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Route 66 from Glenrio to Tucumcari

Driving Route 66

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In this page we will describe the different alignments adopted by Route 66 between Glenrio on the Texas - New Mexico state line, and Tucumcari NM.

You will learn about the Historic alignments of US Highway 66 between Glenrio and Tucumcari, which are listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

Route 66 has had several realignments since it was created in 1926. Here we provide maps and itineraries so that you can drive those that can still be driven, and find those that have been abandoned.

Drive Historic Route 66 between Glenrio and Tucumcari, in eastern NM.

Old 1950s service station in San Jon

view of canopy, offices and garage bays old gas station
Old gas station on Historic Route 66 in San Jon NM.

Historic Route 66 Glenrio - Tucumcari

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Glenrio to Tucumcari Historic Route 66

Route 66, Tucumcari to Tucumcari, NM.

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

This is the historic segment of Route 66 from Glenrio to Tucumcari.

Starting point, Glenrio

Little Juarez Diner, Glenrio, Texas

Closed Cafe in Glenrio, Texas
Closed Little Juarez Diner & Café in Glenrio, Texas,

Drive west along Route 66 from Glenrio (Texas), this was the alignment of Route 66 from 1926 until it was replaced by the freeway.

For information on the previous section, visit our page Route 66 from Amarillo to Glenrio.

Brief History of this segment of US 66

Route 66 was created in 1926 as part of the US highway system. But it was preceded by other highways and was aligned along some of them.

The "Ozark Trail" was a private association that promoted better highways. In the 1910s it marked out a "trail" that could be driven by cars (known as "Auto Roads") across the country. The Map below, published in 1912 shows some of these auto roads (full red lines) in eastern New Mexico.

National Old Trails Map Glenrio and Tucumcari area from 1912

1912 Road Map National Old Trails
Old Road map from 1912 of Eastern NM David Rumsey Collection

This trail bypassed San Jon, Bard, Endee and Glenrio. Instead it headed to the northeast through Logan.

The map below (from 1925) shows how the "Ozark Trails" (marked with "50") and the "Coast to Coast Route" (marked with "72") ran from Glenrio to Tucumcari. The road was a "Dirt Road" in this segment.

Vintage Road map, Glenrio to Tucumcari. 1925

1925 Road Map National Old Trails
Old Road map from 1925 David Rumsey Collection

In 1926 Route 66 was aligned along this highway from Glenrio to San Jon.

Route 66 Map through Endee. 1939 (original alignment 1926-52)

1939 Road Map of Route 66 near Endee, New Mexico
Route 66 map from 1939 showing Endee, NM..

1952-1973 Alignment near Gleanrio

The alignment out of Glenrio

Map of US66 alignments in Glenrio

Alignments of Route 66 near Glenrio.
Click on map for large size image

Now the road is empty, but in 1961, on an average day, some 3,500 vehicles crossed the line between New Mexico and Texas along this stretch of Highway 66.

Half a mile west of Glenrio the road has a fork (see map), to the right is the 1952 alignment of Route 66, which cannot be driven as it is cut off by I-40. We describe it below. To the left is the 1926 to 1952 US 66 alignment, a dirt surfaced road for the next 14.1 miles (Map of the dirt road segment).

This is the right fork. It was the course taken by Route 66 after 1952 and until Oct. 1, 1973. It heads northwest and then curves to the southwest on the north side of I-40. It is cut off on both sides of the freeway, and can only be driven west of NM-93, at I-40 exit 369.

The Blue arrows mark the 1926-52 alignment, the Red arrows show the 1952 alignment. I-40 cuts across it.

Glenrio Bridge

There is also a bridge on this section, across Trujillo Creek. It has a total length of 500 ft, and is closed to traffic. It was abandoned in 1973 when I-40 bypassed this segment.

The image shows the view from the freeway's eastbound lanes, looking towards the southeast. You can see the abandoned roadbed (black arrows), the bridge (Red arrow) and in the distance, Glenrio.

grass and old roadbed, bridge in the distance
Route 66 1952-73 abandoned alignment near Glenrio.

Glenrio to San Jon Historic Route 66

Route 66, Montoya, NM.

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

This segment begins in Glenrio, on the state line, heads west and at the fork of the later 1952-73 alignment, heads to the SW. It goes through Endee and Bard, to end in San Jon.

The "Modern Restrooms" in the foreground, at Endee.

close up viewo of the "outhouse bathroomn"
The "Modern Restrooms", Endee, NM.

It is maintained by the county. The easternmost part of this road is a four-lane highway with a concrete median which was built in 1951.

The rest of the segment is now a dirt road with a gravel surface. There are some spots where the 1950s asphalt can still be spotted.

The county removed the asphalt cover to make it easier (and cheaper) to maintain. Driving along this segment is like traveling back in time to the late 1920s.

Dirt surfaced Route 66 between Glenrio and Endee

Dirt road in the open green countryside
Route 66 map with a dirt-gravel surface.

