Route 66, Albuquerque

It’s America’s most recognized highway that doesn’t officially exist. Route 66 was decommissioned in segments from 1977-1985, leaving a slowly decaying, but much-loved jumble of quintessentially American images, a thin ribbon of now discontinuous asphalt stretching from Chicago to Los Angeles.

Route 66 passes through Albuquerque, New Mexico, along Central Avenue. It remains a busy commercial artery, with plenty of neon signs, wacky motels, and a wide slice of life. Since my first visit in 2005, much has been lost. A number of historic motels have been razed, others are fenced off and empty, others are barely hanging on as low-cost housing. And some are still well-restored motels. It’s still one of the best urban sections of Route 66, despite the recent changes.

Tewa Lodge, 5715 E. Central

Tewa Lodge (1946), 5715 Central Ave. NE


Zia Lodge (1940), 4611 Central Ave. SE, demolished


Aztec Motel (1931), 3821 Central Ave. NE, demolished


DeAnza Motor Lodge (1939), 4301 Central Ave. NE


Hiway House (1958), 3200 Central Ave. SE

Kimo Theater (1927), 423 Central Ave. NW

Kimo Theater (1927), 423 Central Ave. NW


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