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Friday, November 5, 2010

Flashback Friday - Tucumcari, NM



Tucumcari is the largest city between Amarillo, TX and Albuquerque, NM. This little hole-in-the wall town was once a booming place when Route 66 was popular, since it runs right down the main street. Unfortunately now the town seemed pretty run down.

The town's slogan "TUCUMCARI TONITE!" is seen all over town and along I-40 for many miles to the east and west of the town inviting motorists to stay the night in one of Tucumcari's "1200" motel rooms.


At night the streets light up like the Vegas strip with cheap motels and gift shops.




This is a roadside sculpture to commemorate Route 66.


This is a souvenir shop. I didn't get a chance to browse in it, though, because it was closed when we were in town.


This restaurant is another throw-back from the old Route 66 -


There wasn't much to do in town. We found out that there were many murals throughout the town, so we grabbed the list with the map and went exploring. These are most of the murals.

The Legendary Road



Route 66





Welcome to Tucumcari


Where's my horse?


Horse - hee, hee




Even the local hair shop had a mural!


There are several stories how Tucumcari got it's name, but the most romantic one is as follows.

Apache Chief Wautonomah was dying and was troubled by who would succeed him as ruler of his tribe. He had two great braves, Tonopah and Tocom. They were not only rivals but both were vying for the hand of the Chief's daughter, Kari. Kari loved Tocom. Chief Wautonomah called the two braves to his death bed and said, "Soon I must die and one of you must succeed me as chief. Tonight you must take your long knives and meet in combat to settle the matter between you. He who survives shall be the Chief and have for his squaw, Kari, my daughter."

The braves fought while unbeknown to them, Kari hid nearby. When Tonopah killed Tocom, Kari rushed out and plunged her knife into Tonopah, then killed herself. When Chief Wautonomah saw this tragedy, he grabbed his daughter's knife and buried it deep within his heart, crying "Tocom-Kari", today a slight variation of the town's name - Tucumcari.

(Information from Wikipedia)

I bet this was a happening place back in the day, but now? Not so much.

21 comments:

Gail said...

What amazing art!!! Even the name of the town sounds magical.

Ruth said...

Ohhh, that story is so sad.

Such a lot of murals! I want to take a road trip on Route 66, but I hadn't thought about how it would be self conscious like this. :| I have mixed feelings about road art that proclaims the glories of this famous thoroughfare, you know? But I guess it is what it is. I want to go on a road trip on Route 66 in the 1960s. Think I can still do that?

Valerie said...

Another interesting post, Pat. Thank you. Murals are fascinating, when I see one at home I study it in depth, wondering about the artist etc. I remember those washer women with their turbans and scrubbing boards ... I was glad I never had to use one though. Loved the fable, I guess women always like their own way ... grins.

Brian Miller said...

wow. i felt like i was in the movie cars....smiles. lots of cool stuff to see...not too many of those places around anymore...nice murals...

misslynda said...

Loved the murals and the love story. Question on the murals - - - - on the hair shop, if you were the painter, wouldn't you have included a picture of a bunny (hare) somewhere in the landscape? haha

Allen said...

The wall paintings are the coolest. I love them. Do you remember Tee-Pee Restaurants? They was really popular when I was a child. In the late 60's.

I think one of my vacations, I am going to take Route 66. It looks like fun!

Steven Anthony said...

that is all amazing...the art is vantastic. as always, what a fun trip my friend:)

Eva Gallant said...

Wow! I love the murals! Great art work. Thanks for posting those. I may never get to see them in person.

That corgi :) said...

those murals all looked great! Interesting how it potentially could have gotten its name!

have a good day!

betty

Missy said...

Very interesting! Thanks for sharing!

David Waters said...

I love the kitchy feel of the place...wonderful.

Sallie (FullTime-Life) said...

I'm actually glad you didn't find a whole lot in Tucumcari I was afraid I missed something. We thought the name was the best part of it. It was the ONE and ONLY place in NM that we didn't fall in love with, the only one that I wanted to leave the next day. Everyplace else where we stayed in that state went immediately on our 'go back sometime' list.

KaLynn ("MiMi") said...

I grew up in NM and have never heard this little tale! I love it! Hope you have fun in NM, lots of good stuff to see!

Bossy Betty said...

Fun trip!! Love your new header!

Teresa - in the Middle Side of Life said...

i'd never heard that story either. but, i love the sound of the town's name... too bad the town doesn't live up to it. the murals are all beautiful, though.

Betty Manousos @ CUT AND DRY said...

Amazing art! All look fantastic!

B xx

becky said...

It would have been a kick to drive route 66 in it's heyday. Maybe not lots to do in the town now, but you sure got some great shots of the Murals. I think the horse one was a pun on Jackson Pollock. Have you seen the Mural in Winslow, AZ? My mom & gram stopped there on their way out here to visit- I hope to stop by on my trip back to San Diego. Unfortunately, I won't make it thru Mesa this trip... I'm getting too anxious to see my family, so I'll be motoring on the main highways. Speaking of which, I should stop blogging & start packing!!
:)

Doug and Sharon Quarles said...

Thanks for the information on Tucumcari! Doug and I have produced over 30 Murals since we relocated here from Louisiana. No we did not do them all as there are 4 FOUR done by others. On the upbeat side Tucumcari is coming back to its hey day, but will take some time.
A joint group of people here are also working on a face lift on the old gas stations now also. So you see there IS allot still to rediscover about this small American Town.
S Quarles

Doug and Sharon Quarles said...

The "Hare " is in the very first mural with the mountain lion and many rendering of well know artists were and are being used, Jackson Pollock, Norman Rockwell and others!Glad some noticed our many techniques.

JM said...

I'm a big fan of the 50's signs and loved every shot you posted here. Great work!

Lindy MacDuff said...

What a great post, Pat! I love all the murals and the signs. Always like hearing the legends of how a place earned its name.