What is the De Anza Motor Lodge in 2017? It is a grouping of structurally unsound buildings that has seen steady decay and neglect over many years. The City of Albuquerque originally purchased the De Anza in 2003 with the intent to preserve it as a historic Route 66 cultural resource and to preserve the Zuni Shalako Ceremonial Procession Murals located in the basement of one of the structures on the property.
The biggest challenge of any historic redevelopment project is in creating a connection to the past, an economic path for the present and a blueprint for the future. The Association will address these facets of the project and solutions to best address all areas and still create a viable and fiscally sustainable project.
The Association recognizes the importance of builder and longtime operator of the De Anza, C.G. Wallace. Realignment in 1936 of Route 66 across New Mexico’s central east-west corridor provided Wallace with opportunities to open a trading post in Gallup, and later, a motor lodge, the De Anza (1939) on the then eastern edge of Albuquerque. Wallace saw the huge increase in automobile travel as a major economic incentive to create a travel accommodation for not just people, but for their cars as well. The roadside attraction factor, for which all of Route 66 is so well known, is evidenced by Wallace’s utilization of southwestern style vernacular (Pueblo and Spanish influenced) architecture, Zuni Pueblo art, the Café’s turquoise terrazzo chip floor with its 4 silver inlaid Knife Wings, Zuni sandstone porticos, and finally, an art and crafts outlet trading post for silver jewelry and other items.
His own economic interests and an abiding commitment to bringing the extraordinarily gifted jewelry makers of Zuni Pueblo into the wider world of economic opportunity drove Wallace, a calculating, well-known local personality and Shriner. Wallace was able to parlay the De Anza Route 66 motifs not only as a singular tourist (regional, national, international) destination, but also as a significant meeting place for New Mexico business, political, social groups and even housed scientists working at Sandia National Laboratory.
Zuni Pueblo & the De Anza
History tells us that the primary economy for Zuni Pueblo was/is trading. The De Anza represents a 120-mile connection between trading locales. When Route 66 moved north to Gallup, NM, the Zuni Pueblo was cut off from the primary east-west trading route. C.G. Wallace envisioned the De Anza as a response to that change – essentially bringing the Pueblo to the largest community on Route 66. Everything that was created at the De Anza over the years and mainly under C.G. Wallace’s stewardship and ownership, helped to promote and provide the Zuni a trading post and their home away from home.
Discover Historic Zuni with Zuni Cultural Adventure Tours.
Creating a Sense of Place
Landmark can be defined two ways: as an object or feature easily recognizable to establish a location or as a change marking an important stage or a turning point. The De Anza Motor Lodge was an iconic site along the famous Route 66 and indicative of the 1st definition of Landmark.
Time, changes in society, advancements in technology and general decay over the years has changed this landmark from the first definition to the second definition, meaning the De Anza has reached a turning point and is no longer the landmark people once knew, read about or stayed in.
With all of these factors in mind, the Association and the developer desire to foster the second definition of landmark: a change marking an important stage or turning point for the property. To create a sense of place for people to enjoy the historic nature of the property and to experience the new synergy that will be created by re-envisioning the property as a multifaceted mixed use development.
To accomplish this goal, the developer will create a “parklet” at the corner of Central and Washington that will serve as the focal point for story of the Zuni Pueblo, C.G. Wallace and the De Anza Motor Lodge of yesteryear. The existing De Anza Sign will be refurbished to its prior glory with neon lettering and the “arms” of the teepee extending to the ground. The parklet will feature an inlaid map showing the Zuni Pueblo in its relation to the De Anza with commemorative plaques to tell the story. The walls surrounding the parklet will be constructed using the salvaged hand-mined Zuni sandstone that adorns the existing porte-cochere. Planting of native Zuni peach trees will put the finishing touches on this singular landmark.
By working together with the Zuni Pueblo, the City of Albuquerque and the developer, the Association will help create a unique and vibrant entrance to the Nob Hill neighborhood while reaching its goal to educate future generations of visitors about this historic and iconic location.