Welcome to the Blue Swallow Motel in Tucumcari, NM

… the most celebrated Motel on Historic Route 66!

The story of the Blue Swallow Motel began when Carpenter W.A. Huggins purchased lots on March 29th, 1939 and began construction.

The Blue Swallow Court, as it was originally called, was open and operating with ten rooms sometime in 1940. Mr. and Mrs. Huggins operated both the motor court and a cafe on the site.  Ted Jones, a prominent eastern New Mexico rancher, was the first long-term owner/operator. Facing Route 66, the Blue Swallow offers access to motorists from both the highway and a side street. The motel has an L-shaped plan and consists of 12 units (two more were added by approximately 1948) with a centrally-located office and manager’s residence. Garage units, some with original wood overhead doors, are located between the sleeping units. With its pink stucco walls decorated with shell designs and a stepped parapet, the façade reflects a modest use of the Southwest Vernacular style of architecture.

When Mr. Jones and his wife died in the 1950s, Lillian Redman and her husband bought the Blue Swallow and successfully operated it, modernizing by installing a new, larger neon sign, and using the more up-to-date term, “Motel”.  From the start, the Redmans put their customers first. When guests didn’t have enough money for a room, the Redmans accepted personal belongings in trade or provided the room for free. Ms. Redman and the Blue Swallow became icons of Route 66 folklore.  She described the special and close connection she had with the Route 66 motorists who came in each night this way. “I end up traveling the highway in my heart with whoever stops here for the night.”

At the end of the 1960s, Interstate 40, a faster, limited-access highway, took the place of the old Route 66.  The development of this new highway drastically changed the traffic circulation of Route 66 affecting many of the businesses along the way, including the Blue Swallow Motel.  Ms. Redman said of the effect of Interstate 40, which bypassed Tucumcari, “When Route 66 was closed to the majority of traffic and the other highway came in, I felt just like I had lost an old friend.  But some of us stuck it out and are still here on Route 66.”

After owning the Blue Swallow for almost 40 years, Ms. Redman sold the motel in the late 1990s. Extensive restoration work was performed by owners Dale and Hilda Bakke, modernizing electrical systems and repairing neon, installing 1939 Bell rotary-dial phones in each room, while retaining all of the historic character and charm of the Blue Swallow. Bill and Terri Kinder purchased the Blue Swallow in 2006, selling it to Kevin and Nancy Mueller in 2011. The Mueller family is credited with creating the Lillian Redman Suite, updating the structure of rooms, reinforcing flooring, updating plumbing and providing modern conveniences.  Robert and Dawn Federico purchased the Blue Swallow Motel in June 2020, and continue to preserve and protect the motel’s legacy today.

The Motel was listed on the National Register of Historic Places in 1993. There is a plethora of information available about the Blue Swallow online as well as in various publications and books.

About Your Visit

The Blue Swallow has been serving travelers along the Mother Road since 1939, and today, our guests enjoy a pleasant reminder of what it was like to travel across the USA in the “good old days.” Unlike the big corporately-owned chains, we are family owned and operated. With hospitality provided by owners Rob and Dawn, you will always be welcomed like family.

From the beautifully restored rooms, to the distinctive attached garages, to the fabulous neon display each night, a stay at the Blue Swallow is a unique experience that will leave you rested, refreshed, and with wonderful new memories. Come take a step back to a simpler time, meet your neighbors from around the world, and relax under the glow of the neon lights in the historic courtyard of the Blue Swallow Motel. It will be a pleasure to have you stay with us!