Autumn 1998 Newsletter page 2

Upcoming Events:

Upcoming Association Meeting in Los Lunas

by Sandy Schauer

Shortly before the turn of this current century that now verges into a new millennium, a young doctor arrived in Los Lunas, New Mexico. That doctor would become an institution, and his house a restaurant of fine New Mexico cuisine. The house faces onto what was once Route 66.
The New Mexico Route 66 Association will meet on Thursday, October 15, at Teofilo's Restaurant on NM 6 (Main Street) in Los Lunas. Lunch will be served at 11:30 a.m. with the meeting to follow. The public is invited.
Teofilo's, just one block west of NM 314 (formerly U.S. 85) and across the street from the Luna Mansion, is the former home of Doctor William F. Wittwer. Born in 1871, Wittwer arrived in Los Lunas in 1899. He practiced medicine in the area until 1964 when he died at the age of 93.
Wittwer's home became a restaurant in the 1980s, called Teofilo's, a second-generation eatery in Valencia County. Pete's Restaurant was started by the Torres family many years ago near the railroad yards in Belen. Teofilo's is owned and operated by Torres' relatives.
New Mexico's Route 66, often thought of as a straight line between Albuquerque and Grants, once cut a jagged course. Seven miles west of Santa Rosa, the highway took a northwesterly turn through Romero to Santa Fe, turned southwest to Albuquerque, and continued 20 miles south to Los Lunas. The road then headed northwest along what is now NM 6 before heading west to Laguna, Acoma and Grants.

And The Winner Is...

The New Mexico Economic Development Department recently announced the winner of its logo design contest for the Scenic Byways Program. David Bahm, our Newsletter Editor, won this contest with the design above. In addition to his design being displayed on highway signs throughout the state (including the entire length of Route 66), David won $2,000 for his efforts. Look for these signs to be posted sometime in 1999.

  75th Anniversary Diamond Jubilee
by Rich Williams

In 2001, Historic Route 66 will be celebrating the 75th Anni-
versary of its 1926 designation as a U.S. Highway. The Association has already anticipated the event as important to our local communities. We are setting up meetings with the City of Albuquerque, participating Chambers and Visitors Bureaus along Route 66 and with the New Mexico MainStreet Program. Our goal is to have in place a statewide strategy and calender to promote our Route 66 communities during 2001.
We will be working with Tourism Associations and Visitor and Convention Bureaus and local/regional performers and events people to develop programs and activities. Using the assets, the historic buildings and the scenic byways of the remaining portions of New Mexico's historic highway, we intend to build awareness of the roadway, the histories of the people who traveled it, the importance of preserving the legacy and using those cultural, scenic and architectural features to generate economic revitalization through heritage tourism. Our goal: to create new tourism markets for our Route 66 communities and capture tourism dollars, strenghtening their local economies.
Preparation for this important event has actually been underway for several years. Former Governor Bruce King and U.S. Senator Pete Domenici have been long-time champions for preservation of the roadway, having lent their support to legislative initiatives and funding.
In 1992, the Association received a grant from the N.M. Department of Tourism to develop a corridor management plan: New Mexico Route 66: A Plan For Its Revitalization. Concurrently, the New Mexico Historic Preservation Division hired Association member and Historian Dr. David Kammer to research and write the study: The Historic and Architectural Resources of Route 66 Through New Mexico. In 1993, the N.M. Tourism Department followed up on these two foundational studies with a GIS plan for management of the New Mexico Route 66 corridor. All of this research has set up a strong foundation from which to launch a tourism strategy.
In December of 1994, the remaining portions of historic Route 66 were designated a State of New Mexico Scenic Byway.
The State Highway and Transportation Department's Scenic Byways and Trails program coordinator, Kathy Arrelanes, oversees designation and funding of our state's unique roadway and trail resources. The state designation is important for Route 66 New Mexico because the designation is recognized by the Federal Highway Administration to qualify for Federal Scenic Byway Funds (Historic Route 66 has not yet been designated a Federal Scenic Byway).  At the national level, U.S. Senator Pete Domenici introduced legislation delegating the Park Service with the task of studying and identifying a federal strategy for preservation and corridor management of the roadway from Chicago to Santa Monica. That study, Special Resource Study: Route 66, was completed in 1994. Its recommendations have been introduced into the current U.S. legislative session by Senator Domenici with the backing of Senator Bingaman to designate Historic Route 66 as "America's Main Street." (see last issue Vol. 5, No. 3 Summer 1998).
In 1996 and 1997, the Association supported the New Mexico MainStreet Program's application for Federal Scenic Byway Funds to enhance education and preservation efforts statewide. To that end a local brochure project, a historic signage project, a web site, an interstate signage project, and a statewide Route 66 cultural resources brochure were funded. All will be completed by the end of 1998.
We have applied for a second phase of funding to plan for the 75th Anniversary, update our corridor management plan, develop promotional and advertising materials for the 75th Anniversary, which all our Route 66 communities can use.
There are many other projects the Association continues to undertake. Along with our mission statement, the Board of Directors and the Board of Advisors is prioritizing activities that point to one focus the Diamond Jubilee. We are directing all our resources and energy to make sure our Route 66 communities can capture tourism dollars, create new markets for their local economies, and strengthen the revitalization activities and funding of their historic downtowns.
We see this as a collaborative effort. It will take the resources of partnering state and city agencies, Chambers and Visitors Bureaus, Tourism Associations and our Route 66 Association members to make this a memorable 75th Anniversary for our roadway.
2001 will be an exciting year for New Mexico Route 66. There will be plenty more to do in the months ahead to plan our celebrations. We look forward to working with you all on the Diamond Jubilee. 

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