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Route 66 News

Nonprofit group seeks to restore Whiting Brothers signs

A nonprofit group that’s trying to spur Route 66 tourism in the Albuquerque region is raising funds to restore signs at a Whiting Brothers gas station in Moriarty, N.M. — the only one still operating.

According to a report in the Mountain View Telegraph, a member of RETRO-Relive the Route asked for money from the Moriarty City Council for the effort:

Pogue asked the council for a $5,000 appropriation from the Lodgers Tax fund in order to help Sal Lucero, who owns the Whiting Brothers station, refurbish two 60-year-old signs on the property.

The council voted to give the effort $2,000.

Pogue said that refurbishment of the two neon signs will cost about $15,400. She explained that a grant is available from the Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program, but that would only fund half of the cost. Money from Lucero and donations total $2,700, which is why she was asking the city for help.

The Whiting Brothers station dates to 1964, and owner Sal Lucero has owned it since 1985. Zeon Signs in Albuquerque, which originally installed the signs, would do the renovations.

Whiting Brothers started in 1926 and boasted more than 100 gas stations and several motels along the American Southwest. The chain declined in the 1970s, mostly from stations being bypassed by the interstates. A ruins of long-closed Whiting Bros. stations still stand, but the one in Moriarty remains the lone operating business.

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One thought on “Nonprofit group seeks to restore Whiting Brothers signs

  1. Sal Paradise

    We seem to be seeing more and more situations like this one, where an old, directly on Route 66 business with a long track record need help, and usually end up not getting enough money locally. New Mexico seems to be the worst.

    The state has so many relics of the route and would benefit from a centralized effort to ensure they don’t all disappear. Maybe its good the people there take the route for granted. After all, its just a road and I can understand them wondering why they need to pay scarce tax money on such projects. I don’t blame them. Without a major plan to revitalize things, leaving most towns on their own, it makes getting anything done more difficult.

    I see states, like Illinois, with its ‘hyper’ active local route groups and what they’ve done there to turn what’s left of Route 66 into a tourist event from Chicago to East St. Louis. Illinois is, or has, run out of major places to fix up, and for all we know may soon be working over roadside latrines and off-Route venues. Anything to turn a buck. But New Mexico truly has many unique, and real, Route 66 places. Many of them just sitting there, beaten down by time and lack of repairs. Makes you wonder why.

    It would be great if Route 66 fans, from all over the country, could focus their efforts on New Mexico and begin to help the state get to work on their unique places along the route. Maybe those people in Illinois could reach out and help. Or the other state Route 66 groups and associations.

    I wonder, if the Whiting station was in Mclean, Illinois, or Miami, Oklahoma, how long it would take to have that sign repainted and paid for. Makes you wonder what some serious coordination could do to improve the experience of Route 66 in its entirety, vs. just being concerned with a selfish approach we seem to see now.

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