Two buildings of the long-closed Rio Pecos Ranch Truck Terminal along old Route 66 in Santa Rosa, New Mexico, were leveled to their foundations earlier this month, according to a recent print edition of The Communicator newspaper in Santa Rosa.
The Rio Pecos sign and historic garage will remain standing and eventually will be refurbished, according to the newspaper.
Workers demolished the restaurant and terminal on the east side of the property. (Those are the attached white buildings in the background of the above photo.)
According to The Communicator:
The truck terminal dated back to the heyday of Route 66 in the early 1960s. It was one of seven truck stops and five cafes originally built and operated by Bessie (Rogers) Boren and husband Ira Lionel Boren of the Fort Sumner-based Rio Pecos Oil Company. They’d later construct the KOA Kampground across Route 66 from the Rio Pecos Ranch Truck Terminal, and it still operates today as the Santa Rosa Campground.
Johnny Martinez of today’s Comet II Restaurant recalled the Pancake Ranch Café being established at the truck terminal site in 1963.
“Mrs. Bessie Boren from Fort Sumner owned and operated it, then we took it over,” he said, referring to a partnership including Martinez, the late Archie Zinck and Patricia Halpin Martinez. “We had it from 1963 to 1969,” Martinez said. “We were doing a hell of a business at that truck stop.”
Several online sources stated the Rio Pecos Ranch Truck Terminal’s origin dates to about 1955. According to RoadsideArchitecture.com:
The truck’s driver had an animated waving hand at one time. In 2003, the city of Santa Rosa expressed interest in relocating this sign and replacing the white plastic portion with a “Welcome to Santa Rosa” message board. However, the owner of the sign wanted too much money and the project fell through.
The business declined from other truck-stop competition and the coming of Interstate 40, It closed by the late 1970s or early 1980s.
Since then, it had become a growing eyesore to the city because it drew vandals and homeless squatters. It’s one of several abandoned Route 66 properties — including the Surf n Sand Motel — the city has urged its owners to clean up or make way for the bulldozers.
The newspaper reported the owners, brothers Adam and Aaron Gallegos, bought the property in the early 1980s and even installed a new roof on the main terminal building. But the elements — especially a severe hailstorm a few years ago — won out.
At least the main garage and sign still are standing. The Communicator reported:
The historic garage is considered more structurally sound and will remain standing, along with a metal storage shed, the gas pumps and the landmark sign. The second-wave of the project is to restore those so the site can be put back into business, perhaps in a year’s time, Gallegos said.
(Image of the Rio Pecos Ranch Truck Terminal site in August 2015 by Shannon Badlee via Flickr)