Posts Tagged ‘glenrio’

 “It is better to fill your head with useless knowledge than no knowledge at all.” – Jim Hinckley, author of “Route 66 Backroads: Your Guide to Scenic Side Trips & Adventures from the Mother Road.”


Remains of The First Inn in Texas, named for its border location. Of course it was also the last inn, too. — Photo by Pat Bean


Glenrio, Texas/New Mexico

The old diner — Photo by Pat Bean

Once thriving with business, Glenrio today is a ghost town, its deserted buildings crumbling memories of brighter days that are fast disappearing with time.

Straddling the border between Texas and New Mexico, the town was given life by the railroad and outlying farmers and ranchers. It’s name means river valley, but oddly the description belies its arid location.

At the turn of the 20th century, Glenrio already had a post office, hotel, hardware store, land office, several grocery stores and a newspaper.

It also had, according to “Legends of America,” gas stations – but only on the Texas side of town because New Mexico’s gas tax was higher. New Mexico got the bars, however, because the Texas side of the town was in a dry county.

In 1938, when Route 66 was born, Glenrio, located midway between Amarillo, Texas, and Tucumcari, New Mexico, on the highway, boomed. It was also picked as one of the movie locations for John Steinbeck’s “The Grapes of Wrath.”

Route 66 casualty — Photo by Pat Bean

The prosperity tumbled when its railroad station was closed. But it was only when Interstate 40 replaced Route 66 in 1973, and bypassed Glenrio, that the town died.

I saw no other humans when Pepper and I took the detour to visit the ghost town. It was sad, yet I was fascinated by the decay, trying to imagine the vacant-eyed buildings filled with activity as I knew they once had been.

There was the diner where travelers stopped to eat, and the motel where they slept.

Were those passers-by on their way to Disneyland in California, or to grandfather’s funeral in Oklahoma? Perhaps they were excited about seeing the Grand Canyon in Arizona for the first time, or seeing a new grandchild in Texas?

They might even have been just traveling one-way, perhaps to the big city of Chicago for a new job.

I wandered and wondered, but the crumbling ruins didn’t answer.

Even Route 66 to the west of Glenrio has returned to the earth. When maintaining its pavement got too expensive, New Mexico county workers removed it. I back-tracked to the interstateand exited at the next paved section of 66 still remaining. — Photo by Pat Bean

Perhaps I wondered because I was one of those travelers who had passed through Glenrio in 1950s. I was traveling with an aunt and uncle as a teenage baby-sitter for their young daughter. We were headed to Sequoia National Park.

It was the first time I had ever been out of Texas, and the first time I ever saw mountains. I haven’t been the same since.

Bean’s Pat: Wistfully Wandering http://tinyurl.com/7qzhv8r Say happy birthday. This blogger’s post turned a year old today. Let her take you to Chicago, where Route 66 begins.


Read Full Post »