Neon Park Downtown At The Old Glorieta Ice Company
Glorieta Station's "Neon Park"
As your gaze drifts from the historic brick building that produced ice non-stop for almost 100 years, above, you might suddenly notice all the neon signs, below.
Sitting in the VM Coffee House (bottom image), the dusty neon park rusts in front of you: on an empty lot on the east side of the historic SW Brewery & Ice Company building, are dozens of broken-down, vintage neon street signs piled around each other at random.
Left behind from another era & dating back almost 90 years, many of the signs were iconic Mother Road/Route 66 neon business markers, drawing folks into the motels, diners or retail shops from the 1930's onward. Judging by their battered condition, the signs have seen better days...
Glorieta Station contains more than 100 vintage neon signs with the majority of them already restored.
The well-known Maloof family owned the SW Brewery & Ice Company building for the last couple of decades, until recently, when they sold it to the equally-known Garcia family, local owners of several car dealerships in the Metro. The Garcia's already owned the five lots adjacent to the SW Ice Building. Adding the SW Ice Building into their new Lomas/Broadway railroad corner empire makes sense. I applaud infill, & appreciate local business people bringing economic activity to a run-down area bordering the railroad tracks. Neon Park was the last name I saw for the project.
Below is a short list from Route66News.com of the neon signs known to be collected on the "Neon Park" lot; there are at least a few dozen more there than on the list...
- Jacks Liquor Store, Albuquerque
- Kurts Camera Corral, Albuquerque
- Oden Chevrolet, Albuquerque
- Ponderosa RV Park, Albuquerque
- Cavalier Motel, Albuquerque
- Cactus RV Park, Tucumcari
- Club Cafe, Santa Rosa
- Sahara Lounge, Santa Rosa
- Franciscan Lodge, Grants
- Grants Cafe, Grants
From the all-things Route66news.com website: "Glorieta Station isnt all just antique signs. It also contains classic cars & trucks, antique tractors, midget race cars, old gas pumps & other types of signs."
The recently acquired Monroe's sign is a nice addition. I appreciate that folks are collecting the dilapidated & often discarded neon signs. Without them, many remaining era-markers will be lost to landfills or destroyed. Restoring the signs & creating an area for the public to enjoy & learn about the history seems to be a reasonable alternative to watching them continue to disintegrate or disappear out-of-state.
I'm glad that the MetroABQ Route 66 neon heritage is being kept alive through many avenues, & especially in a hip & newly attractive corner of Downtown, right along the Central Ave/Route 66/Mother Road corridor.
Below is the Cantina Real building, one of the restaurants moving into the area, along with shops & the "Neon Park" exhibition...