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El Vado

Carlos Vargas


Behind the Shot

When it opened in 1937, El Vado was one of New Mexico's first motels to greet Route 66 travelers. The building was cited as one of the best examples of pre-World War II motels in New Mexico, and it was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1993. The site had been closed and fenced off for years, but after a full restoration, the motel is now open to the public. Photographer Carlos Vargas shot this iconic neon dream in 2017.