Santa Rosa Route 66 museum closer to reality

Classical Gas Museum

Santa Rosa, New Mexico, and Classical Gas Museum owner Johnnie Meier have edged closer to an agreement to set up a Route 66 museum in the city’s Ilfeld Warehouse.

Last week’s print edition of the The Communicator, based in Santa Rosa, reported the city and Meier were in on-and-off talks for almost a decade amid funding issues and other sticking points for the museum.

Meier, curator of the Classical Gas Museum on the back road between Santa Fe and Taos, said he hopes it’s the last “annual kick-off meeting” in the decade-long effort to get the project done. They’re on the doorstep now. Although city officials had tried to get the site ready even quicker, in time for this year’s summer tourist season, the new target is for Meier to take the keys to the building by December, spend several months moving and assembling what he calls “an amazing array of artifacts,” and open around Memorial Day 2017. […]

According to a brief staff report prepared for this week’s Santa Rosa City Council meeting, the city is about to use around $250,000 of capital outlay appropriations to advance various issues so the building can get a certificate of occupancy. […]

The city hopes to enter an agreement with the non-profit Guadalupe County Development Corporation to run a visitors center at the site. In turn, that entity could lease the warehouse space for cultural amenities, such as the Route 66 museum.

Meier’s Classical Gas Museum holds a bunch of gas-station and Route 66 memorabilia. It includes vintage neon and metal signs, toys, gas pumps, jukeboxes and traffic lights, plus other items that never have been displayed. He said he also procured commitments and loans of other memorabilia from Route 66ers and collectors.

This New Mexico Tourism video contains more about Classical Gas:

Meier and city officials also said the museum would not sell Route 66 souvenirs that would compete against other Santa Rosa businesses.

The Santa Rosa museum, however, would compete with the New Mexico Route 66 Museum, 55 miles to the east next to the Tucumcari Civic Center in Tucumcari.

The Ilfeld Warehouse, circa 1901, sits north of downtown Santa Rosa. Natural lighting fostered by its unique design would make museum displays more attractive.

More about the warehouse:

(Image capture of the interior of the Classical Gas Museum in Embudo, New Mexico, from New Mexico True video)

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