Vanishing America on Route 66


The Ultimate Summer Road Trip Day 2 (afternoon Part 3)

Sunday, July 25th, 2010

Although The Route 66 Auto Museum and The Blue Hole in Santa Rosa were awesome without a doubt, they were not the locations where we spent most of our Santa Rosa time on Route 66. That honor went to two, far less lively locations, The Lake View Modern Courts, and another abandoned motel that may possibly have been the old Surf Motel. (Update! It was The Oasis Motel)

Not too far from the Auto museum on historic Route 66, we came across an old motor-court-style motel sitting abandoned and weary on the side of the road. Lake View Modern Court was still painted across the top of the motel itself, and a broken neon sign in front proclaimed The Pla… EL. Playground equipment to the side sat poignantly still. Broken down doors allowed access to the rooms and interior and we stood inside, solemnly paying testament to this vanishing bit of Route 66.

Lake View Modern Court. Photo by author.

Modern Court. Photo by author.

Silent Playground. Photo by author.

Tattered remnants. Photo by author.

Reclaimed

Along Route 66

In 1941, The Lake View Modern Court opened for business.  At some point later, it became The Plains Motel and eventually closed for good in 1973.

Lake View Courts 1941 postcard

I found a photograph online of the motel that was taken in 2002. At that time, the Plains Motel neon sign was still intact, and was anchored in a stone foundation. A later photo, from 2008, shows some breakage on the sign and the foundation is gone. However, the photo also shows the small front building of the motel intact. By the time we saw the motel in 2010, the Plains Motel sign was unreadable and the small front building had burned to the ground.

Lake View Courts / The Plains Motel 2002, 2008, 2010

UPDATE!!

Kind reader Michael Gallegos, with The Guadalupe County Communicator, has notified me that The Plains Motel (Lake View Courts) met the bulldozer in December of 2010. See below for the story from The Communicator…

Guadalupe County Communicator Dec. 22, 2010

A Route 66 treasure, indeed. So sad 😦

Further down the Route, we spied the top of what looked like an old motel peeking out from behind some sort of trucking / storage company. Further exploration revealed a real beauty… the stunning palette, the lovely lines, the strong bones, were all evident in this old gal, even as she sat in hopeless desolation; a storage site for broken-down old wrecks, vandalized and defiled.

Heated/Motel POOL. Photo by author.

Two stories. Photo by author.

Stairwell. Photo by author.

First level hallway. Photo by author.

Photo by author.

Photo by author.

As if the guests never left… Photo by author.

Bathtub Garden. Photo by author.

Photo by author.

Photo by author.

I was so charmed by the beautiful lines and colors of this motel, the contrast between the beauty and the desolation, that I took many, many photos. More are available at:

http://www.flickr.com/photos/misty_bee/sets/72157624746918265/with/4954259003/

After searching databases of old motel postcards, and Route 66/New Mexico guides and articles, I discovered a postcard image that I think may be the hotel I’d photographed. It’s not completely right, the motel as I photographed it had additional architectural structures / detailing that is not visible on the postcard… so perhaps there were changes later, or perhaps this is the wrong motel altogether. Nothing else I found was even close, though…

UPDATE!!!

A very helpful Santa Rosa resident who saw my images on Flickr has kindly informed me that the motel I photographed was not the Surf Motel. The Surf Motel, pictured in the postcard image below, is actually still operational and now does business as The Budget 10 Motel.

1950’s era postcard for the Surf Motel in Santa Rosa

The motel I photographed was actually The Oasis Motel. Armed with a name, I was able to do a more extensive Google search and come up with two images for the Oasis Motel…

circa 1950’s? vintage postcard for The Oasis Motel in Santa Rosa, NM.

A Route 66 travel site included this image of the neon sign for the Oasis Motel. This sign was no longer anywhere in evidence when I photographed the Oasis in Santa Rosa.

After leaving Santa Rosa, we headed west on the Route, toward Albuquerque. We hadn’t gone very far, though, before it became dark, and at the same time began to pour down rain in torrents. When what to our wandering eyes should appear? Why, Cline’s Corners, of course! At the junction of Highway 285 and Interstate-40 (once Route 66), Cline’s Corners in New Mexico has been a staple of the Route since 1934, even moving locations in 1937 to follow the new Route 66 alignment! A combination travel center, gas station, curios extravaganza -Cline’s offers the weary traveler everything they could need!

photo courtesy of trip advisor

We gassed up, utilized the facilities, browsed the curios, then walked back outside to discover that the rain had become practically a monsoon. Already the parking lot was filling with small lakes and ponds from the torrential downpour… Wisely, we decided that drive-time was over for the night, and parked our Tahoe on a high spot in the Cline’s Corners parking lot. Then, safely enveloped by the warm glow of the lot’s high pressure sodium lights, we climbed into our snuggly Tahoe bed. The sounds of the rain became the whole world, and thus encompassed, we slept.

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4 thoughts on “Vanishing America on Route 66

  1. I can’t believe that somebody would feature that old Oasis Motel where my late dad clerked on weekends and I helped, delivering pitchers of ice, copies of the Albuquerque Tribune, and running errands, like cheeseburger deluxes from Tillie’s Steak House next door. That was the summer when Cassius Clay ruled in the heavyweight division, Jayne Mansfield died in a head-on, and drivers of The Batmobile and Monkee mobile stopped for a night’s rest. It was a nice, cool,comfortable place. They later added a pool. Thanks for the memories.

    Davy Delgado
    Senior Reporter
    Guadalupe County Communicator
    Santa Rosa, NM 88435
    (575) 472-3555
    davy.delgado5@gmail.com

  2. I HAVE TWO PHOTOS OF THE PLAINS MOTEL IN SANTA ROSA NM,I TOOK IN JUNE 1991.IT SHOWS THE MOTEL OFFICE INTACT,NO BROKEN WINDOWS,SIGN IS IN VERY GOOD CONDITION,NOT BROKEN.SIGN IS IN STONE FOUNDATION.IF YOU WANT,CONTACT ME,I WILL SEND YOU COPIES OF PHOTOS,FREE.THERE IS AN OLD CAR,ON MOTEL LOT.LOOKS LIKE AN OLDSMOBILE?PHOTOS ARE IN COLOR.

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