Pure Route 66 Since 1936


If you are in Albuquerque during the holidays, and go to the River of Lights at the ABQ BioPark, you will drive by the El Vado Motel at 2500 Central Ave (Old Route 66). A brief history provided by the Nation Park Service states that it was built by Daniel Murphy in 1937, but a sign on one of the buildings reads “Since 1936”. It was considered “Swanky” with its two rows of single-story rooms, and carports stuck in-between some of the rooms.

Originally named “El Vado Auto Court Motel”, it was built on Central Ave close to where the old Route 66 bridge crossed the Rio Grande, which was the site of a “ford” (crossing) before the bridge was built, thus the name El Vado — “The Ford”. The El Vado was placed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1993, and while it probably is “the purest Route 66 Motel surviving”, it hasn’t been “Open 24 Hours” for many years. Since it’s a national historic place, it can’t simply be demolished, so its buildings sit abandoned and boarded up.

But not all is lost, the City of Albuquerque put out a request for proposal for development and architectural services for The El Vado Redevelopment in July, and unveiled the plan October 1st. A controversy has arisen over the company chosen to redevelop the El Vado, but whoever ends up doing the job, the planned $16 million redevelopment is expected to be completed by 2016 — the year the El Vado turns 80.








12 thoughts on “Pure Route 66 Since 1936

    • Thanks, Lavinia! It looks like they are intending to keep its character while modernizing it. They’ve done a good job with other old motel redevelopments along Central in Albuquerque.

  1. I wish I could win the lottery and come over to take a tour of Route 66. Heard and read about a bit like… oh sods! Just remembered I don’t do the lottery because I don’t agree with some of the charities they refused to help. Tsk! TTN

  2. Fabulous photo essay, Tim. Now i’m wondering how many times i might have driven past the place without paying attention… It would be great to see the old motel get fixed up.
    I’m sad to admit that during the years i was in New Mexico i did very little site seeing. I was always working, and my friends weren’t willing to do any touristy stuff. If there’s a next time, it will be different.
    Thanks again, and hugs all around! 😀

    • Thanks, Teagan! We’ll be positive that you will get back out this way soon. New Mexico has so many great things to see. Be even when you don’t have time to see them, just the sunshine and enchantment factor makes life so much better.

  3. Great pics and great background on the history. Once again, it is so nice for me right now to see pics of Albuquerque. 🙂

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