allen, a popular cowboy singer who is a feature of the First American." with his Ford A, and a dog sitting on it! Allen (1883-1945) was a songwriter, singer and cowboy who performed on the Radio and in live shows.

The picture below shows a woman service station attendant pumping Texaco branded gas into a 1940 Chevrolet at the Firestone Service.

black and white photo, lady pumping gas into a vintage car, man with foot on bumper talking to her

1940s female attendant
Firestone Service. Source
Click to enlarge

black and white photo 1940s of a hipped roof Conoco Station Route 66 runs in front left to right

Conoco Station on 7th and Central c.1940. Click for larger view

Conoco ❌

Opposite the Firestone, on the SW corner with 7th (700 Central) was a Conoco station, with dual canopies, one facing each street. It appears in the Sanborn insurance map of 1942. It is pictured above.

On the same block, to your left at 718 Central, the map marks the Downtown Hotel in a three story brick building that looks like a home and which is still standing (St. view).

Skinner Grocery

Listed in the National and State Register of Historic Places

Adjacent to the Downtown Hotel, on the corner at 724 Central Ave SW is an excellent example of Art Deco style. This was a grocery store belonging to J.A. Skinner, who commissioned A.W. Boehning, a local architect to build it in 1931. It is currently an Italian Restaurant. The balcony on the second floor has been a controversial modern addition but it does not touch the original structure.
Notice the decorative details: the white terra cotta tiles, the fluted corner towers, the stained glass, and above all the geometric patterns. Skinner owned more stores as you can see in the 1930s advertisement below depicting the facade of this store.

1930s advertisement of Skinner Grocery

The Skinner Grocery advert c.1930s. Source. Click to enlarge

current appearance of the Skinner Grocery

The Skinner Grocery today. Click for St. view

Downtowner Motor Inn

Across the street from Skinner's is another classic hotel at 717 Central Ave NW

The Downtowner Motor Inn (currently the Hotel Blue) opened in 1965 and changed names a few times (Downtown Inn, Quality Inn, Ramada Inn). Some of its 1960s style has survived the remodelations. The 1974 postcard pictured below announced: "In the heart of downtown... Free TV - Hi-Fi (in those days there was no WiFi, only Hi Fidelity) reasonable rates.." It is currently closed and being revamped.

Color photo postcard 1960s hotel with 6 stories

Quality Inn motel in a vintage postcard. Albuquerque NM. Source. Click to enlarge

six story block shaped building, a 1960s hotel, Route 66 runs in front of it

Former Quality Inn, now Hotel Blue. Click for St. view

Valentine Diner:

The "Little House Cafe" was located a 107 8th St. SW, across 8th St. from Skinner's, on the corner of Park and 8th, by what is now the Central Ave. roundabout (map marking the spot.)

black and white photo of a Valentine Diner on a street, buildings and trees around it c.1990

Original Little House Diner, c.1990. Source
Click image to enlarge

black and white photo of a Valentine Diner on a street, buildings and trees around it c.1950s

Original Little House Diner, c.1950s. Source
Click image to enlarge

Joe and Della Hernandez ran it from 1947 until 1992. When they retired, they donated it to the Albuquerque Museum for its preservation. The Aristocrat model Valentine Diner was stored and around 1997 an agreement was reached with the Albuquerque Police to use the building as an APD substation in Nob Hill. It was restored and moved to the triangle there, in Nob Hill: read more at Valentine Diner Police Substation.

End of this leg of your Route 66 Road Trip

Here, at 8th Street you leave Downtown Albuiquerque; this point marks the end of this leg of your Road Trip across Downtown ABQ.

Continue West into the Old Town and Western Albuquerque

Continue your Road Trip heading west along Route 66 ⁄ Central Avenue into the Old Town and Western Albuquerque.

Read all about the Old Colonial Town and Western Albuquerque's Route 66 attractions in our Next Page.

Late 1800s store at the old Downtown square, flat roof, whitewashed, two large windows on each side of main entrance
Old store at the Old Town square in Albuquerque NM. Austin Whittall

The Route 66 Attractions in Albuquerque

Painted carved wood effigy of an Indian Chief

Indian Chief, Downtown Albuquerque. A. Whittall

Albuquerque is, after St. Louis and Oklahoma City, the third largest city between its two endpoint megacities, Chicago and Los Angeles. However, it has preserved far more classic landmarks along Route 66 than any of the other cities.
We have split this segment of your Route 66 road trip across Albuquerque into six separate webpages, to be able to mention all of them. They are, from east to west, the following:

Continue your Road Trip westwards beyond Albuquerque

After covering eacho of our four webpages you will have reached western Albuquerque, the endpoint of your Route 66 acreoss the city. You can continue your Route 66 road trip by heading west into the next town, Suwanee NM on the 1937-85 alignment or Isleta on the 1926-37 alignment. advertisement

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Banner image: Hackberry General Store, Hackberry, Arizona by Perla Eichenblat
Jack DeVere Rittenhouse, (1946). A Guide Book to Highway 66.

Sources of the Sears images: Source 1, Source 2, back to Sears

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