A 1953 flight service station building at the Grants / Milan Municipal Airport in New Mexico this month was added to the National Register of Historic Places after three years of restoration.
The building, part of the Western New Mexico Aviation Heritage Museum, is designed to honor aviation pioneers of the late 1920s and ’30s who flew along the Los Angeles-to-Amarillo segment of the Midcontinental Airway.
According to the Cibola County Beacon, the National Register designation became official Aug. 14.
The museum also includes two 1929 structures, a 55-foot beacon tower, an electric generator shed and a re-creation of the giant concrete arrow on the ground that helped direct aviators. Many of those concrete arrows survive in the western U.S.
It’s a faithful look of what aviation looked like during the early days of the Mother Road. The 1920s structures and tower came from other locations in New Mexico or Arizona.
The flight service building, however, is original to the airport and was neglected for almost 40 years.
The above photo is what the building looked like before restoration began.
The museum isn’t on Route 66, but less than a half-mile off the route on Airport Road. The aviation route, however, roughly followed Route 66 and remains a part of its history. And the museum’s operators have made it clear they consider Route 66 a vital link to its future.
Volunteers staff the museum from 9 a.m. to 1 p.m. Saturdays, or by calling 505-287-4700 to make an appointment.
(Image via the Cibola County Historical Society)