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An urgent message from Albuquerque October 31, 2007

Posted by Ron Warnick in Motels, Preservation.
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Here it is, in full:

Greetings:

El Vado Motel is back on the Albuquerque Landmarks and Urban Conservation Commission‘s agenda in two weeks. If you support preservation of this historic Route 66 landmark, know that its designation as a City of Albuquerque Landmark is again at stake, along with its very existence. Two related questions are at issue: 1) Should the El Vado be designated a City Landmark? and 2) Should the owner’s request for a Certificate of Appropriateness to demolish it be approved?

Issue 1 — The El Vado was designated a City Landmark in early 2006 by the City Council, but on appeal by the owner, that designation was reversed by a court and must be taken up again by the Landmarks Commission. The buildings remain suitable for preservation and easily qualify as a City Landmark under the City’s designation criteria. However, the economic impact of the landmark designation must be considered by the Commission and will be presented to them.

Issue 2 — Earlier this year, the Commission denied the owner’s application for a Certificate of Appropriateness to demolish, but this decision too was appealed and the application remanded to the Commission for further deliberation.

I’m writing you because the Commission’s decision is to be made in public with public testimony, written and spoken. If you are inclined to write or appear and voice your support for city landmark designation and the degree of protection that comes with that designation, please do so.

Here’s how:

Written: E-mail or write a letter to Charles Price, Chairman, and Members, Albuquerque Landmarks and Urban Commission, c/o Maryellen Hennessy, City Planning Department, P.O. Box 1293, Albuquerque NM 87103, by November 5th if possible. [Editor’s note: Maryellen Hennessy’s e-mail is [email protected]]

Spoken: If you live near enough to attend the Commission’s hearing, please come and voice your support — it’s especially effective. The hearing time and place are as follows — 3 p.m. Wednesday, 14 November, Basement Hearing Room, 600 Second Street NW (corner of Roma and 2nd, a block south of Lomas).

Questions? Let me know at 505-924-3342 or reply to this message.

Thanks very much,

Ed Boles
Historic Preservation Planner
City of Albuquerque
[email protected]

P.S.: Thanks for all your support to date. I’m optimistic about preserving the El Vado and seeing it back in service.

This is what we’re trying to save:

You heard the man. Get writing.

This is short notice … October 31, 2007

Posted by Ron Warnick in Events, Motels, Movies.
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… but Shellee Graham will have a screening of her documentary “Built for Speed: The Coral Court Motel” at 7 p.m. Thursday at the Lincoln County Museum of Pioneer History at 717-719 Manvel, aka Route 66, in Chandler, Okla.

The Coral Court Motel was an exquisite art deco business on Route 66 in Marlborough, Mo., that was torn down about 10 years ago. A reassembled unit, however, is at the Museum of Transportation in St. Louis.

Ghosts at the former Big Chief? October 31, 2007

Posted by Ron Warnick in Ghosts and Mysteries, Restaurants.
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The former Big Chief Dakota restaurant and motel complex on the Manchester Road alignment of Route 66 in Wildwood, Mo., now a B. Donovan’s restaurant, may have some ghosts on the premises, reports the Suburban Journals.

Smith said he has heard a number of stories about the property.

“One is that there is a female Indian ghost that walks along the back of the property,”he said. “The other is supposedly when they tore down a cabin, a body was found in the wall.”

Smith said strange incidents happen in the restaurant.

In spring, he and three employees were sitting in the restaurant after closing time and heard a woman’s voice, he said.

“There was no woman in the restaurant at the time, and we searched for her — but she was not found,” Smith said.

He said footsteps sometimes are heard when no one is seen on the stairs.

“There are also a lot of noises in the attic,” Smith said.

The thing that seems to bother him the most are weird holes that appear in the ceiling of the attic. He said he keeps sealing them, and “when I return in the morning, a new hole appears,” he said.

Hope the health inspector doesn’t get mad about those holes.

Magazine publishers get the Harley & Annabelle Experience October 30, 2007

Posted by Ron Warnick in Attractions, Events, Music, People.
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According to an article last week in the Elk City and Sayre newspapers in Oklahoma, Harley and Annabelle Russell of the Sandhills Curiosity Shop in Erick, Okla., entertained 57 members of the International Regional Magazine Association earlier this month.

