The deal with “a delightful couple” is expected to close later this month.
Co-owners Kevin and Nancy Mueller posted this message on Facebook:
They stated they would help the as-yet-unidentified new owners “make it as seamless a transition as we possibly can.”
The Muellers, who hailed from Michigan, bought the property in 2011 and made many improvements, including new plumbing, subfloors, tankless water heaters and a roof.
The original asking price when it was put up for sale in August 2018 was $1.2 million, which included a vacant lot behind it, a former gas station next door repurposed into a workshop, a charging station for electric cars and a 1957 Hudson car that’s often parked beneath the main neon sign.
Kevin Mueller said it was “a combination of factors” that prompted them to offer up the motel. One was the recent death of Nancy’s father in Michigan. Another was their son and daughter-in-law — who are partners — declined taking over ownership and want to be closer to her family in Kentucky. Another was the day-to-day grind of repairs to a nearly 80-year-old structure and greeting travelers.
“We feel like we’ve done our diligence with the place,” Kevin said. “We’ve worked really hard and spent a ton of money to put it in the best shape it’s been in a long time. It’s going to survive us.” […]
“In so many ways, it’s been one of the most amazing experiences of our lives,” Kevin said, his voice cracking with emotion, “and we’re going to miss a lot of it. But we won’t miss everything.”
The Blue Swallow, built in 1939 by W.A. Huggins, remains one of the best-preserved motor courts on Route 66 with its original attached garages, stucco walls and its eye-catching neon sign (erected in the 1950s) and architectural neon. It was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1993.
Part of the Blue Swallow’s allure was Lillian Redman, a former Harvey Girl who owned the motel for more than 40 years. Her kindness to travelers was the stuff of legend, but her perseverance after Interstate 40 bypassed the town also kept the motel alive when others closed during that era.
The Blue Swallow’s renaissance began after Dale and Hilda Bakke purchased the motel and began restoring it in the late 1990s.
Redman died at age 89 in 1999. Dale Bakke died in 2016 at age 60.
(Image of the Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari, New Mexico, by Tim Anderson via Flickr)