Serving the High Plains

Group repairs some Route 66 neon signs

Volunteers and members of the New Mexico Route 66 Association last week reinstalled neon tubing for businesses along Tucumcari’s Route 66 corridor to replace those broken by a May hailstorm.

Fast TV Network, which is due to move its headquarters into the Kmart building in Tucumcari, filmed the neon-restoration efforts for a future “Legends of Route 66” episode.

Among the businesses that saw neon signs repaired were TeePee Curios, Motel Safari, Del’s Restaurant and La Cita.

Neon expert Paul Greenstein flew from Los Angeles to Tucumcari to help with the project. Tucumcari MainStreet also is assisting.

The Blue Swallow Motel also repaired its neon shortly before the crews arrived.

The Route 66 association estimated it would take several months to finish all the signs.

The May 25 hailstorm damaged at least a dozen historic neon signs in the city. The association identified more than 60 pieces of broken neon during an assessment of the damage.

The organization formed plans to remove broken tubing, make patterns for a neon contractor in Amarillo, negotiate prices, bring back the new tubing and install them. The association required a 50% cash or in-kind donation from the sign’s owners.

The association also launched a GoFundMe online campaign to repair the neon signs shortly after the storm. It raised more than $6,000.