Kevin and Nancy Mueller of the Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari, New Mexico, announced Friday the new owners of the historic Route 66 motel are Robert and Dawn Federico of Crystal Lake, Illinois.
The Federicos are embarking on a Route 66 trip to introduce themselves to various people along the road before they take possession of the property on July 22. The deal officially closed on June 30.
The Muellers announced in mid-June the motel was under contract.
The Muellers, which owned the motel for nine years, will stay on for a week or two afterward the Federicos arrive to help with the transition.
Here’s the announcement of the ownership change on Facebook:
No sale price was disclosed. The Muellers put the property on the market in August 2018 with an initial price of $1.2 million.
Robert said during a telephone interview Friday no big changes would occur to the motel, describing themselves as “caretakers” of the property.
Robert said the desert Southwest won him over during a trip in December. Dawn needed no such persuasion; she had been a fan of the region for decades. Their fateful journey included a stop in Tucumcari, where Robert spent about 45 minutes taking pictures of the motel.
During downtime caused by the pandemic, the couple reassessed their lives and decided to make a play for the property for their “next adventure,” Robert said. He was a trade show manager and director. She was a virtual assistant. They have been married for 16 years.
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 neon sign (erected in the 1950s). It was added to the National Register of Historic Places in 1993.
Part of the Blue Swallow’s allure remains 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 Tucumcari kept the motel alive when many others closed. The Blue Swallow’s renaissance began after Dale and Hilda Bakke purchased the motel and began restoring it in the late 1990s.
(Image of the Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari, New Mexico, by Sylvain L via Flickr)