Church in a ghost town

Old red stone church in Cuervo, NM, USA. Route 66. Copyright Jen Baker/Liberty Images; all rights reserved.

Standing beside Old Route 66 in New Mexico is this simple but pleasant-looking old Catholic church, built in 1915. It is one of two churches in the fascinating little ghost town of Cuervo, one that grew up with the railroads and all but died when I-40 literally split the town in half during the mid-50s.

Little seems to be known about Cuervo’s history. It likely sprang up as a cattle center for operations like the Bond & Weist ranch thanks to the arrival of the Southern Pacific railroad in 1901; by 1902, Cuervo had a Post Office which was destroyed by a fire last March. When Route 66 joined the railroad in bringing traffic to town, Cuervo saw its population jump to a peak of about 300 (though in a moment you’ll see why I find this a bit hard to believe), and was able to support this Catholic church as well as a Baptist one. Even so, Cuervo wasn’t like its sister Route 66 towns of Tucumcari or Santa Rosa; Jack Rittenhouse noted in his A Guide Book to Highway 66, Cuervo offered but “few gas stations; groceries; no café, garage, or other tourist accommodations.” He noted that there were only about a dozen homes in Cuervo—perhaps area ranchers, in addition to travellers, helped fill the pews of the town’s two houses of worship while adding to that triple-digit population count.

Today, there are roughly a dozen residents of Cuervo; when I visited (and managed to get a sunburn in 15 minutes, a record even for my fair skin; this resulted in a very abbreviated shoot, alas) to photograph the town, a couple of them were sitting on their porch in the “living” side of town. Continue reading

Route 66-themed quilts featured at California conference

Via Ron over at Route 66 News come these marvellous quilts with a Mother Road theme!

Meramec Caverns quilt, Pat Masterson

“Roadside Rhymes” by Pat Masterson of California. “As children, long hours in a car were passed by reading Burma Shave signs and writing on barns, travelling to visit grandparents. The back- ground fabric, signs and buildings were hand painted, trees and tractor done with thread painting.”

The quilts will be part of a special exhibit at the Road To California Quilter’s Conference and Showcase next week in Ontario, California, with a special preview Wednesday night. 50 Route 66-themed quilts will be displayed alongside a quilted and airbrushed map of the Mother Road.


“Burroville, Arizona, Route 66” by Vinda Robinson of Colorado, depicting the town of Oatman. “…I depicted the Route 66 Highway winding through the Arizona landscape near Oatman, Arizona where Burros wander the streets and Havasu Falls is off a side road nearby. The piece is whole cloth painted with Tsukineko Inks and Fab-rico Markers. I have wanted to paint water so the waterfall seemed like a good choice.”

These fabric and thread wonders came about due to a themed quilt challenge put forth by Kelly Gallagher, owner of Jukebox Quilts, and teacher & art quilter Patt Blair.  The challenge was issued to US quilters in 2011; the entries were curated and have been touring the States since August of 2012. Continue reading

Monday Escape: Tulsa’s Architectural Glamour!


During last year’s trip along Route 66, we set aside extra time to enjoy the beautiful architecture of Tulsa, Oklahoma. I was standing outside of this building—unfortunately, I’ve no idea of its name, so if you do know, I can’t tell you how much I would appreciate your filling me in!—taking pictures of this beautiful interior through the window. A very kind security guard popped open the door and invited me to shoot inside, and I’m ever so glad!

Could Route 66 lose the Pony Bridge?

Pony Bridge, Route 66, Oklahoma

This is an important heads-up for my fellow road-trippers, Route 66 lovers, and fans of engineering and architecture, courtesy of Ron at Route 66 News.

A recently updated eight-year plan for bad bridges in Oklahoma targets three Route 66 bridges for replacement, including the famous Pony Bridge near Bridgeport.

The initial news release about the bridge plan said spans would be replaced or rehabilitated. However, Kenna Mitchell, a member of the Oklahoma Department of Transportation’s Media and Public Relations Division, confirmed in an email that three prominent Route 66 bridges would be replaced, not repaired.

“The three bridges you cite below are scheduled for replacement at this time. […] While the department certainly recognizes the historic nature and the public interest in these bridges, we also have to balance those concerns with the continued safety of these structures and of the travelling public.”

I really don’t like the sound of that.

According to Ron’s post about the possible demise of this great bridge and two others, ODOT has been (surprise, surprise) giving out some conflicting signals; moreover, the Deputy State Preservation Officer informed Ron that she has not heard a peep about this.

Last year, we lost the 1936 Bird Creek Bridge near Catoosa; there are twin bridges no longer. Alas. Let’s not let this happen again!

Continue reading