City officials preserve history with video kiosks

Thomas Garcia

A video kiosk has been installed at the Tucumcari Convention Center and will be up and running by March in an effort to preserve the history of Route 66 in Quay County.
“This is our chance to preserve the history of Tucumcari and Route 66,” said Community Development Director Doug Powers. “We felt if we did not do something right now, we may lose more of our history to time.”
In August the community development office and the Chamber of Commerce began coordinating with Santa Fe-based graphic design company Janice St. Marie to develop the kiosk system.
Graphic designers Janice St. Marie and Jaye Oliver met in August with chamber of commerce and city officials to discuss the development of the kiosk and a tourism brochure.
Powers said the kiosk system has been placed in the Tucumcari Convention Center. He said community development has also purchased a laptop which will be used to display the project at meetings and conferences.
“The actual program is still being developed,” Powers said. “They are also still working on the design and content for the brochure.”
Yvette Fazekas, community development projects coordinator said the kiosks, along with a brochure, will highlight the attractions and sites along Route 66 from Cuervo to the state line.
“The DVD will feature local photos highlighting Route 66 past-to-present,” Fazekas said. “We are working with a local company for the photos.”
Powers said several of the photos have reminded him of Tucumcari when he was growing up. He said there are photos of several businesses which are no longer on Route 66.
“So far several pictures have been submitted. The problem is trying to narrow down the ones we want to use,” Powers said. “So many photos of places long forgotten. It makes you feel happy and a bit sad to see them again.”
Powers said one of the photos was of the Flying M Ranch Motel, which featured a neon sign with wings that flapped.
“It’s one of those sights you’ll never forget,” Powers said, “though now that business is no longer there. The only way people will know about it is if we show and remind them.”
Powers said the entire project is an attempt to save Tucumcari and Route 66’s history.
“This project is designed to promote all of Quay County,” Fazekas said. “When tourists stop at the convention center they will be able to view the history of our area on the interpretive kiosk.”
Fazekas said former Convention Center Director Ron Wilmont and former city grant writer Elizabeth Morris applied for the money for the kiosk in 2008. She said $52,500 was awarded to the city by Scenic Byways, a division of the New Mexico Tourism Department, in Nov. 2009.