It dates back to 1926, and initially it had a winding course, to cross the different creeks flowing into the Trujillo and San Juan streams. This meant that it also crossed the railroad. In 1930 it was realigned under FAP 127-A to eliminate the grade crossings with the Chicago and Rock Island, and Pacific Railroad. And several wood bridges were built across the brooks close to Endee. It was also paved.

This road section was paved and served as Route 66 until 1952.

The Wooden Cyprus Bridge is one of these timber bridges built in 1930. It is located 2.1 mi. west of Endee. It was built with cresote-treated pine timber. Its deck is built with laminated wood so that it could easily be repaired by unskilled workers.

Route 66 crossing a wood bridge west of Endee NM

wood bridge crossing dry river
Route 66 wooden bridge near Endee.

The road runs parallel to the railroad tracks, passes through the ghost towns of Endee and Bard, and approaches I-40 just west of San Jon.

It crosses well irrigated, rolling rangeland. Barbed wire fences run parallel to the highway and to the south are the now abandoned railroad tracks with some wood tressles of the railway causeways.

train tressle built in wood
Train tressle next to US 66. Credits

The dirt-gravel section ends two miles east of San Jon, just as US66 converges on the interstate.

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1952-73 Alignment to San Jon

From Russell's Truck Stop, at the end of the abandoned segment of US66 mentioned further up, the north frontage road runs parallel to the freeway. This road was the 1952 to 1973 alignment of Route 66.

See this map of the Eastern segment and this map of the Western segment into San Jon.

At Bard, Exit 361 you can see the Bard Trading Post.

Bard Trading Post nowadays on the 1952 US 66 alignment

Abandoned hulk of the trading post building
Bard Trading Post nowadays, in ruins.

Two miles west, the frontage road and the freeway curve and take an east-west alignment. This is the point where Route 66 continued straight with its SW direction -now under the freeway- and met the earlier 1926-52, which is now on the southern side of I-40. This is shown in the following map. Where we overlap the current highways with the USGS map from 1968.

The Blue arrows mark the 1926-52 alignment, the Red arrows show the Freeway (parallel gray lines). The red line marks the 1952-73 US 66, cut by I-40 in the area marked with the circle.

map showing how the 1952 alignment of US 66 entered San Jon
The US 66 1952-73 alignment east of San Jon. A. Whittall

The highway from this point is paved. It enters San Jon along its main street.

US 66 from San Jon to Tucumcari

Route 66, Tucumcari, NM.

Listed in the National Register of Historic Places.

This segment is also a historic landmark listed in the National Register of Historic Places. It is fully paved.

Can you read the motel's name?

Western motel's rusty neon sign
The neon sign of the "Western Motel" on Route 66 in San Jon NM. Credits

The USGS map below printed in 1968 shows the progress of I-40 as it was built in the late 1960s. You can see how it ends on the eastern side of San Jon, and hos it continues along the 1926 alignment into the town. The map also shows (dashed line) the 1952 road through Bard, and the 1926-52 US66 can be seen running straight east (two parallel black lines). West of San Jon, the original road hadn't been replaced by the interstate at that time.

map showing the 1968 alignment of US 66 in San Jon
The US 66 in a 1968 USGS map in San Jon

The southern frontage road of I-40 is the alignment of Route 66, see this Map to Tucumcari (east), at Tucumcari, I-40 cuts the original alignment so after crossing it at Exit 335, continue on the north side of the interstate all the way into the city, see this Map to Tucumcari (west).

Of course, the frontage road curves around several overpasses that bridge I-40, here too, the original alignment has been erased. The frontage road skirts around them.

Cedar Hil Store and Station

The only point of interest close to San Jon is the former Cedar Hill Grocery Store and gas station, 8.5 miles west (Map with directions). This spot appears in the 1925 road map as "Revuelto" and Rittenhouse mentions it as "Gas Station".

It was owned in the mid 1960s by Charlie and Lillian Murray. It has fallen into disrepair, and the canopy has collapsed.

old store on hill with trees, in ruins
Cedar Hill gas station and Store, Revuelto, NM. Credits

The road was paved and straightened out in 1933, but the pre-1933 alignment of the road is visible fifty yards to the south of the present roadbed after Cedar Hills (see this segment west of the Revuelto Creek in a Satellite view).

Lesbia

Further ahead, at the junction of US 66 and QR Ag (15 mi. west of San Jon), take a left along QR Ag and after 0.7 mi. you will reach Lesbia, which once was a station on the Rock Island Railroad.

It was named Rudulph from 1908 to 1910, then Castleberry (till 1913) and finally Lesbia, until 1918 when the post office closed.

As you reach Tucumcari, to your left there is a former shop or trading post (Street View).

Tucumcari end of the journey

Drive into Tucumcari, the end of this segment.

Next Section

Route 66's alignments from Tucumcari to Santa Rosa

Previous Section

Route 66 from Amarillo to Glenrio.

Palomino Motel
Palomino Motel, Tucumcari, New Mexico, Ross Grif

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Credits

Banner image: Hackberry General Store, Hackberry, Arizona by Perla Eichenblat.

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