In the last few months, a fellow by the name of Charlie has posted a series of articles about Route 66 and its landmarks in Amarillo for the Mix 94.1 radio station.
One of the latest is a detailed article about the long-shuttered Ranchotel along the Sixth Street alignment, just west of downtown.
Charlie writes about the property at 2501 W. Sixth Ave. (aka Route 66):
Ranchotel was built in 1940. It was the same U-shaped court that we see today, with the main office sitting in the middle of the property.
Ranchotel featured designs based on adobe traditions with squat chimneys and stucco walls, and rooms had décor that celebrated ranching. […]
Ranchotel was eventually sold and the units were turned into apartments.
Originally, the units had been separated by garages. Those garages would be repurposed into living areas.
Ranchotel was added to the National Register of Historic Places in ’95. The NRHP listed the property as having a laundry, library, meeting room, women’s dorm, infirmary, and quiet room along with the individual units.
At that time it was operating as a hostel for the area’s homeless, and was also used to provide hospice care for HIV/AIDS patients in the 90s. […]
Now, it has boarded-up windows. Weeds have taken over the landscaping. It looks as if the only tenants that are there now would be squatters. It’s an unfortunate state for the once iconic Western-themed tourist court on Route 66.
The Route 66 Corridor Preservation Program also posted about the Ranchotel here. It states it remains one of the few surviving tourist courts in Amarillo that predate World War II.
The Route 66 Times reports more about the 16-unit motel:
The former Ranchotel was built in 1940 by the Randall Construction Company for Chester and Betty Bordwell at a cost of $20,000.00. […] Rather than numbers, rather rooms were branded similar to cattle brands. The room keys carried a brand matching that on the door.
The original wooden sign out front included a life-size cowboy throwing a lariat and a horse. “Ranch-O-Tel” was spelled out in actual rope. The sign was illuminated by floodlights.
The Bordwells sold the property in 1952.
The original National Register nomination form may be found here.
Below are vintage images of the motel, back when it was called the Ranch-O-Tel and was more prosperous:
(Image of the Ranchotel in Amarillo, Texas, in 2016 by Ammodramus via Wikimedia Commons; vintage images of the Ranch-O-Tel in Amarillo courtesy of 66Postcards.com)