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Palomino Motel

1215 E. Route 66, Tucumcari, NM
Phone: 505-461-3622

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The Palomino Motel was opened in 1953 with 20 guest rooms. Like many motels of the time the rooms are in a U-shape building with a separate small office building in the middle of the U. Less common for the early 1950s was the rooms having attached garages, a real benefit in rainy or snowy weather, but by the 1960s the garages had been converted into an additional 10 guest rooms.. The canopy over the lobby driveway was added sometime in the early 1960s.

James & Gladys Hyde were the original owners. Based on owners listed on postcards it looks like Klem and Phyllis Miller owned the motel in both the early 60s and again in the early 70s because Bill & Velma Jackson are listed as owners in the mid-60s. The Miller's apparently shared a sense of adventure as they enjoyed piloting a single engine plane around the southwest.

x The sign appears is a combination of incandescent and neon lighting. The letters spelling Palomino are outlined in neon and filled with incandescent bulb. The arrow swooping around the name is lit with about 150 incandescent bulbs on each side. The word MOTEL is outlined in neon, as is the backlit sign can holding image of the horse. Directly under that sign can are three rings of neon surrounding the supporting column. A rough count comes to something like 1,000 incandescent bulbs in total. Think about the joy of climbing up there and changing a couple dozen burned out bulbs in the cold snowy winter, sound like fun?.

The original sign apparently didn't last long as a late 1950s postcards shows the sign above. Even the newer sign has undergone some updating over the years, The Palomino letters and background have changed color. The original is on display at the Neonopolis Museum in Las Vegas, NV.

Vintage Advertising Highlights

1950s Postcard
Palomino Motel
One of the Southwest's Beautiful Motels"
East Entrance - Tucumcari, NM
On Highway 66 (and 6 blocks from U.S. 54)
20 Air Conditioned Units
Tiled Combination Tubs and Showers
This new ultra modern motel offers you unsurpassed comfort in large spacious rooms. Complete accommodations with family connecting suites - some have twin beds.
Phone in every room
Telephones 1520 and 1331 - 1332
Tucumcari is named from the Mountain Tocom-Kari, which you see from your doorstep.
(No owner or operator listed)

1960s Postcard
Palomino Motel
"Beautifully Different"
U. S. Highway 66 - 6 blocks from U.S. 54
East Entrance of Tucumcari, New Mexico
30 Spacious Air Conditioned Units
Ceramic Tiled Baths
Tub and Shower Combination
Family Connecting Suites
Twin Bed Units
Room Telephones
Swimming Pool
Free TV
Good Restaurants Nearby
Telephone 1331
Klem & Phyllis Miller, Owners

1970s Postcard

Palomino Motel
"Luxury For Less"
On Highway 66
Downtown Tucumcari
On the North Side Of The Street
Air Conditioned
Family Connecting Suites & Twin Beds
Free TV
Room Phones
Swimming Pool
Good Restaurants Nearby
For reservations Phone 461-xxxx
Owners & Operators Mr. & Mrs. K. G. Miller

Note: Maybe the most interesting thing among these three postcards is that the 1960s card devotes about 1/3 of the correspondence space to describing the motel and another 1/3 to reciting the legend of how the town got its name.

Photo(s): 2012



x About Us We started traveling Historic U.S. Route 66 as a destination in 2009. It's like a 2,400 mile long drive back in time from Chicago to Santa Monica! more
xDid You Know: Many parts of the old 4 lane Route 66 were reverted to a 2 lane road after 66 was realigned to the interstate. In many places the abandoned lanes are still there.


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