The long-closed Apache Motel in Tucumcari, New Mexico, has landed new owners who plan to restore it — including its massive neon sign — and reopen it by late summer.
I found out about the project last week when I saw crews working around the property at 1106 E. Tucumcari Blvd. (aka Route 66) in recent days. I talked to the foreman, who put me in touch with co-owner Joanne Thompson, who lived in Florida but recently bought a home in Tucumcari.
She said she hopes she can land a partial certificate of occupancy by late July and use the revenue to restore the rest of the facility.
You can read more in a story by yours truly in the Quay County Sun.
The gist is Thompson and her business partner landed the property during a real-estate swap about a year ago. She liked that the motel was between Del’s Restaurant and Kix on 66 and that the humongous neon sign is iconic, which she pledges to restore.
To reiterate that last point, the workers hooked up the electricity to the sign Wednesday, and some of the chasing lights that outlined the sign lit up for the first time in years.
Here’s what it looked like that night:
Dovetailing from its name, Thompson said she wants a “rustic” Native American and Southwest themed decor with cowskin, adobe walls and wooden bedposts. That doesn’t mean the rooms will be primitive. She said it would be “high-tech nice” with walk-in showers instead of the old tubs.
According to a real-estate listing on Loopnet.com last year, the Apache Motel was built in 1960.
Thompson said anyone with memorabilia, old photos or historical information about the Apache Motel should email her at [email protected].
The timing of the motel being brought back to life is a morale-booster for the town and Route 66 in general, both of which are struggling economically because of the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
(Image of the Apache Motel sign in 2013 in Tucumcari, New Mexico, by Thomas Hawk via Flickr)