Route 66 News

State awards grant to help rehab Santa Rosa warehouse

A photo illustration of the proposed Route 66 museum inside the Ilfeld Warehouse in Santa Rosa, N.M.

The governor of New Mexico signed legislation Wednesday that awards $325,000 to the city of Santa Rosa to help plan and rehabilitate the historic Ilfeld Warehouse so it can eventually be converted into a Route 66 museum.

Gov. Susana Martinez had promised to veto any item in the Legislature’s capital-improvement measure that she deemed as pork. Good to her word, she vetoed more than 190 projects worth $23 million on Wednesday,  including a proposed $175,000 to Albuquerque to build a Route 66 visitors center on the city’s east end. The measure and her vetoes can be found here.

However, the Santa Rosa proposal survived the cut. The Guadalupe County Communicator, based in Santa Rosa, had previously reported that the city was trying to woo Route 66 enthusiast Johnnie Meier and his Classical Gas Museum gas-station memorabilia to the century-old warehouse. Meier’s museum is based in Embudo, N.M.

The $350,000 probably won’t be enough to renovate the warehouse by itself, but will help greatly. Santa Rosa also applied for a National Scenic Byways grant to help fix the Ilfeld.

The city has redoubled its efforts to establish a Route 66 museum in the past year, especially after the closing of the historic Pecos Theatre and the imminent closure of the V&S Variety store, both in downtown.

The city of Tucumcari, about 55 miles to the east, also is trying to woo Meier’s collection for its own Route 66 museum. However, it’s probably safe to say Santa Rosa now has the upper hand in that effort.


One thought on “State awards grant to help rehab Santa Rosa warehouse

  1. Ron Chavez

    great news. Santa Rosa is my home town. hope I can contribute with my documentary in progress mostly set in Santa Rosa.

    The Route 66 Storyteller

    Whatever happened to the barefoot shoeshine boy on old route 66? He rose through the ranks to become the owner of the iconic Club Café in Santa Rosa, New Mexico, where he rode the wave of the nostalgic Mother Road that became the rage of the age. He is Ron Chávez, writer of fiction and poetry set on this dramatic corridor. Today, a talented film maker and a group of committed volunteers wish to create a documentary about the Route 66 Storyteller, Ron Chávez.

    The purpose of this feature-length documentary is to preserve the stories of a man who has lived to tell and immortalize his true-life experiences on this old byway, since 1942. Eye on LA TV labeled him The Route 66 Storyteller for the tales he spun on TV, magazines, radio, newspapers and books in the USA and internationally.

    We seek funding for this special project to commemorate for all time the color and pageantry from this storytellers view point that enchanted America’s road warriors for decades.

    Check Kickstarter on the web under the title Route 66 Storyteller for pledge support after March 15, 2012. Up dates Thank you! Thank you! Thank you!

    Ron drifted off a century or two. “You know something?” he finally said. “They call America a melting pot. But I see it more as a mosaic. We fit together some, like a puzzle. But we’re still separate peoples with our own edges. That’s what makes this country beautiful. That’s what makes us strong.”
    Route 66 in its earliest form was also a mosaic—a motley, ill-fitting gathering of contiguous bits of road, trail, path and avenue. But just as concrete bound it together, 66 became the glue which bound the larger mosaic called America. Now that glue is cracking. The interstates bind us today and the mosaic we had is melting away. Owner-operated businesses like the Club are giving way to franchise man¬agement just as surely as Puerto de Luna gave way to Route 66. In Ron’s book, one seat-of-the pants survivor tells the story of another. But who will come along when Ron’s an old man and tell his story? Who will survive the Blanding of America?

    Excerpt: Searching For 66-Tom Teague

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