The Route 66 Auto Museum celebrates the car culture that developed along Route 66. The highway originally ran from Chicago, Illinois, through Missouri, Kansas, Oklahoma, Texas, New Mexico and Arizona before ending in Los Angeles, California. It ran for 2,448 miles.
Santa Rosa’s stretch of Route 66 is part of film history. When John Steinbeck’s novel, “The Grapes of Wrath,” was made into a movie, director John Ford set a train scene in Santa Rosa. Tom Joad (played by Henry Fonda) watches a freight train steam over the Pecos River railroad bridge, into the sunset.
Route 66 served as a major path for those who migrated west, especially during the Dust Bowl years of the 1930s. People doing business along the route became prosperous due to the growing popularity of the highway, and those same people later fought to keep the highway alive in the face of the growing threat of being bypassed by the new Interstate Highway System.
Route 66 was officially removed from the United States Highway System on June 27, 1985, after it was decided the route was no longer relevant and had been replaced by the Interstate Highway System. Portions of the road that passed through Illinois, Missouri, New Mexico and Arizona have been designated a National Scenic Byway with the name “Historic Route 66.”
At the Santa Rosa Route 66 Auto Museum, you can see more than 30 vintage cars, including shiny classics from the 50s, as well as hot rods and chrome. The Museum museum opened in 1999, is run by James “Bozo” and Anita Cordova. It is attached to Bozo’s Garage where you can have a car restored or just have a car fixed. Route 66 memorabilia and signs cover the walls and the gift shop is a nostalgic treat.
Address: 2766 Will Rogers Drive (Historic Route 66), Santa Rosa, NM 88435
Hours: April to October: Monday through Saturday, 7:30 a.m to 6 p.m., Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
November to March: Monday through Saturday, 8 a.m. to 5 p.m., Sunday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m.
Admission: Adults, $5