Sitting off historic Route 66, sits the De Anza Motor Lodge, which was completed in 1939. Owned and operated by Charles G. Wallace, the lodge not only provided room and other services to tourists, it was also used to promote the art and culture of the local Zuni Indian tribe, whose reservation was circumvented by the highway. Wallace, who had lived in New Mexico since 1919, really wanted the lodge, decorated with Zuni art, to reinvigorate Zuni trade. He owned the lofe until 1983. In 2003 it was saved by the city from demolition, placed on multiple historic registries and has since reopened. It now holds rooms, a swimming pools, clubhouse, cafe, museum, and Zuni art/jewelry store. The lodge is seen many times in the hit show, "Breaking Bad."
De Anza Motor Lodge as seen today
Late 1940s postcard image of the lodge
Example of some of the Zuni art found inside
1940s photo of the lodge. This was before the significant renovations and expansion done post-WW2
Doug Majewski, architect that was in charge of De Anza's recent restoration
Famed De Anza Motor Lodge sign
Backstory and Context
Charles Garrett Wallace came to New Mexico in 1919 to work for the Ilfeld Company, where he became a prominent trader with the people of Zuni Pueblo. In the 1930s, with trade suffering due to the Depression, Wallace saw the influx of tourists on Route 66 as an opportunity to expand his business. He partnered with Tucson entrepreneur S.D. Hambaugh to build a motel on East Central, which they named the De Anza Motor Lodge after Juan Bautista de Anza, a Spanish governor of New Mexico. The motel opened in 1939 with 30 rooms. Soon thereafter, Wallace bought out Hambaugh to become the sole owner.
Wallace expanded and remodeled the De Anza after World War II, removing most of the Pueblo Revival elements to give the motel a more modern appearance. The number of rooms increased to 55 and then 67. A cafe called the Turquoise Room, featuring a terrazzo floor inlaid with turquoise and silver pieces, and a basement conference room were also added. To decorate the conference room, Wallace commissioned Zuni artist Tony Edaakie to create two large murals depicting the Shalako festival. Completed in 1951, the murals are considered to be a unique example of such artwork.
Wallace sold the De Anza in 1983 and died ten years later. The motel changed hands several times and eventually went out of business. In 2002, a proposal by Albertsons to raze the De Anza caught the attention of the city, which began looking at ways to save the property. In July 2003 the city bought the motel for $891,000 with the intention of renovating it, working with developers between 2006-2010 in an unsuccessful attempt to re-use the property. As restoration work was never completed, the city sought a new developer in 2011, entering into partnership in 2012 with Rob Dickson for the $4.3 million project. After restoration and construction planned for July 2012 to March 2013 the historic motel property will host 39 residential cabanas, a swimming pool and clubhouse, a café, tourist information kiosk, museum and a Zuni art/jewellery store.
The building was added to the New Mexico State Register of Cultural Properties in 2003 and the National Register of Historic Places in 2004. In 2012, it was designated a Historic Landmark by the city of Albuquerque.
Jojola, Lloyd (January 17, 2011). "City Wants New De Anza Proposals". Albuquerque Journal. NM. p. A4.
Seidman, Carrie (February 21, 2008). "Albuquerque landmarks along Route 66 face slow process to preservation". Albuquerque Tribune. NM. Archived from the original on 29 August 2011.
Steve Ginsberg (2012-05-10). "De Anza motel overhaul set to begin in July". New Mexico Business Weekly.
Jessica Cassyle Carr (2012-05-24). "Best Western: The comeback of the De Anza Motor Lodge". Alibi Weekly.
"Overhaul of Route 66 motel set to begin". KASA-TV. 2012-01-16.