The group was in Oklahoma City for the gathering, but drove a few hours west to check out the Harley & Annabelle, aka The Mediocre Music Makers.

The article contained interesting tidbits about the Russells’ summer:

The Russells have had their busiest year ever, with as many as four tour groups a day stopping at their Erick location.

“On August 2, we started the day early with a bus load from the First Baptist Church of Oklahoma City and ended it after entertaining a group from Norway that arrived at 8 p.m.,” Harley said. “Annabelle and I are jogging and doing pushups trying to build up our stamina so we can put on shows our guests will never forget!”

Among their visitors this year was a documentary team sent by Al Gore to gather information about American small towns. An Irish television producer also filmed at the Sandhills Curiosity shop in 2007.

Pictures from the magazine association’s gathering at the Sandhills shop can be seen here and here.

History of the Green Spot October 30, 2007

Posted by Ron Warnick in History, Motels, Preservation.
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Mark Landis, writing for the San Bernardino County Sun, wrote an interesting historical overview of the Green Spot Motel, built in 1937 on Route 66 in Victorville, Calif.

The Green Spot, at 16937 C St., was the finest motel in town, offering the most modern comforts and services available for the traveling public. Twin arched entryways and red tile roofs accentuated the Spanish-styling of the u-shaped courtyard. All 21 units featured air conditioned rooms, “running ice water,” private showers or baths, and “electric radiant glass heat.”

The individual units were connected by small garages. This unique feature advertised as “car-by-door” gave the motorist the luxury of parking next to their room and out of the elements. […]

Longtime Victorville resident and community leader Felix Diaz recalls when the Green Spot Motel was a favorite of the Hollywood crowd.

“I remember the Green Spot when it was `the place’ to stay,” he said. “When actors came to the High Desert to film movies, that’s where they stayed.”

Former actress Kay Aldridge even owned the motel for several years. But it’s an Asian-American — and interest from Route 66 travelers — who are keeping the historic motel alive.

Hemant Patel, the current owner of the Green Spot, has been working to clean up the aging motel since he bought it in 2001.

“This place used to be a bad spot with a lot of drugs, but we’ve cleaned up the whole area,” Patel said. “Now, I choose the people I want to live here.”

The garages connecting the units have been converted into living areas and there are now 40 rooms that are at about 50 percent occupancy.

“There has been a lot of interest in the motel,” Patel said. “People from all over the world have come and asked about the place. It’s still paying all the bills, and I’m planning on staying and running the motel.”

Faster fiesta October 29, 2007

Posted by Ron Warnick in Events, Towns.
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Brad Carter has created a time-lapse video of the sights from the recent Albuquerque International Balloon Fiesta.

The fiesta needs to use this guy’s work for publicity, pronto. It makes me wanna go.

(Hat tip: Duke City Fix.)

No bull October 29, 2007

Posted by Ron Warnick in Businesses.
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Straight from the Arizona Daily Sun in Flagstaff:

The fiberglass bull welded to the sign outside Crazy Bill’s Saloon and Steakhouse has been stolen.

According to Flagstaff police reports, the brown bull, which is about half-sized in scale, was taken between 8 p.m. on Thursday and 4 a.m. on Friday from the bar and restaurant, 3130 E. Route 66. The bull was wearing a tan-colored wig over its head and horns. It is worth about $4,000, reports stated.

Police noticed tire tracks and footprints in the dirt around the sign, and damage to the nearby wooden split-rail fence. Apparently, somebody backed onto the sidewalk from the west parking lot, causing the damage. A witness said he saw a red truck in the spot at about 10 p.m. and the bull was already gone, but he did not see the bull in the bed, reports stated.

Police have no suspects.

Two observations. First, this has to be a drunken prank and not a premeditated theft. I mean, what would you do with a fiberglass bull? If you stole it, how would you keep it hidden? What profit motive is there? It’s not like you can hawk it at your local pawn shop. I’ll bet it’s recovered fairly quickly.

Second, this was the same establishment that was placing homophobic comments on its marquee in this summer — a move so stupid and rude that even heterosexuals were offended. Based on the dearth of follow-up reports in the Daily Sun, it’s assumed that cooler (and smarter) heads prevailed and that the comments were taken down.

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