Route 66 News

Grants property nominated as historic site

Charlie’s Radiator Service, a business that was established in the 1940s on Route 66 in Grants, N.M., was nominated as a state historic site, reported the Cibola County Beacon.

The designation would make it eligible for the National Register of Historic Places.

On the west end of Grants, Charles Diaz opened Charley’s Automotive Service in 1943. The business later became Charley’s Radiator Service when Diaz began specializing in radiator repair.

It is located at 1308-1310 West Santa Fe Avenue. Two of the buildings were commercial enterprises, Charley’s Automotive Service and the Star CafĂ©. The extended family utilized the remaining buildings for residential purposes.

Diaz’s maternal grandfather, Joseph Capelli, an Italian-born stonemason partnered with Diaz in constructing five buildings on the site. In the early 1940’s, their use of pumice-block materials was innovative. Pumice block has sufficient compressive strength for building construction. In addition to better insulating qualities, it has less weight than cement block.

A photo of the Charlie’s Radiator Shop can be seen here and here.

The long-closed business has been issued an “abatement of nuisance” resolution by the city. However, according to the newspaper, the property’s owner, Joseph Diaz, is seeking help from a number of agencies, including the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program, to restore and revitalize the building.

The city said it would have no objection to the historic-site nomination.

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