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A tiny "Ghost Town"

Montoya is basically a ghost town, which is best known because it is the site where a historic building is located: the Richardson Store, which is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Another attraction is the Tucumcari to Montoya Route 66 segment itself, also listed as a Historic Place.

Montoya NM

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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.

Richardson Store Montoya NM
Historic Richardson Store in Montoya (2008). Click on image for Street View

Where to Stay

Montoya does not have any accommodation but there are several hotels in other towns that are close to it:

>> Book your Hotels close to town, in
or Santa Rosa.

Lodging Near Montoya along Route 66

Heading West...

Heading East....

Further east, in Texas:

The Santa Fe Route 66 segment

Book your Route 66 hotel now
Book your Hotel along Route 66

>> 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).

Tornado risk

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.

Latest weather in Montoya, NM
Montoya, New Mexico its location map on Route 66
Location of Montoya on Route 66

Map U.S. 66 in Montoya New Mexico

Display Montoya Route 66 Map

  Click Map will appear below
 Click for US66 "Santa Fe alignment map"

This map shows the alignment of Route 66 in Montoya. The color key for this town is:
(for the other towns, check their maps - color keys may change)

Pale Blue: Historic Route 66 alignment.
Red line: I-40 & where it overlaps the old alignment.
Green: The 1926 - 1937 alignment through Santa Fe (click button to see it).

Google Maps. Terms. Nicolas Mollet, CC BY SA 3.0 License

Route 66's alignment in New Mexico: the Historic Route 66 through Montoya

Route 66 logo

Route 66 across New Mexico

Click to read the Full description of Route 66 across New Mexico.

The Santa Fe Loop (1926 - 1937)

Our Santa Fe Loop page describes the complete 1926 to 1937 alignment of Route 66 from Santa Rosa to Albuquerque through Pecos, Santa Fe and Bernalillo.

Below is full information on Route 66's 1926 alignment in this town.

Montoya: its Attractions

Landmarks, Route 66 sights

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.)

To the east lies Tucumcari (22 miles), San Jon (46 mi.), and on the New Mexico - Texas state line is Glenrio (64 mi.), and further east is Amarillo (137 mi.)

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

Richardson Store

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.

Richardson Store
Current appearance of Richardson Store, Montoya; Ammodramus

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

Visit, to the east, the nearby towns of Tucumcari, San Jon and Glenrio (on the Texas state line).

To the west is Newkirk and Cuervo followed by Santa Rosa.

The Old alignment of Route 66 near Tucumcari

route 66 shield New Mexico

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 map.

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.

> > See the previous segment San Jon to Tucumcari (to the east)

> > See the next one Newkirk to Cuervo (to the west)

National and State Parks

See our page on Tucumcari, with full details of Parks close to Montoya and Tucumcari


Banner image: The Dead Man's Curve, Laguna, NM by Perla S. Eichenblat.

Robert Julyan. 1996, The Place Names of New Mexico. UNM Press

Richardson Store Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program, National Park Service

Sephardic and Crypto-Jews of New Mexico